Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Soldier's letter from Afghanistan ~ UPDATES

Read to the bottom, the BOLD type in the last 2 correspondences with ** before them.......   
Just saying, I had a feeling, and nothing was said outright, but I put my suspicions out there,
and they were not denied.....  (The Nat'l Enquirer did a more thorough job convincing people that aliens were spawning aliens in New Mexico..)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO
From: Afghanistan

Thanks my friend,..I don't know where to begin really so I may ramble
endlessly,... I don't really want to go into all the firefights, and
this is not my first combat experience, however, this place is not
Kosovo,..."Maddys war" and it is not Iraq,..it is worse. I don't really
find myself challenging my faith in God and my belief in Jesus Christ
because what I have witnessed, to the contrary, my faith has been
reinforced...Example: Two nights ago my best friend Richard Randall
Rush,..or Triple "R" .
..AKA the "DICK RANDY" was in a big TIC( Troops in
Contact)or a fire fight with his men. One of his Soldiers was shot
square in the head,..in the ACH helmet..This was no 5.56 Round but a
7.62 AK round,..the Round entered this kids Hemet, traversed the inside
arch of his ACH, tearing up the pads and out the other side,...There is
no way this kid should be alive right? There is no explanation for this
JFK magic bullet but I saw the kid and the ACH....when you see this shit
it confirms that some people are meant to live and some were meant to
die. A couple of weeks back I was in shootout where three of our guys
got shot close to me. One week later we lose two Soldiers in one of the
worse fights the 101st Division had experienced while saving a downed
pilot. Every day I leave the wire one of us takes contact,...I used to
look forward to killing "The Haj",..but I find myself getting more and
more angry every day,..I see it in other Soldiers, other
leaders,...maybe it's just the end of the deployment and people are at
each other,...maybe it's the witnessing of the corruption here,..the
biting of the very hand that feeds these people....Maybe it's
frustration of our own risk adverse leadership, who refuse to take the
fight to the enemy. Some days I hate even leaving the wire thinking
"What's the point?" 

Being older and wiser than a lot of my peer group, I feel I can handle
the stress better than many of the others, but I find myself waking up
at 0200AM right on schedule,..I find my mind racing with negative
thoughts at night and I can't fall to sleep. I'm finding that I rarely
call home,..I have left Facebook,...and I'm confrontational with my
higher ups,...Saying things like " Sir, You can go have a nice hot cup
of,.. Go Fuck Yourself!".....As a RECON Commander I used to preach to my
Junior Officers and NCO's to watch for signs of PTSD.  When I step back
and self assess myself, as most good leaders should do,..I find some of
the very warnings in my own actions. I do not know if I have anything
crazy wrong with me or not, but I'm troubled my something and not sure
what it is,...I don't feel traumatized by what I'm seen,...Soldiers get
hurt and killed, dead people are dead people,..kids run over by MRAPS
are sad but the world is a cruel place.

I have probably put out more here than I would normally have ever said
to your face. I guess I'm not looking for you to solve the puzzle here
and get involved. 

From: ME
Subject: Re: Counseling (UNCLASSIFIED)

Rambling away is good, and it's going to be endless. What you're
experiencing is NOT what anyone should have to experience.  The
atrocities you're witnessing is NOT the daily tribulations of life in an
unfair, tough world. It is horrific, atrocious, senseless craziness of
WAR-- psychological survival is equaled in the physical.

The self assessment is very healthy...you're not unaware and running on
a disconnected "auto-pilot", that is a good sign... And so is your
willingness to talk about it as well as your inherent intelligence to
process things as well as you can given the insanity and hideous crimes
against humanity.  It's no joke, and there's nothing wrong with being
human and being affected by these horrific events.  Anger is natural,
and justifiable.  The corruption is obvious and civilians are
helplessly trying to force the explanations for all this.

You have earned that anger with honor, strength and sacrifice.  You own
it, you have to face it like you do the enemy.  If you can let it out
without hurting yourself or others, do it..  I don't know what the
protocol is there, if y'all have an area for venting, where you can
punch a bag with gloves.. A friend of mine in the lower ranks of the
army said they had fight nights once a week.  The anger internally is
rampant, and another soldier and him had a verbal argument, then the
other guy blindsided him literally, while he was in his bunk on his
laptop.. He's had numerous surgeries, his career is over, and they're
still not sure if he'll lose his eye.  That is nothing compared to what
you're going through and sounds so trivial, but it's traumatic, and an
example of anger misdirected.  A huge concern here is for y'all's
psychological health.  You're so not alone.. PTSD is heavily
anticipated, it is expected..You'll be encouraged to do whatever you
have to in order to recover.. Trauma is serious, and no surgery can cure
it. You will no doubt have to battle with the the psychological effects
of what you've had to see and process, and you don't have to do it
alone, hold it in, or feel weak or flawed...it is 100% natural for you
to have reactions and craziness you question yourself about..

Your heroism is endless and the psychological sacrifice can be more
trying than the ultimate sacrifice..  No way am I saying anyone is
better off dead, but you've got to process the living Hell that you
can't simply get out of your head.  Survivor's guilt will show up as
anger, grief as anger, frustration, depression, adrenaline burn out, all
of it results in anger..  I can't imagine what it's like, but the
pictures and video footage I've seen is horrific enough for me to know
what you're seeing is beyond one's comprehension.  I wish I could take
the pain away.  If you ever feel tears building up, don't repress them,
express them and let it flow.... Pain is inevitable, and we cried for
you collectively yesterday, and many of us do everyday.

I'm so sorry you've had to witness the unthinkable.  PTSD is inevitable,
but it's treatable if not ignored..  It will be part of your journey,
and I know your resolve to address it will inspire and help others.
You're very intelligent, my friend, and your call to duty is beyond the
horrific war zones.. Your ability to articulate your experiences will
serve you AND others very well.

I hope that others understand the dynamics of what's going on...  It's
the nature of the beast, and if you're human, you're not immune.

Feel free to vent and ramble and get it all out whenever you can.

There's information out there about noticing PTSD and preventing suicide
by soldiers who've returned home and can't cope. People need to know,

some do, but people want to know
and should have a clue about what you have to be going through at this
point.  Your description answers many questions confirming what so many
are infuriated about... Some on the financial front, as always, but
others, like myself want you all out of there NOW...

Let me know if that's okay... Keep the faith, you've got support and
understanding in your corner.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO
FROM Afghanistan:

I don't know if I told you,..I had a Soldier who came back from
Iraq,..was so distressed over a fight or breakup, went to a Wal-mart
where his grandmother was working,..and she raised him, she sold him
ammo for his .45 handgun. He drove to Wisconsin to his girlfriends house
went into her basement and shot himself. I had just gave a suicide brief
and yet, nobody saw this coming from this young kid.

I get what you're saying , plain and simple.

When you leave the wire your adrenaline ramps up,..when you come back
sometimes you're just drained. We laugh a lot here, and sometimes that
masks the stresses that lye underneath. I guess I had notice some things
in myself and others because the Military is doing a good job of
awareness of TBI and PTSD...I guess the big question is how will it
affect me when I adjust back to just being a regular guy.

You're in depth knowledge and understanding of this issue is a great
skill you possess. You are incredibly intelligent and articulate in
understanding these issues. Your response has made me feel better and
confirmed what I have felt lately. You have probably helped so many
people in their lives over the years, many of us owe you a bit of
gratitude for your great friendship.

You have been a great sounding board and better friend,...thank you!

From: ME

I know it's natural to wonder what's the point?  And to see a bullet
penetrate a helmet and know that guy lived for a reason, and see a guy
get shot down right next to you....whoa... I can't downplay the
magnitude of witnessing those events.. All those reasons you mentioned
apply.. the winding down to the end of it all shouldn't be so full of
senseless death and destruction.

Part of you has to feel a strange sense of sadness that it's coming to
an end, an open end.  You'll miss it, as it's part of your identity
now, that's natural..  You'll mourn the loss of being an active soldier
in the throes of an historic war that will be forever played out and
written about in the archives of world history.. That's huge, and at the
same time you're not getting a sense of closure..  An open ended war
with no true resolve.  **The death of OBL was anti climactic and symbolic
of how virulent this administration's deception is.  It is NOT fair, and
the details are still suspect.

Emotions are not rational, however they're real, and if they're there,
they're there for a reason, and the reason(s) are based on the logic of
how the human brain works..They are justifiable and undeniable.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO
From: Afghanistan

You're a great girl Laura

Your right,..this is my last fight,..I just bought a Harley,..LOL,...I
lose part of my foot in college due to a motorcycle that ruins my
football career and I go out and buy another one...

I don't do this for anything or anybody other than all those people who
just say thank you at the DFW airport, Atlanta Airport or for those who
did this before me,..and for people like you who understand how this
nation works.
The biggest reason is for each other,..the Soldiers ,..who were not even
born when you and I first met. I love these kids and many of these same
Officers I have been with for more than 13 years. My best friends are
here on this post with me...I mean the guys I drink with back home and
run around with...I guess we do this job because we are doing it
together and you don't want them to do it alone.

I don't know what history will say about this war or all the other
conflicts,..At Ft Benning,...Building 4 3rd floor,..they will tell you
Iraq was for a power projection platform,
..LOL I could tell you why we
are here but I can't. **There is a reason we went into the heart of the
ISI, Paki military complex and placed two rounds into the head of OBL
took his body without them even knowing it happening,..think about it.
It could have happened a year ago,..two years ago,..people have no idea
how powerful this Military is and its capabilities,...we hear and see
everything,...I mean everything,..

Enhanced by Zemanta