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more about ptsd

Last time I shared with you some things that could cause PTSD:
1. A serious threat to your life,
2. Seeing another person, or persons, who has recently, or is been, seriously injured or killed,
3. Harmful or fatal accidents,
4. Natural disasters
5. Terrorism
6. Assaults, domestic violence, or battery,
7. Rape
8. War, combat and life and death decisions

And now I am going to compare nearly every one of them to my time in Vietnam…
1. A serious threat to your life…It has been said that the life expectancy of a door gunner in a firefight is appx. 19 seconds…once a firefight breaks out none of the bad guys on the ground are shooting at our troops on the ground…everyone is shooting at the man in the door…19 seconds  would be considered a serious threat to my life.
2. Seeing another person, or persons, who has recently been, or is being, seriously injured or killed.
While serving with the 119th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam we made many emergency  medivac’s…most seriously injured,  some in bags.  The sights and sounds of Vietnam have been with me my entire adult life.
3. Harmful or fatal accidents.
I have successfully picked up crew members whose ship had been shot down…I have been rescued myself when our ship was shot down at a place called Dak Seand,   so I have both seen and been part of harmful or fatal accidents.
I also want to share with you one more fact…if a single incident like the ones explained today can cause PTSD just remember this….Statistic’s will bear out that I was in combat over 200 days while I severed in Vietnam…A serious threat to my life???  Seeing someone injured or killed???  Harmful or fatal accidents???  you betcha…now multiple it times 200 and tell me how deep that knife would cut into your soul.
4.Natural disasters…
Well you got me on this one…Some parts of Vietnam were the most beautiful country I have ever seen….some parts …not so much.
5.Terrorism.
I hope everyone that is reading this know a little bit about history and knows how our POW’s were treated.  This fact alone plus the hit and run tactic’s our enemies used would surly be classified as terrorism.
6. Assaults, domestic violence and battery.
War is hell…there are no winners, just survivors…with everything I have shared with you today I can’t help but think the assaults, domestic violence and battery would easily be understood.
7. Rape.
I apologize to anyone that has suffered an assault of any kind.  Battery, domestic violence or God forbid a rape…because I have not.  It has been suggested to me not to use rape as an example of an incident that could cause PTSD…it’s too brutal they say…you can’t understand they say, the fear and helplessness there is in this type of attack, and your right…I can’t…just like someone that has never experienced war can truly and fully understand what a veteran goes through after a life altering experience like killing, or seeing innocent people dying…over and over again.  There is nothing good about either of these…they both leave a scar that can easily be ripped open at anytime.  They are brutally horrific with forever consequences but can leave the person with the same symptom’s regardless of the type of experience.
8. War, combat, life and death decisions.
Decisions in war are made in a blink of an eye…go here…go there…sometimes the decisions are good, sometimes not.  There are consequences with every decision.   My friend Jerry Clapp had to make a life and death decision that in my opinion eventually took his own life.  May I explain…Jerry and his gunner Warren Lively were on a combat assault mission along with my ship and several others from the 119th AHC.  Jerry’s ship was called on to do a emergency medivac which called for Jerry’s ship to go down into a hell hole in order to complete the mission.  A hell hole is when the grunts on the ground cut down enough tree’s for the helicopter to slowly maneuver down low enough to complete the rescue.  Once in the hell hole you are vulnerable to receiving fire from above your ship along the mountain ranges…and that is exactly what happen to Jerry.  While in the hole they began receiving small arms fire and Lively was shot in the left shoulder area and the round exited below his rib cage on the right.  Jerry applied compresses to both the entrance wound and the exit wound…all while receiving small arms fire.  Once the ship got high enough for Jerry to return firer he heard…” Receiving fire from 9 O’clock….Jerry receiving fire from 9 O’Clock”  At that very instance Jerry had to make a life and death decision…Should he stay with Lively and put the ship and the rest of the crew in danger?  or should he leave Lively and protect the ship.  Jerry died very early in life, and his death was a mystery.  I was asked to speak at the funeral.  I tried my best to describe a hero…and what they sometimes have to do to survive.  I told them I didn’t know how Jerry died…but I did know when he died…he died that day when he left Lively to protect the ship.