I'm prior military and I work on a military base. I know quite a few combat vets. Combat changed them, yes. How could anyone expect that combat wouldn't change someone? All the vets I know are successful members of society. Unfortunately, it's the rare very small minority of combat vets who screw up somehow and have the media go crazy with the story.
I also know people who have been exposed to non-combat trauma: rape, natural disasters, child/spouse abuse, etc. They are also changed from their experience. Most are successful members of society, but a rare few couldn't handle it or didn't get the help they needed. And I know people who were raised by caring, attentive parents, were never exposed to any kind of trauma, and those people as adults committed serious crimes and ended up in jail. But because none of these people experienced "combat", they are often viewed differently than combat vets.
Who are we to judge any of these people? I just try to accept what "is", no matter the reason for it, and help however I can.
Last edited by Terry H; 04-18-2014 at 11:58 AM. Reason: OKAY third!
My uncle, a Vietnam Green Beret combat vet, was a role model to me growing up. He saw a lot of action and has demons he'll never be rid of, but has an incredible attitude, went back to school, became an architect, president of his AIA chapter, chair of zoning board, active in the VFW, a great father and husband, and a true friend to his many buddies, vets and otherwise. So don't go thinking its hopeless for those coming back.
Yes and yes! Just because someone's changed doesn't mean those experiences that changed them rule them. Many of the most down to earth and wisest people I work with are combat vets or have had full and sometimes very dark pasts (foster homes, child of a diplomat to Africa/Middle East). The most destructive ones had never left post and some hadn't ever deployed in decades.
I spent my 10 years in the Military HOPING and PRAYING I'd get sent to Grenada, Panama and Gulf War I. I was just CHOMPING at the bit!
I've since spent the last 22 years THANKING GOD that I WASN'T sent to Grenada, Panama or the Gulf War I.
My Grandfather flew B-24's in WWII (38 Missions) and that was probably what made him an alcoholic and ruined his marriage and he didn't even SEE the people he killed. I can't IMAGINE doing 5 or 8 or even 10 tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever, that's just pure abuse.
50 year old Male
Current Weight: 195
men were going to war for millenia before ptsd became a diagnosis. most find ways to cope. some do not.
my b/f's middle son just finished army basic training. most in the family were dismayed by the choice but he did not enjoy school (even though he did well) and didn't want to go to college just yet, racking up debt, before he had a clearer vision of his future. he is transformed by those weeks and appears an entirely different animal than his older brother who is floating aimlessly through his last semester of "liberal arts" at unc with no idea what he wants to do as a "grown-up". middle son currently studying signals intelligence and loving it.
our neighbor has served in the marines and army and is now army national guard. he has seen combat in iraq and afghanistan. he is attending harvard business school, is happily married with a toddler, has started an incubation consulting firm and is an active volunteer for his church and in the local community. yes, he saw some shit, but it didn't break him.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
– Ernest Hemingway