Special Note: "About Face," a new long-format Air America Radio talk show carried on 1480 KPHX in Phoenix, Ariz., has invited me to be their guest next Sunday, December 10. We'll be talking about combat PTSD, how our returning troops are doing, as well as the PTSD Timeline. I'll post air times as soon as I nail them down (the show is taped and then syndicated and broadcast at various times throughout the nation).
This is a report on the inroads we are making in the combat PTSD advocacy area. Since we've begun advocating for real support of our returning troops -- translation: really supporting and funding their reintegration to ensure success, we have made steady progress. We've also had too many failures, as the latest incidents just added yesterday to the PTSD Timeline bear out.
UPDATE 12-04-06: Vote on my post at Netscape.com
Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...
After a 6-months long halt to my research for a brief diversion, ePluribus Media and I have returned our focus to the PTSD Timeline.
What is the PTSD Timeline? It's a collection of online news reports listing incidents related to returning combat veterans coping with PTSD.
Fortunately, most soldiers, sailors, aviators, and Marines return to civilian life without any major hardships -- at least the type that can be seen from the outside. Most fold back into their home lives, into their communities. But some have a harder time of readjusting to civilian life.
This is their record.
Since we began our work together in 2005 (the core PTSD Timeline working group consists of JeninRI, LeftyLimblog, standingup, kfred, and Cho), the ePM PTSD Timeline has gotten some high-level attention.
- Senator Kerry's office is using the data.
- It's been linked from WireTap magazine, FOX News and USAToday.
- Bobby Muller, of Veterans for America, and Trish Wood, author of What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It, recently told me that they applaud our PTSD Timeline work.
The purpose of the PTSD Timeline is to:
1) aid in our understanding of the magnitude of the problem
2) record the incidents for future study and evaluation
3) allow reporters and researchers to find OEF and OIF PTSD incident data quickly and easily
Currently, we have 140 cases of either inwardly- or outwardly-directed combat-PTSD-related incidents. The latest to be added include (in no particular order):
Marine Arrested in Baby Son's Death
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 murder.
A 20-year old Marine who had been deployed to a training camp in Kuwait with the Ninth Communication Battalion from Camp Pendleton and who “was called back...to be with his ailing wife just before she died of childbirth complications was arrested on suspicion of murdering his newborn son.”
He had previously told a local TV station that he “felt overwhelmed as a single parent of two and struggled to accept his son. ‘I didn't know how to feel about him. The same day he was born, my wife died,’ he told KMPH in Fresno. ‘The feelings inside of me, I kind of wanted to push him away, but he's my son. My wife gave him to me.’”
His was jailed on charges of beating his 3-month old son. The death of his wife burdened him. He wrote on his personal web page, “For those of you who don't know, my beautiful wife ... died. Just because you see me smile and you see me laugh doesn't come close to the way I feel inside. I will never be as happy as I was until I'm with my wife again.”
Margate soldier arrested for brandishing gun
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 aggravated assault, battery, criminal mischief, and improper exhibition of a firearm.
A 25-year old Army soldier was “charged ... with assault after witnesses say he brandished a gun at some hotel guests. ... His girlfriend told police she tried to calm him down, but he took her money, smashed her belongings and threw her on the floor.
After police arrested [the] 24-year-old, he allegedly became irate and began hitting the plastic divider in the patrol car with his head. He was taken to a hospital where he received four stitches before being taken to jail.” It was not determined if this soldier had served in combat.
Report: Flagstaff soldier committed suicide
KTVK-TV and AZFamily.com
COMBAT ZONE INCIDENT: 1 suicide.
A 27-year old Flagstaff, Ariz. native, the “third woman to die in Iraq,” committed suicide “two weeks after objecting to interrogation techniques being used on Iraqi prisoners. After reportedly saying she couldn’t carry out the interrogations, she asked to be reassigned and was directed to monitor Iraqi guards and interpret for Iraqi civilians.” She served with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne
November 5, 2006. Her death had been listed simply as a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
Her parents were not told of her objections in Iraq, and were kept in the dark about the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death. An Arizona Republic reporter sniffed out the real facts of the incident, and the suicide came to light in 2006.
Ga. Iraq Vet Missing for Two Weeks
WXIA-TV Channel 11 News - Atlanta
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 missing person.
A 26-year old soldier who “served [two tours in Iraq] with an Army special forces psychological operations unit, where he helped craft the pamphlets dropped by U.S. troops during the early days of the war” went missing. Friends and family said it was out-of-character for him to disappear in such a way. His mother “says that although her son has suffered some depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since returning from Iraq in October 2005, she does NOT think that has much to do with his disappearance.”
Soldier sentenced to prison
The Augusta Chronicle
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 disobeying a lawful order, sodomy, adultery and sex with an underage person.
A 22-year old Fort Gordon sergeant who had served in Iraq with Company A, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion was arrested and accused of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old minor. The soldier “and the victim had sexual relations in December and January ... and the sergeant was ordered in February by his commander to break off contact with the girl - an order he violated Feb. 10.”
Ex-deputy charged with shooting Iraq veteran
Inland Valley [CA] Daily Bulletin
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 high-speed chase.
A former senior airman in the Air Force who had just returned from Iraq took part in a high-speed chase with Chino, California police. The incident became a nation story when a former sheriff's deputy shot the airman as it was captured on videotape. “The videotape of the Jan. 29 shooting, which has been widely broadcast by the media, was among the most compelling pieces of evidence produced by prosecutors.”
Vet charged with trying to kill wife
Morris News Service-Alaska
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 charge kidnapping, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of third-degree assault, and second-degree assault.
A 24-year-old Army soldier who “served with the 82nd Airborne, 101st Division, 18th Air Assault, in two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the 2005 Homer [AK] Veterans Day Parade, he rode in uniform in a vintage Army Jeep and was honored for his service by local veterans.”
At his indictment, he was charged with having “restrained his wife against her will and assaulted her, and that two accomplices ... helped him. [His] wife alleged she was taken to Skyline Drive, thrown around by the hair, punched and beaten, and then taken to the Homer Spit.
‘I was beaten some more and told that I was going to die,’ she wrote in the petition.”
Family questions Army ruling that soldier committed suicide
Marinette/Menominee Eagle Herald
COMBAT ZONE INCIDENT: 1 suicide.
A 21-year-old Army specialist with Virginia National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, based in Manassas, Va., died in Afghanistan from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head according to an investigative report issued by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in Virginia. His mother and other family members would not agree with the mode of death.
She said that “the Army has told her many conflicting things about her son’s death, starting from the day he died. On that day, the military issued a brief statement saying the soldier died from ‘non-combat related injuries.’ ... It's just gone back and forth so many times it's become very difficult for our family to have to endure all these things.”
Bank raid suspect appears in court
FOREIGN INCIDENT: 1 armed bank robbery.
Three U.S. Army Rangers based out of Fort Lewis committed a “military-style” robbery with “military-style precision and planning,” recruiting two Canadians to help. “On the day of the robbery, the 192 soldiers of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment [one of the Army's elite special operations units] were given two weeks leave. According to FBI ..., the three Rangers along with [the two accomplices] hit the bank late that afternoon in "an extremely well organized and executed robbery.
Wearing dark-colored balaclavas over their faces, two or three entered from the east entrance and two from the west entrance. Two were carrying AK-47-style assault rifles with "banana style" magazines holding extra ammo. They kept watch as one robber counted time out loud. Another robber "jumped over the teller counter and the bandit barrier" and ordered the tellers to fill his bag with $50 and $100 bills.
Some of the robbers appeared to be wearing soft body armor under their clothing.” It was not completely clear if all three Rangers had served in Iraq, but their unit had only recently returned from an Iraq deployment.
Sergeant's Disappearance Treated As Missing Person's Case
WCPO-TV Channel 9 News – Cincinnati
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 missing person.
A 24-year old soldier, who was the son of a Vietnam veteran and brother of another Iraq vet, “returned from Iraq in November of 2005 after a 13 month tour that put him on the front lines” only to go missing eight months after returning from the combat zone. He was last seen driving away from his home.
At the time, his mother said “she doesn't know anyone who would want to hurt her son and she can't rule out that he might try and hurt himself. She said her son had been demonstrating classic signs of post traumatic stress disorder since returning from his tour of duty.”
After a nation-wide alert and a sighting in Montana, the soldier eventually turned up in Washington State. “Garry was found ... with a full beard and mustache and living in the woods. ...His PTSD and experiences in the war have triggered this hero to go into "survival mode" and disappear. He was found coherent, tired and stating he was ‘looking for his men.’”
MP from 29 Palms shot after killing prostitute
Hi-Desert Star (Yucca Valley, CA)
STATESIDE INCIDENT: 1 murder.
A 22-year old Twentynine Palms Marine decorated for former combat duty and a military police officer “was shot and killed by a police officer early Sunday morning after allegedly murdering a trans-gender prostitute. ... [P]olice believe [he] picked up a transgender prostitute he thought was a female, but was actually a male.” A citizen reported the crime, and the Marine fled the area. A high-speed helicopter police pursuit ensued.
“When [he] stopped his car, he got out but refused to comply with officers' orders. They fired a non-lethal weapon (such as a gun with bean-bag bullets) at him, but that failed to stop [him].” He was said to have run towards the officers with a drawn handgun; an officer shot him (although other reports state there was confusion over if the suspect or the officer fired the shot that killed the Marine.
- VA Reports Nearly 300 Estimated OEF/OIF Veteran Suicides
- More than 50% of Army's 948 Suicide Attempts in 2006 Sought Help First
- OEF/OIF Vets Seeking PTSD Care from VA Jumps 70%, Mental Health Counseling Tops 100,000
- Fort Campbell: 9 Suicides in 2007, 3 in Last 2 Weeks Moves Commanding General to Act
- Is the Army 'Spinning' its Increase in Suicides?
- Last Year's 99 Army Suicides Highest in Recorded History
- As Another Suicide Occurs, Minnesota Leaders Urge DoD to Revise Post-Deployment Contact Rules
- Family Sues VA for Iraq Veteran Son's 2004 Suicide
- Flash Video Remembers 100+ OEF/OIF Veteran Suicides
- Returning Veterans and Suicide: Alaska's Perfect Storm?
- Family 'Respectfully Disagrees' With VA Report on Son's Suicide
- Veterans, Violence and Society
- Combat PTSD: Incident Database for Reporters, Researchers
- Combat PTSD Timeline: 41 Stateside OEF/OIF Suicides
- PTSD Breakdown: We're Failing the American Military Family
- Military Families: Preparing for Your Troop's Return Home
- Need Transition Help? Free Resources for OEF/OIF Troops