Wounded Warriors Returning from the Abyss

Dawn Halfaker graduated from West Point as a 1st lieutenant and led a platoon in Iraq in 2004. A few weeks into her deployment, her platoon was ambushed, she was hit and when she woke up in the hospital days later, her right arm was gone.

With her military career over, she decided to help fellow wounded veterans. The Huffington Post interviewed Halfaker, and asked, “What happened on the day you got wounded?”

Halfaker replied, “It was a routine, 3-hour patrol mission looking for enemy activity on a relatively quiet night until, after about two and a half hours, we drove right into an ambush. I was in the first vehicle of the convoy, and one of the rocket-propelled grenades hit me and one of my squad leaders, severely injuring both of us.”

She launched Halfaker and Associates, and today it is an award winning professional services and technology solutions firm. She also is involved as the president of the Wounded Warrior Project that has a vision “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

Serving her country, she lost an arm and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal along with a Purple Heart for her wounds in combat. But her success since that fateful day doesn’t mean she doesn’t have days where she doesn’t hate her life. In 2005, in a New York Times interview, she said, “Some days when I’m holding a cup of coffee, my ID, carrying a bag, trying to open the door at work, I spill coffee on myself. Those are the days I say, ‘I hate my life.’ I cry and think, Why do I have to be this way?”

But no matter how she feels on down days, she always rebounds and wonders how her life turned out so great.

If we learn anything from this retired Army captain, it is that there is no excuse to give up on life.

Why is it that some combat veterans become homeless alcoholics and drug users stricken with severe PTSD and others—for example Halfaker—end up becoming the successful CEO of her own business with 150 employees and a positive role model for the rest of us?

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Combat casualties and battle-field medicine through the ages: Part 2/2

With the introduction of gun powder, combat casualties increased dramatically, but medical treatment in the battlefield also improved. Field hospitals were introduced by Napoleon. During the Civil War and later in World War I and World War II, trained military medics joined combat units to treat casualties in the field as troops were wounded.

By comparing deaths and the number wounded starting with World War I, we gain a better understanding of how those advances in battlefield medical care improved the odds of survival.

  • World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918—one year and eight months): 53,402 deaths and 204,002 wounded in action—an average of 32,170 combat deaths annually.
  • World War II (Dec. 1941 to Aug. 14, 1945—three years and about nine months): 407,300 deaths and 670,846 wounded in action—an average of 108,613 combat deaths annually.

The introduction of the helicopter in Korea and then Vietnam to quickly medevac wounded troops to field hospitals saved many lives.

  • Korea (1950 – 1953—three years): 54,246 deaths and 92,134 wounded in combat—an average of 18,082 combat deaths annually.
  • Vietnam (1956 – 1975—nineteen years): 58,193 deaths and 153,303 wounded in combat—an average of 3,063 combat deaths annually.
  • Desert Storm (1990 – 1991—seven months): 378 deaths and 1,000 wounded in combat—an average of 54 combat deaths a month.
  • Iraq (March 2003 – December 2011—about eight years): 4,403 deaths and 31,827 wounded in combat—an average of 550 combat deaths annually.
  • Afghanistan (October 7, 2001 to present—about eleven years) 2,094 and 18,584 wounded in action—an average of 190 combat deaths annually while back home in the United States more than 30,000 die in vehicle accidents on the roads and highways every year. Sources: Timeline of U.S. Wars and Conflicts and Defense.gov

Today, there are more casualties from suicide than combat. In 2012, the number of active-duty casualties from suicide actually outnumbered the combat deaths in all of Afghanistan, 349 -295.  But it’s even worse than that if you look at the number of suicides by America’s veterans. As of February 4th, TWENTY-TWO veterans kill themselves EVERY DAY. That’s one EVERY 65 MINUTES. Source: Innocence-Clinic.law

Now the challenge is to discover how to treat the invisible wounds and trauma of the mind.

Return to or start with Combat casualties and battle-field medicine through the ages: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Unwanted Heroes

Many unwanted heroes defend our nation and fight its wars—right or wrong. When America’s leaders declare wars based on lies (for example: Vietnam and Iraq) or the truth (World War I, II, Afghanistan and Korea), unwanted heroes do the fighting and pay the price.

On the side of a bus at the VA medical clinic that I go to, it says, “All gave some; some gave all.” I have a credit card sized VA Department of Veterans Affairs ID card.  It says below my photo: “Service Connected.” That means I have a disability connected to my service in Vietnam in 1966 when I was serving in the US Marines.

What is the price many unwanted heroes pay for trusting their leaders?

This post has the same title of a novel that was recently released, and I had the privilege of editing Unwanted Heroes by Alon Shalev.

In Unwanted Heroes, Shalev brings together a long suffering, battle weary Chinese American Vietnam veteran suffering from the trauma of PTSD and an idealistic and somewhat pretentious young Englishmen, who both share a love for San Francisco, coffee and wine.

Alon Shalev, the author, grew up in London, and has been a political activist since his early teens. He strives through his writing to highlight social and political injustice and to inspire action for change.

Moving to Israel, he helped establish a kibbutz where he lived for 20 years and served in the Israeli army.

Shalev then moved to the San Francisco Bay area and fell hopelessly in love with this unique city. Being new to the US, however, he was shocked to see so many war veterans on the streets. He regularly volunteers at initiatives such as Project Homeless Connect and the San Francisco Food Bank where he meets and talks with war veterans. These experiences lend authenticity to the novel.

In fact, according to NIH (the National Institute of Health) Medline Plus, “PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults” … and “members of the military exposed to war/combat and other groups at high risk for trauma exposure are at risk for developing PTSD.

“Among veterans returning from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, PTSD and mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often linked and their symptoms may overlap. Blast waves from explosions can cause TBI, rattling the brain inside the skull.

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31% of Vietnam veterans; as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans; 11% of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20% of Iraqi war veterans.”

NIH says, “PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.”

In addition, “between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the year, and on any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the US. … About 33% of homeless males in the US are veterans and veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless. One of the primary causes of homelessness among veterans is combat-related mental health issues and disability.

The incident of PTSD and suicide rates among veterans is also climbing and 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness including PTSD. Source: Veterans Inc.org

The New York Times reported, “Suicide rates of military personnel and combat veterans have risen sharply since 2005, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified. Recently, the Pentagon established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office.”

“The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. …

Why? “The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter.” Source: History.com – Statistics about the Vietnam War

I did not seek help for my PTSD for thirty-eight years, because I did not know the VA offered counseling.

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

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PTSD and Homeless Veterans

In the Marines, we learned to never leave the wounded or dead behind.

I have lived with the symptoms of PTSD for forty-six years. I was fortunate. I was capable of holding down a job. I haven’t forgotten the homeless veteran I met in an alley early one early morning in Pasadena, California. I wrote about it in A Prisoner of War for Life.

The key is to learn how to cope. If you have PTSD, you will never get rid of it as if it were a cold or the flu. PTSD stays with you for life.

USA Today reported, “War might be making young bodies old. … The tragic signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or battlefield concussion are all too evident. Even more alarming for researchers is emerging evidence that these newest American combat veterans — former GIs and Marines in their 20s and 30s — appear to be growing old before their time. Scientists see early signs of heart disease and diabetes, slowed metabolisms and obesity — maladies more common to middle age or later.”

Some veterans are so damaged from combat experience, that they become homeless.

The population of the United States is more than 314 million people. The US Armed Forces that protects America’s civilians numbers 1.458 million—less than one-half-of-one-percent of the total US population. In addition, there are about 860 thousand military reservists.

In fact, the number of military veterans in the United States in 2012 was 21.8 million—6.94% of the total US population.

It doesn’t matter the reason a US citizen joins the military—patriotism or a financial need—and fights in one of America’s foreign wars. The fact that he or she served and put his or her life on the line or risked serious injury in combat,  I think that the ninety-three percent of the population that never served and risked life and limb owes those veterans an obligation.

That also means supporting homeless veterans with jobs and shelter.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness says, “The nation’s homeless population … went from 643,067 in 2009 to 636,017 in 2011. … The only increase was among those unsheltered.”

However, “The national rate of homelessness was 21 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. The rate for veterans was 31 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the general population.”


PBS Documentary on Homeless Veterans – WORTH WATCHING if you have the time.

The Veterans Administration is the only federal agency that provides substantial hand-on assistance directly to Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Veteran homelessness is a problem of national importance. According to a count on a January night in 2011, there were 67,495 homeless Veterans. And an estimated 144,842 Veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program in a recent year. Because of this, in 2009, President Obama and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.

An estimated 144,842 Veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program in one recent year.

Many other Veterans are considered at risk of homelessness because of poverty, lack of support from family and friends, substance use or mental health issues, and precarious living conditions.

The VA has a hot line to support veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. That number is: 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-4243-838) Source: VA.gov/Homeless

In recent months, I have been editing a novel about PTSD and homeless veterans.  It isn’t my work. It was written by Alon Shalev, the author of  The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale.  His next novel is titled, Unwanted Heroes (to be published soon). It’s a story about healing and/or the failure to heal from PTSD. A love story is part of the mix too.

_______________________
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

Low-Def Kindle Cover December 11His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

One Never Forgets

It has been forty-six years since I fought in Vietnam, and watching two movies rebooted my PTSD interrupting my sleep pattern. For years, I usually wake at least once a night and listen. However, since watching the movies, I wake every hour and listen to the night sounds.

In Brothers, one of the two brothers, a captain in the US Marines, goes to Afghanistan on his fourth tour of duty and becomes a tortured and abused POW.  After he is liberated and his captors killed, he returns home suffering from severe PTSD trauma. Tobey Maguire plays Marine Captain Sam Cahill and does a convincing job playing a veteran that is severely damaged by PTSD symptoms.

Watching Maguire act his part reminded me of my first decade back from Vietnam when I drank too much and often woke once or twice and carried a loaded weapon around the house checking the doors and windows.  More than once, when overwhelmed by a burst of anger, I punched holes in walls with fists.

The anger comes fast—one moment you are calm as a rusty doorknob and an instant later an exploding fragmentation grenade.

In the Valley of Elah, Tommy Lee Jones plays a father, who was also a Vietnam combat veteran, searching for answers to explain his son’s death soon after returning from Iraq. In this film, we see how war strips young men of their humanity—that thin veneer that comes with so-called civilization.

From Brothers, I was reminded of the homeless Vietnam veteran I met in an alley in Pasadena, California one early morning. He had been a prisoner of war and similar to the character Tobey Maguire plays, was severely traumatized with PTSD symptoms.

The VA rated the homeless vet I met in that Pasadena alley as 100% disabled by PTSD possibly explaining why he was homeless—not because he could not afford an apartment.  The disability from the VA was more than enough to support him.  However, most of that money went for drugs and booze for him and his homeless buddies.

Then there was another vivid image of a Vietcong POW being tortured by South Korean troops during a field operation I was on.  The South Koreans hung that Vietnamese POW by his heels from a tree limb and pealed the skin off his body while he lived.

In the Valley of Elah reminded me of an ambush where a team of Marines I was a member of went out in a heavy rain at sunset and after an hour or so of slogging through the gloomy downpour, we stopped in a rice paddy with water to our necks and stayed there for more than an hour waiting for complete darkness before moving into position. We shared that rice paddy with a very large king cobra.

In the Marines, one does not question orders—we do or die—so we stayed in that paddy knowing a king cobra was in the water with us.

Both of these films are dramatic examples of what war does to young men and their families.

Some combat veterans avoid seeing films such as these two. However, I do not. I do not want to return to that time where I avoided talking and thinking of my part in the Vietnam War, because at night when we struggle to sleep there is no escape. We cannot hide from the monster that came home with us living inside our skin as if it were an unwanted parasite.

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

It is Time – Relief for Victims of Lone-Wolf Killers such as James Holmes

What happened in that theater outside Denver, Colorado on July 25, 2012 or, for example, the terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, were acts of terrorism and/or combat no different from what happened on 9/11 or in America’s foreign wars such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, twelve days after 9/11, the US Congress enacted the September 11th Victim Compensation fund of 2001. This $6 billion program was intended to compensate any individual (or the personal representative of a deceased individual) who was physically injured or killed as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011. Source: Homeland Security: 9/11 Victim Relief Funds

We already know what happens to America’s combat veterans in similar situations—and US troops are trained, armed and ready.

In July 2010, PBS News Hour reported, “Of the more than two million men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s estimated one in five will come home with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD,” said health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser.

Bowser quoted U. S. President Barack Obama, who said, “I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to keep notes just in case they need to apply for a claim. And I have met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.”

Before President Obama, the rules required veterans to document events like firefights or bomb explosions that could have caused PTSD. Such documentation was often time-consuming and difficult, and sometimes was impossible. … Under the new rules a veteran need show only that he or she served in a war and performed a job during which events could have happened that could cause the disorder.

But what about the innocent victims of combat in the United States?

I’m not talking about the homicide rate (which is in decline) or riots (which most people may avoid by staying away from the location of the riot). I’m talking about the victims of lone-wolf mass killings such as what happened recently near Denver, Colorado.


What Motivates “Lone-Wolf” Shooters – there are thousands hiding in public!

According to The Arizona Republic, “There has been no corresponding decline in mass murder—these sudden, stunning eruptions of violence with multiple victims, often perpetrated by gunmen who researchers refer to as ‘pseudo-commandos.’ Such a killer, clad in body armor and with a small arsenal of firearms, struck Friday in Aurora, Colo., leaving a dozen dead, 58 wounded and a nation horrified. …

“The United States experienced 645 mass-murder events—killings with at least four victims—from 1976 to 2010, according to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox. When graphed, these incidents show no obvious trend. The numbers go up and down and up again. The total body count: 2,949.”

The total number killed in the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001 was 2,819.

If what happened in that Colorado Theater does not qualify as a home grown terrorist attack by a ‘pseudo-commando’, what does?

Lone-wolf acts of violence in the United States must be considered the same as any disaster and be included under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988. Under this act, the Federal share of the costs of such efforts is to be no less than 75 percent of the eligible costs. Total assistance under this Act for one emergency is to be limited to no more than $5,000,000, except when the President determines additional funds are needed. If additional funds are needed, the President must report to Congress on the extent of the additional need.

If what happened in Colorado is not covered under the Stafford Act, we need a new law that will. After all, it is the government’s responsibility to safeguard innocent, law abiding US citizens and in acts of lone-wolf violence, the government has failed 645 times since 1976.

It’s time to take care of our own in situations such as a lone-wolf mass-murder events. If the US Federal government can spend $49 billion for foreign aid in 2012, it must help the victims of acts of violence similar to what happened in Colorado in that Century Theater—the victims in such acts of violence should be treated the same as if they were 9/11 victims, wounded in combat or came home with PTSD from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Discover The Creative Writing Class at war with the Vietnam Vet

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The PTSD Connection – help from friends, family, loved ones and maybe marijuana

On the walk home from the theater after seeing the film Savages (Oliver Stone directed the film), I thought of one of the characters played by Taylor Kitsch—Chon is a former Navy Seal that served combat tours in Iraq and then Afghanistan.

Near the beginning of the film, it is obvious that Chon has PTSD but by the end Ophelia and Ben will have it too. What these characters experience in the film was traumatic in the worst way without joining the military and serving in a war.

If you see the movie or read the novel by Don Winslow, pay attention to how Chon deals with danger. There is one film scene in a restaurant where a server drops a tray of dishes and Chon, in a flash, is under the table with pistol in hand. He also handles dangerous situations ruthlessly.

In the movie, Chon and Ben produce high-quality marijuana and sell it legally and illegally, and all three of the main characters smoke their own product, which may be explained away by a study conducted at Haifa University in Israel that found rats with PTSD treated with marijuana within 24 hours of a traumatic experience successfully avoided any PTSD symptoms (maybe the US military should include some marijuana in the rations of all combat troops in Afghanistan).

However, that would not have helped me. I’m allergic to marijuana smoke and cannot be in the same room where someone else is smoking weed.

Winslow, the author of Savages, was once a private detective in New York City. His career as an investigator would repeatedly bring him to California to look into arson cases, so maybe he has some PTSD from that experience.

It is a fact that anyone can have PTSD—it isn’t exclusive to combat veterans. After all, Ophelia and Ben never served in the military and were not combat veterans from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, but by the end of the movie the odds are they both will have PTSD.

It doesn’t hurt that Oliver Stone, the film’s director, enlisted in the United States Army, fought in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division, then with the First Calvary Division, earning a Bronze Star with Combat V, an Army Commendation Medal and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster before his discharge.

After Stone’s experience in Vietnam, PTSD may have followed him home adding authenticity to the film.

However, if you have PTSD or you know someone with PTSD and you have severe allergic reactions to smoking marijuana, as I do, then you may have to look for support from family, loved ones and friends.

That brings us to Charlene Rubush’s Blog—Win Over PTSD.


This video has nothing to do with Rubush’s Blog but does focus on PTSD.

Rubush’s experience as a former wife of a Vietnam veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder led to years of research on the subject, and she recently published a guest post by Ryan Rivera on How to Be the Partner of Someone with PTSD.

Rivera says, “One of the most important recovery tools for someone living with PTSD is social support. The more they know that they have real, true friends behind them, the better the outcome of their PTSD treatments. The problem is that PTSD can be hard to understand, and those in a relationship with someone living with PTSD often find that they are struggling with how to keep the relationship together.”

In Savages, Chon’s true friends are Ophelia and Ben. He knows he can count on them accepting him as he is, PTSD included—they are a family.

If you try the marijuana therapy, make sure to do it legally and if you don’t do it legally, don’t get caught. A term in prison may make the PTSD worse—a lot worse.

Discover Booze, the Veteran and coming home

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Furry Friendly Therapy for PTSD

Lauran Neergaard, writing for The Huffington Post, reported, “Brain Scans Reveals Invisible Damage of PTSD.”

Powerful scans measure how some of the brain’s regions are altered/damaged in the vicious cycle that is PTSD, where patients feel as if they are reliving a trauma instead of understanding that it’s just a memory.

With these scans, doctors may see how the brain has been changed in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

In fact, Brain Facts.org reported that “Long-term or high levels of cortisol (brought on by PTSD) can also have damaging effects, causing toxicity and shrinkage of brain regions such as the hippocampus, a structure involved in memory formation.… an especially traumatic event can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which occurs when the stress system fails to recover from the event. This results in recurring flashbacks that can disrupt everyday life.”

However, Neergaard reports that these changes to the brain need not be permanent and may change with treatment.

One such treatment is canine therapy. In May 2010, the US Congress introduced the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act through H.R. 3885, which required the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a pilot program through which veterans diagnosed with PTSD or other mental health conditions would train service doges for use by disabled veterans. The pilot program would operate in three to five medical centers over a five-year period.

Next, in July 2011, VA.gov’s VAntage Point reported in Finding Solace in Companion Dogs that this new pilot program authorized by Congress was launched at the Marion VA Medical Center in Illinois. The focus has moved beyond the idea that dogs are only for guide purposes (example: the blind). The focus has shifted to their companionship
and therapeutic potential.

In addition, Palo Alto Online News reported that at the VA in Palo Alto: “Melissa Puckett, recreational therapist and PTSD supervisor in the men’s and women’s trauma-recovery program, said many vets deal with emotional numbness as part of PTSD. The dogs help them to receive touch and spontaneous affection and to express love — ‘things they thought they would never have again,’ she said.”

Then The New York Times reported in For the Battle-Scarred, Comfort at Leash’s End that “Veterans rely on their dogs to gauge the safety of their surroundings, allowing them to venture into public places without constantly scanning for snipers, hidden bombs and other dangers lurking in the minds of those with the disorder.”

Discover Before PTSD, it was called Combat Fatigue or Shell Shock

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

A Repeat of Agent Orange in America’s Heartland?

An e-mail arrived this morning from the “Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation”. I signed up for this news feed because I served in the First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division in Okinawa and then Vietnam in 1965-1966.

The title of the e-mail speaks volumes about America’s political priorities when measured between health of the environment and the individual and corporate profits.

The title of the e-mail was “Dow & Monsanto Join Forces to Poison America’s Heartland”.  Source: Truth Out.org by Richard Schiffman

About Monsanto Company—it is the world’s largest provider of patented genetically modified seeds for crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton, bringing in $10.5 billion this past year.

In fact, anything that makes food more expensive benefits Monsanto, which is why this corporation encourages the use of genetically engineered crops.

Schiffman says, “In a match that some would say was made in hell, the nation’s two leading producers of agrochemicals have joined forces in a partnership to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2,4-D, one half of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by American forces to clear jungle during the Vietnam War. These two biotech giants have developed a weed management program that, if successful, would go a long way toward a predicted doubling of harmful herbicide use in America’s corn belt during the next decade.”

Note from Blog host:  Because I served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, I am on the VA’s Agent Orange list. The VA (The United States Department of Veterans Affairs) lists these diseases on the VA Website as Veteran’s Diseases Associated with Agent Orange.

VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

Schiffman says, “The problem for corn farmers is that “superweeds” have been developing resistance to America’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, which is being sprayed on millions of acres in the Midwest and elsewhere. Dow Agrosciences has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2,4-D, which will kill off the Roundup-resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing. Farmers who opt into this system will be required to double-dose their fields with a deadly cocktail of Roundup plus 2,4-D, both of which are manufactured by Monsanto.”

Note from Blog host: This actual article is much longer than what I’ve posted in this comment. You may find the rest at Truth Out.org

Discover Pain, Pollution and People

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

Casualties of the Mind (part 2 of 3)

In Vogt’s piece, one soldier says, “When you come back to here and you go to a combat stress from somebody who has a Ph.D. and whatnot and had never set foot in harm’s way, he’s only giving you textbook criteria or a pill to help you sleep better at night.”

The shrink says, “This is the kind of thing I hear a lot. Avoidance is typical. Each soldier’s timeline is different. There’s no predicting when a soldier will be ready to open up.”

It’s true. We all have different timelines, which may be unpredictable bombs ready to explode without warning. From 1966 until 1981, I didn’t even know my flashbacks, drinking and anger were from the combat I carried in my head.

The beasts come out at night and wake me to a nightmare world of combat where I hear the sniper round that touched my left ear—an inch to the right and I would have been dead or the time we were escorting a supply column north and one truck hit a landmine and we found only the foot (still in the boot) of the guy who was riding in that truck—he had two weeks left before he would have gone home.

Continued with Casualties of the Mind – Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”