The Plight of the Vietnam Veteran

This letter to the editor, written in 1986 by my dad’s friend and fellow Bravo Company “Sky Trooper,” sadly still resonates today. Below are excerpts of that letter.

“Vietnam veterans and nation still recovering”

Last week this letter came to me in the mail. And, though it was addressed to me, clearly it was written to you, too – to all of us. So I wanted you to see it:

            “I have been following [this] column on the situation of the Vietnam veteran. It is encouraging to know that there are a few who still consider his plight. Continue reading

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Veterans and Community Service

U.S.

There was absolutely no way Ian Smith was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. He was sure of it.

He was O.K. He was living with his girlfriend in a suburb of Nashville working three jobs — mowing lawns, delivering pizzas, cleaning a local church. He was carrying a 4.0 average at Volunteer State Community College. Yes, he’d seen some terrible stuff during two tours in Iraq. But others had been through much worse. He’d never been wounded. He was alive.

But it was a strange sort of alive. He lived on his couch, with his pistol. He didn’t sleep much. The only way he could get to sleep was by getting drunk, so he got drunk every night and slept with his gun under the pillow. He had gained 60 lb. since leaving the Army in February 2009. He drank more and more. His girlfriend left him. He put the gun…

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Disabled Vet said United Airlines staff kicked his service dog

Jim Stanek, cofounder of Paws and Stripes and a disabled vet with PTSD and TBI, discusses alleged abuse by United Airlines staff against him and his service dog. You can read the full article on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/22/jim-stanek-united-airlines-service-dog-sarge_n_1692951.html

PTSD and genetics

Yalies find genetic link to PTSD

Excerpts:

Yale researchers have discovered a strong link between genes and the likelihood that someone will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pingxing Xie GRD ’13 and Yale School of Medicine professor Joel Gelernter ’79 found that a particular form of a gene found on chromosome 17 made some people more likely to develop PTSD. They published their results in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

“I’m interested in working out what the important genetic effects are for PTSD,” Gelernter said. “Our goal is to figure out what makes some people more vulnerable to PTSD than other people.”

Eight percent of Americans have been diagnosed with PTSD, while 40 to 70 percent of Americans have experienced a traumatic event. Gelernter and Xie found that Continue reading