War Isn’t the Biggest Battle a Soldier Has, It is PTSD

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Military news…

Why the US can’t afford to abandon Ukraine

No army, not even one as tenacious and courageous as Ukraine’s, can overcome such a numerical overmatch. And if Ukraine loses, what then?

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Watch these soldiers regret absolutely everything during gas chamber training

The Army: putting the ‘suck’ in embrace the suck since 1775.

(Remember it well)

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The real-life Maverick who took on 7 Soviet jets in a classified Korean War dogfight

The existence of the improbable dogfight remained under wraps for decades, yet the details of what happened are the stuff of legends.

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Moving Again. And Again. My Experience as a Military Spouse.

Recruiters and their families are embedded in every single sleepy little civilian town, and that is where we found ourselves next, miles from any base reminiscent of our military community. It felt so refreshing.

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Army Drops Requirement for High School Diploma Amid Recruiting Crisis

The Army is tossing its mandate for potential recruits to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to enlist in the service, in one of the most dramatic moves yet in the escalating recruiting crisis hitting the entire Defense Department.

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Battle Over A-10: Lawmakers Seek to Break Perennial Deadlock on Retiring Aging Warplanes

The carveout would still need to be endorsed by the Senate and included in a compromise defense bill for President Joe Biden to sign.

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The Army’s top enlisted leader went to Reddit for soldiers’ ideas on fixing the service’s biggest problems

The Sergeant Major of the Army turned to Reddit to ask soldiers for their help fixing issues with Army culture. One suggestion: “Cut back on the bullshit.”

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I thought I might share another excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. This is the actual foreword done by Colonel Mikel Burroughs retired.

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Foreword

By Colonel Mikel J. Burroughs, Retired

I’m very honored that the Author of this book, Douglas Bolton, even approached me to write a Foreword about his amazing work with veterans; the countless interviews hehad with some of our finest veterans, and his unique writing ability. 

In order for me to me foreward on this mission there must be a good understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or (PTSD).  I’m not the expert, so I want to share with you some of the signs and symptoms of PTSD as presented by Catherine Roberts in her article the “The Signs and Symptoms of PSTD” published on ActiveBeat, March 18, 2014.  ActiveBeat provides Trending Health News and other articles about health.

Accordingly, PTSD is a mental condition resulting from a series of emotional and/or physical reactions that service members have witnesses or experienced.  PTSD is not only found in veterans or service members, but it affects many individuals not associated with the military all over the world.  This can include car accidents, physical or sexual assault, long term abuse, torture, a horrific national disaster, death of a love one, and yes the sustained operations of being in a war zone.

To better understand PTSD I’ll list some of the most common signs and symptoms that are the foundation of the author’s logical presentation for the reader most commonly associated with veterans.

Physical Pain.  PTSD often begins with a series of physical ailments, such as migraine headaches, fatigue, chest pains, difficulty with breathing, dizziness, and stomach issues to name a few.

Nightmares & Flashbacks.  It is very common for individuals suffering from PTSD to suffer flashbacks from war events and to have nightmares as they re-experience the affects of war.  These are repetitive in nature, which lead to sleep deprivation.

Depression or Anxiety.  These symptoms described above can lead to irrational and persistent fear or avoidance of certain objects or public situations, thus leaving the individual paranoid and in a state of depression.

Withdrawal.  Many of our returning veterans or those that have been assaulted that once had social interests, were outgoing, and involved in many activities suddenly lose all interest in their favorite hobbies and their friends, to include family members once they return from combat or after facing a very situation while serving on active duty.  This can also lead to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or seeking to perform dangerous events or activities.

Avoidance.  There is an avoidance of physical or mental activities that remind them of the past traumatic events, like being around those of the opposite sex or same sex if a violent sexual assault has occurred causing their PTSD, driving on very busy roads that remind them of convoy operations, attending fire works displays, or being crowed downtown areas that remind them of traumatic encounters during urban warfare.

Repression.  Destroying memorabilia of their war time or military experience to intentionally block out the memories or immersing themselves into a project or work to distract the bad memories are signs of repression.

Emotional Numbing.  There is an attempt to numb their feelings.  This will lead to total avoidance and withdrawal from society.  Total isolation from all social circles and activities.

Hyper-arousal.  Many veterans or assault victims suffering with PTSD from Mental Sexual Trauma (MST) can suffer from jitters that won’t allow them to relax due to the fear of potential threats.  Always on edge and jumpy or easily frightened.

Irritability.  With a constant state of fear caused by PTSD this can lead to indecisiveness, lack of concentration, sleepless nights, agitated constantly making it very difficult to maintain personal relationships with friends or family members.

Guilt and Shame.  Many veterans and service members find it very hard to get past all of the negative experiences and find it hard to move forward with normal and healthy life.  They end up blaming themselves and thus resulting in the increased veteran and service member suicides that we have experienced after 15 years of prolonged deployments and combat operations during Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  This doesn’t preclude that served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and many other operations that service members have been involved in throughout out military history.

There are no definite tests for PTSD.  Most physicians will have to take potential patients through mental and physical health exams.  PTSD Symptoms are usually present for more than 30 days.

This book provides a valuable window on information and looks into the life of real veterans through their experiences from the civilian world into the community of military culture, life, unique training experiences, and the ultimate test through combat (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

The challenges experienced by the veterans in Doug’s Interviews,are both difficult and interesting.  Doug covers their thoughts, feelings, and emotional baggage with enthusiasm, tenacity, and dedication to develop a better understanding of what America’s warriors (both male and female) are experiencing and working through in their day-to-day lives.  In this new age of global conflicts and possible future wars Doug provides state-of-the art knowledge on the frontiers and affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This book is a great look inside the individual aspects of those suffering or dealing with aftermath of war or service in today’s military service.  It is a great step in that direction.

Colonel Mikel Burroughs

Retired

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Checking in on you. How are you doing? Is everything going OK, or are you fighting back memories?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 15,219 Veterans on this site who have your back.

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If you are battling mentally, but you are losing, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number that you can call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you, and they will not hang up until they know you are OK.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up.

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

A Spouse is very Important for The Soldiers in the Military

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

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Military news…

Zelenskyy: West needs more courage in helping Ukraine fight
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the West of cowardice as his country fights to stave off Russia’s invading troops, making an exasperated plea Sunday for fighter jets and tanks to sustain a defense as the war ground into a battle of attrition.

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US-backed group gets lifesaving meds to Ukrainians amid war

“We Ukrainians are quite resilient. I am not the best soldier. But in the area of medicine, humanitarian work, public health, human rights __ that’s my area, and I will do the maximum possible.”

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Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate

The war in Ukraine is proving extraordinarily lethal for Russian generals, the gray men bedecked in service medals, who are being aggressively targeted by Ukrainian forces and killed at a rate not seen since World War II.

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Russian troops’ tendency to talk on unsecured lines is proving costly

Russian troops in Ukraine have relied, with surprising frequency, on unsecured communication devices such as smartphones and push-to-talk radios, leaving units vulnerable to targeting, and further underscoring the command-and-control deficiencies that have come to define Moscow’s month-long invasion, observers say.

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More US troops likely to deploy to Europe amid Russia-Ukraine war, general tells senators
The United States will likely send more troops to Europe as Russia continues to wage a brutal war against Ukraine that threatens the stability and peace of the Continent, the commander of U.S forces in Europe told senators on Tuesday.

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Another 400 US troops, aircraft to deploy to Eastern Europe

About 200 service members from Marine Air Control Group 28, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., have arrived in Lithuania. Another 200 troops, 10 Marine Corps F-18 Hornets and “a couple of Marine Corps C-130” Hercules aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., will also soon deploy.

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Civilian group with US military links raising money to supply Ukrainian fighters

A nonprofit group with close ties to the U.S. military is seeking to raise $100 million to get life-saving equipment and supplies to the front lines in Ukraine, where body armor, helmets and food rations are in high demand.

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Here is another excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. Spouses are vital in the military.

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Military Spouses Have a Huge Task

“Military counts on spouses more than any other job.”

Chief of Staff of the Army, General Ray Odierno (Retired)

One of the toughest situations in the military has to be for a spouse who is left behind during a time of deployment.

I was single when I was deployed to Korea. I was married for only a couple of months before I got out of the military, so I don’t have firsthand experience about this. But I have read many different spouses’ thoughts regarding how it was for them to be at home alone to take on all the tasks by themselves. This chapter will discuss their thoughts and hopefully give you some insight into the world of being a spouse at home during a deployment.

I guess the most important place to start is noting that there are both male and female spouses who are left behind to “hold down the fort,” while their loved one is gone. There are many wives/mothers who are deployed as well as husbands/fathers.

I have found that it may be a little harder for the man who is left behind for a couple of reasons. The most glaring one is the friend circle, or the lack of it. Men often don’t have a very big circle of other male spouses of deployed wives to share their struggles and frustrations with.

They also have to face the few (who, in my opinion, are uneducated) who look down on a man who stays behind and isn’t on the front lines himself. They are ignorant of the fact that in the real world many mothers go off to work and the dad is “Mr. Mom.”

There is no shame in this anymore than in a wife staying home and caring for the children and household.

In general what follows is what either male or female parents go through to survive in the home environment.

It seems they are always at their limit. They need to get kids off to school. Need to clean the house. Take time to do the bills. They are off to the grocery store. Pick up the kids at school. Take them to soccer practice. Pick them up afterwards. Prepare all the meals. Take out the trash. Do the laundry, and put the kids to bed.

I could list many other things the at-home spouse must do, but what I have written so far leads to a very stressful day. As a matter of fact it can be downright overwhelming.

As if all of these concerns weren’t enough, they also worry about their spouse who may be in harm’s way. They worry about enough money coming in to support the family. They may have to get jobs to help out, which leads to daycare issues or older children being home alone at times.

Speaking of the children, they seem strong. They seem to be coping better than the spouses in most cases. However, there are the times they realize their other parent isn’t around and they miss them. They begin to cry and need hugs and love.

It is extremely important that there is a circle of friends for support, male or female. Those friends shouldn’t just say, “How’s your day?” and not really mean it. They need to actually want to know how your day is. They need to sit and listen when you need them.

The distance (both emotional and geographic) between them and their spouse can be very hard. There are missed moments. There are lonely nights. There are times they are angry because they have to make so many of the decisions.

Then when the spouse returns after a long deployment, the dynamics and rhythms of home life have often changed as the at-home spouse carries the load. That can make the re-introduction of the military person into the home a bit awkward.

How about when the spouse is home? Sounds like a perfect situation, except everything depends on what the military wants. It’s hard trying to plan leaves and vacations and special occasions. They often have to be postponed at a moment’s notice.

The on-duty military spouse also may have long hours, even up to 12- to 14-hour days. The family may feel as if the parent is still deployed even though he or she is home.

One of the hardest parts for a military family is the constant moving from one location to another. Every two to three years, they have to pack up everything and move. Each family member loses a circle of friends at the old duty post and then has to make new ones at the next location. This occurs many times during an active military person’s time of service.

There is also the problem of the spouse finding a job at the new duty post. With each move, the spouse has to start at the bottom at their place of employment—if they can find a job and/or are actually over-qualified for an entry-level position. Often employers don’t want to hire someone who will probably be leaving in a couple of years. Sometimes the spouse has to settle for a less-than-ideal job in order to contribute to the family’s finances. 

And when the military says it’s time to go to a new duty post, the non-military spouse is often the one to shoulder the details of the move. I can speak from personal knowledge on this since my daughter-in-law is married to my son who was an Army officer. They moved more than 15 times during his time in the military. They often had to pack up their belongings in a U-Haul and travel sometimes thousands of miles and unload at the other end. My daughter-in-law often had to find the new home before they moved and make all the arrangements. She spent endless hours cleaning, packing, and planning the trip.

One of the toughest times for the military family is the holidays. It’s hard if the family is unable to see the extended family at this time of year. And it’s doubly hard on the family if a parent is deployed. At Christmas, the kids really feel sad because Mom or Dad isn’t there to open presents with them. This is when the at-home spouse really has to be brave and do whatever they can to smooth this time over.

Trying to find happiness in a military family during deployment is tough at best, but I received a note from a woman who told me, “Other people are not responsible for your happiness.” That tough-love statement is very true. We can’t expect other people to make us happy. We need to find our own happiness, and hope that our spouses will also help us in finding that happiness.

In concluding this chapter, I want you to know that many spouses don’t cry because they are weak. They cry because they miss their spouse. Part of that is because they wake up every day wondering if their spouse is still alive.

So to all of you, who are friends and family of those in the military, be sure to tell the military person thank you, but also tell the spouse thank you. They are heroes too.

As in every walk of life, God is the constant force to turn to during stressful times. He is close and hears your cries for help. He will give you comfort, and help you through the daily trials you face.

IWILL

This chapter was one of the hardest for me to write. My heart goes out to those who are left behind. I mentioned my daughter-in-law earlier, and I must say she was an angel in disguise for my son during his military career. She never faltered. She was always by his side. She supported him 100 percent 24/7. I can speak for my son in saying that it would have been a tough road to travel if he hadn’t had her by his side, encouraging him and loving him.

Think about this

Isn’t it interesting how some people go unnoticed who are really the wind beneath your wings?

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There may be more excerpts in the future some keep coming back. Better yet…god to the top of this page and click on Subscribe. When you do all future posts will come directly to you inbox.

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Checking in on you. How are you doing? Do you get support from your spouse?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 14,210 veterans on this site who have your back.

Here is what I am asking you to do…please share this site with as many other veterans as you can. It has helped so many.

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If you are battling mentally, but you are losing, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number that you can call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you, and they will not hang up until they know you are OK.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255.

_____________________________________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

In the Military, Fear Strikes Hard When We Don’t Know What is Happening Next

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

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Military news…

VA Pensions for Surviving Spouses

Did you know VA provides tax-free, supplemental income for qualified, surviving spouses?

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Free Resources Help Veterans, Military Spouses Find Jobs

AARP’s new job center includes a suite of resources to help Veterans and military spouses find jobs, explore new career fields, get advice, take a job training course and more.

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Chats with the Chief: Making the World More Accessible for Disabled Veterans

From wheelchairs that don’t need batteries to robotic arms that help Veterans with everyday tasks, Dr. Rory Cooper and his team find ways to make the world more accessible for disabled Vets. 

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Short news day again today. (The calm before the storm?)

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Before I share another excerpt from my upcoming book, I want to thank all of you for subscribing. It has been off the charts the last week. For the first four days of February there has been a 90 person increase in subscriptions. I think that must mean you are getting excited about the book coming out soon.

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Here is another excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of hope for the Military: In and Out of the trenches of Life.

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Sitting on a Military Plane Ready to Fly to the Bay of Pigs

I know of some of the fears you face or have faced as a soldier. I have had my share of scary times while in uniform for my country.

I had put in three years of active duty, and was very near to my discharge date while at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. As a matter of fact the discharge date was just days away.

It seemed like a normal day of “putting in your time,” but then there came a sound that I never want to hear again. It was the intercom in our section of the company I was stationed with saying, “This is an alert.” This is not a drill, all personnel report to headquarters for a briefing right away.”

I couldn’t think of why there would be any problems that serious happening, and still thought it was a drill as I ran towards the headquarters building.

When we all assembled, the commander went to the podium and spoke.

“I am here to inform you that all leaves and weekend passes are concealed. We have received a message from the commanding General of the Army to stand by for a possible mission to the Bay of Pigs. This is a very serious mission, which will put you in combat and in harm’s way. Our unit is being deployed, to help monitor the security of the communications while there. We will serve in the field headquarters of the mission. You have about two hours to go home to pack your full field clothes and equipment. Dismissed!”

That was it. No more explanations or chances to ask questions.

I drove home quickly, packed all my gear in a duffel bag.

I got back to the headquarters, and it looked like pandemonium and chaos had sat in, with soldiers running everywhere.  

A few minutes later everyone had made it there and we were all in formation. The commander then told us to come to attention.

We all headed to buses that were waiting to take us to the military airport on base. When we got there, we unloaded and marched to the area of several planes. They had us board the planes with full gear and field uniforms on. The pilot came on to tell us that we will be in a combat area when we land at the Bay of Pigs.

I sat down in my area, and was holding my weapon (M-1 rifle) between my legs. I was numb with fear and anxiety. I had never thought I would actually be in a conflict where I could die.

The plane started its engines. The plane shook as the engines roared to get up to the speed they needed to get off the ground. It taxied to the runway and stopped.

Then we waited for the pilot to push the throttle. We sat there for what seemed like hours. I could see the fear, in the eyes in the soldiers around me. I was only about twenty years old then, and began to see my life unfold before me. I had thoughts of not coming back. I had thoughts of my loved ones I would never see again.

The plane was shaking from the vibrations of the motors. I said a prayer because it looked like we were going to take off. The plane was moving. However, it was not going done the runway. It was heading back to the area where we boarded.

The pilot came on the intercom and said that the mission had been aborted, and we were going back to our companies.

I felt such relief along with men and women around me who were yelling for joy. We were safe and heading back to our homes.

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I only shared this story because I know some of you have gone through the same thing. You also have been sent into combat, and faced the fear of not coming back. I was very lucky, but many of you actually left the ground in your plane, and headed into harm’s way.

Fear is something that is hard to control. Even the most-brave face it. We all have been there in some capacity.

It could be the doctor’s appointment that has information on your health. It also could be the times when you have to leave your loved ones for any mission. It may be the crises of your marriage when your spouse is tired of going through the pain of wondering if you will come back alive.

Did you know that Jesus faced fear? He even asked God to take away the fear by relieving Him of the cup of the responsibility God had placed on Him. He sweated blood during that prayer. God heard the prayer, but let Jesus go through the fear, pain and agony of going to the cross and dying for you and me. 

I am not making it sound like we shouldn’t be afraid. I know we are quite often. I am not saying you are a bad person if you are afraid of something. We all have our spots where we fear the unknown.

I think that is the key. It is the “unknown.” It’s not knowing what will happen next.

What I have learned from so many times of facing fear is that 99% of what we fear never happens. We just need to give the other 01% over to God.

Is it that simple? I can honestly tell you that it is. God has big shoulders. He wants to take the burdens of our day away from us. We just need to depend on Him to keep His promises and know that He will never put us in a situation that we can’t handle with His help.

IWILL

Facing the unknown in life can be very hard. We aren’t built to take on such scary things at times. We just need to rely on God to see us through the dark clouds we face. He knows which way we need to go to avoid harm.

Think on this

Isn’t it interesting that having fear is what we really need to fear?   

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Hope you have been enjoying all these excerpts. There will be a few more, but not many. Keep coming back to see the last of the excerpts. Better yet…go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future post will come directly to your inbox.

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Checking in on you…How are you doing? Are you struggling with fear?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 13,785 fellow veterans here who have your back.

If you are battling mentally, because of your love for others, but it isn’t working, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number that you can call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you, and they will no hang up until they know you are OK.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255.

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.