Yesterday I created a thread in which my objective was to point out my horrible experience at the @DeptVetAffairs office when I returned back, for mid-tour leave, from combat operation in #Iraq. Mind you, this was Feb 2005.
I couldn't believe how I was treated! I was sobbing uncontrollably, shaking, & suicidal. I wanted to end it! No more pain! And then to top it off, we were escorted off of VA property because my brother was shouting at the VA staff as to why they weren't going to help me.
Although the point was well received by 99% of you, after reviewing the thread, I realized how selfish it was. I used "I" when I should've been using "WE". I was NEVER alone throughout my combat tours. Deployed troops bond, show esprit de corps, and latch onto one another.
I became closer and bonded with other Soldiers/Marines (@USMC/ @USArmy ), some whom I really didn't much care for in garrison. We ALL witnessed atrocities and we ALL did things we hope we'd never have to do again.
During my second tour, while serving in southern Iraq, the #Polish #Army was attacked while preparing to dispose unexploded ordnance (UXO). This means they had several bombs with them (In their case, a LARGE amount), spread throughout their convoy.
The enemy knew the location (based on convoy patterns) and pre-rigged the now known UXO site. The Pols were caught off guard & they were slaughtered! Bodies everywhere! The blast was felt miles away. Air support was called and the AO Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was dispatched.
I was on the QRF team (24 Soldiers/Marines). When we arrived, no enemy in site, just charred bodies, torn up vehicles, body parts, teeth, fingers, noses, boots with feet still in them, fully detached spinal cords... (Pics from recovery) You get the point.
So MANY unnatural things are required of our troops while in combat. How do you prepare a soldier for picking up severed heads when the shit hits the fam?! You don't!

#PTSD #TBI #Iraq #Afghanistan #Army #Navy #AirForce #Marines #USMC
One of the bodies we helped recover was the largest guy on the (Forward Operating Base) FOB. He was a powerlifter and was admired in the FOB gym by all the US troops. Dude was awesomely huge and strong! I'll never forget him as long as I live. He was with Polish EOD. #Hero
My point is not to go on another tirade, but to bring awareness to the @DeptVetAffairs and their staff that our #veterans returning home from #combat operations are extremely fragile. They should slap a "Handle with Care" or "Fragile" sticker on us during de-mobilization.
Because even the 'hard as nails', war dogs, need support and help. It's only a matter of time. I, like many #Vets, are very prideful & put off help until it's too late.
I sought the help I needed and it was a life saver but many veterans don't. YOU, as a friend, relative, associate, colleague etc, have a duty to reach out to a fellow veteran and just say hello...

NOTE: You don't have to be intrusive or assume they're doing bad.
That interaction will go a long way! Trust me! Anyway, I just wanted to regroup and let those who read my last thread, 95% of those deployed, went though more crap than you might imagine. I was never alone...

Semper Fi!
PS: I cope with things. I'll never forget what I/we did and the cost that came with it. Those who serve, know.
PSS: I appreciate the DM's wishing me the best, but life is great.
I'm blessed. I have a daughter in college, a successful software engineering & cybersec firm, and a #servicedog that is my best friend!
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