I came across a great blog yesterday, I don't know why it took me so long to find him, it seems as though we read similar blogs. His name is Savage henry. We have alot of similarites in experiences, but our biggest difference comes from the fact that he's more willing to write about military life, and he's an actual writer, I just use this blog to rant and bitch a little bit. After reading all of his blog in the last 2 days I feel compelled to share a little piece of my life that I rarely share.
I don't talk much about my military life, and for good reason. Some things really just need to be repressed. The transition from military life to civilian life was pretty difficult for me, The army didn't help prepare me for life after service, but I can't blame them. I had alot of growing up to do. I didn't know how to make a budget so I screwed up my credit. I didn't know how to control my drinking, and I lost a job. I didn't know how to interact with people, especially without dropping an f-bomb every 2 minutes and being overly demanding. All of these things factored into my difficult transition. What made it really difficult was transitioning from a brotherhood where everyone looked out for one another, because every step could mean life and death, to a free for all civilian world. Deciding to be in the health care field made the transition nearly impossible. How could I transition to caring about the sick when I was programmed to perform a task without thinking about what consequences it might carry.
Several years ago there were three soldiers that returned home from a deployment and all killed their wives at Ft. Bliss, unfortunately I couldn't dig up a story to link to, but I think most of us remember it. I never really knew if it was a premeditated thing, or if it was PTSD.
I happened to be working in the blood bank in the hospital at WBAMC the night this happened. I didn't have much work to do, because they were all dead by the time they made it to the hospital. I was morbidly curious back then and decided I needed to go and see the bodies. I don't know why, the morgue was just around the corner and the guy in charge was a buddy just down the hall in the barracks. In a civilian hospital it's hard to get stories in the lab, in a military hospital, they guy that just perfomed cpr on some poor sap for the last hour just happens to be your roomate or another soldier down the hall. You'll always find out what happens. Anyway, I walked in the morgue and saw 1 clean bullet hole in each head. It kinda freaked me out.
I was deployed after that and dealt with soldiers with limbs missing, and bullet wounds and shrapnel ridden bodies. That never effected me the way those three women did. You can only turn off emotion for so long. Eventually something will get to you. For me, that night was what was a wake up call for me. I've had a hard time adjusting to normal life after that, but I know i'm not the only one with stories like this. In fact most are probably worse. It's not easy to re-wire your brain. but it can happen over time.
I think the Army or the armed services for that matter, need to do a better job preparing soldiers for post war/service life. It's a difficult situation that many 20 something year old kids that enlisted right after high school don't have the tools to deal with. The next time you look at a vet that you work with or interact with, just remember that the things he's had to deal with in his formative adult years, are probably things you'll never even have to imagine in a nightmare. The one's that can make a smooth transition should be given the utmost respect. What would you do with your life post military if your one discernable skill is killing, or teaching others to kill?