Topic: 50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?
Replies: 12   Last Post: Jan 29, 2021, 11:35 PM by: TigerLinks®
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50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?

emoji_events [15]
Jan 27, 2021, 3:21 PM

After escaping 6 months in bed and weeks of physical therapy, I was moved from the central part of the hospital to a location a few miles away. It was a building called "something" Glen (don't remember the first part of the name) which was used way back in time(we were told) as a place where members of Congress met women of ill repute for special activities. After moving there, we had a considerable bus ride and sometimes fell asleep before getting there. A friend was asleep in the front seat when the guy right behind him decided to close a window - if you ever rode a school bus and pushed the window up real fast.... well, you know the sound (something akin to machine gun fire). Anyway....at least my friend had that feeling and made a dive for cover, ending up on the floorboard near the driver's feet. Sorta entertaining at the moment but sad otherwise.

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Re: 50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?

emoji_events [5]
Jan 27, 2021, 3:45 PM

I noticed my friends who served in Viet Nam came home with mannerisms from there. One I remember specifically was when they smoked a cigarette, they always cupped their hand around it so no one could see the flame. I guess this was a habit taught or adopted so the enemy could not spot you.

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In basic training the Drill Sergeants

emoji_events [5]
Jan 27, 2021, 4:45 PM

did a demonstration at bivouac where they lit a cigarette at night. It was amazing how far you could see that light at night. Never light anything at night if you don't want to be seen.

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Re: 50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?

emoji_events [10]
Jan 27, 2021, 3:46 PM

Thank goodness you got out of that area before you became a swamp creature!

Thank goodness I have never suffered from PTSD. I don't know why, but until recent years I have never even thought much about my my service days or year in Viet Nam. A few years back , my son, who is now 37 asked my brother if I was a Marine. Since I was in the reserves until my son was 7 years old he probably didn't remember me putting on a uniform once a month to go to meetings. It's funny though, as a combat engineer who spent a lot of time looking down at the ground where I was walking, looking for IED's (land mines & booby traps), I still look at the ground in front of me when I walk ...... haven't found any booby traps as a civilian, but plenty of pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills! Biggest find was 3 - $50 bills and loose pennies at a carwash!

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Re: 50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?

Jan 27, 2021, 5:00 PM

Father n law was diagnosed with PSTD from his time in Vietnam in the jungle as a Sgt (bathed in agent orange basically). The guy was in his tent when shells hit their position and one of the shells landed in his TENT and didn't go off!!! Lots of ticks and anger for decades and then he was diagnosis with diabetes and it was related to the agent orange. The VA doctor had him evaluated for PSTD and finally got some help/drugs to help him. 70% disability.

Also had a friend that went to Afghanistan early on and they lost several Humvees in a convoy to an IED and ground attack, lost several of his men/friends. He survived, but did change him and we were able to get him to go get help; PTSD. He functioned at work, pretty much pushing himself through, but when he would come home to his wife & kid, it wasn't good.
He was putting physical obstacles and emotional obstacles around him, so that nothing could get to him. His therapist called it, "nesting". He would basically go into a room, play video games for hours, and not interact with his family or his friends outside of a video game. He told us he had everything of importance and of need, surrounding him so he can immediately get to it and didn't have to deal/worry about others except over a microphone. He could control his environment and who entered it was his reasoning for everything. Cost him years of human contact and eventually lead to the loss of his marriage and kid, but he did work his way to some sense of normalcy for him. Lost touch with him as he and I moved way from each other, but to talk with him on a game and him sharing his everyday events was very eye opening about PSTD when I was younger man.

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-- Too many daughters and not enough bullets. --

Re: 50 years ago-Walter Reed - PTSD?

Jan 27, 2021, 7:12 PM

Glad your F-I-L was able to get some help and disability. I lost a lot of my hearing in my right ear from an IED explosion when a jeep about 50' from me hit a land mine, but I never sought medical aid as there were no outwards signs of a wound. My right ear just rang for about 3 days and it eventually quit, so I thought it was OK. I was dumb not to at least go to a medical facility so there would be a record of it. Thank goodness I have never needed any VA help and feel like the VA is for those that really need assistance ..... not those of us who don't ....... although I don't begrudge any veteran for taking advantage of something they have earned!

Even though I don't think I ever suffered from PTSD, you never are aware of how the experience affected you. It affects different people in different ways and none of us know what we would have been like if we had not gone into war. I am just grateful that help is available to those who need it.

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I never thought of having PTSD until

Jan 27, 2021, 7:52 PM

my wife rented a copy of Saving Private Ryan after I asked her to get a different movie. The D-Day beach scene hit me so hard I had to leave the room. I still blame that on the fact that I had an uncle killed there, placing a different level of reality for me to deal with. I have been able to watch Vietnam movies without problems because my own reality counteracts the movie drama.

As far as hearing loss, my worst experience was at a firing range where the foxholes were lined up very close together and I had to run a ramrod down the barrel of one M-16 to clear one shooter who finished firing while the next guy beside him started firing while I was almost even with their muzzle. - that caused the sharpest ear pain you can imagine.

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Re: I never thought of having PTSD until

emoji_events [5]
Jan 28, 2021, 10:54 AM

I'm not adverse to watching some of the Viet Nam themed movies, but some war movies are uncomfortable and I just don't watch. I've watched a lot of Viet Nam documentaries, except the one that was done Ken Burns. I watched the first of the series and just thought there was too slanted in one direction and contradicted a lot of what I saw when I was there.

When I had my compound in Tam Ky we had an Army 155 firing battery directly adjacent to our compound. Quite often they would turn their barrels pointing directly over my compound and let loose with a firing mission. It wasn't so much that it hurt your ears than it literally shook everything off your shelves and walls.

Here is a photo of my luxurious compound!

The second photo is some of my platoon on the day were were leaving the compound in Tam Ky to head north to DaNang. The Vietnamese town leader "Doc" had cooked us a pig so we were having a going away meal.

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Re: I never thought of having PTSD until

Jan 28, 2021, 5:32 PM

Nothing like some brew and q for a bunch of "Salty" gyrenes.

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Re: I never thought of having PTSD until

Jan 29, 2021, 11:33 PM

Yep .... they were salty! Funny, but they didn't quite trust the "barbeque" pork that Doc brought us, but they had no problem with the brew!

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Once again, I have no words for what you guys went through.

Jan 28, 2021, 9:12 PM

I just missed it by a few years. A few cousins and some older brothers of my best friends went to Nam. Some didn't come back, so it was very real to me. Like everybody, I watched the news every night and saw the carnage and the body bags. Your stories and pictures (and clover's) are amazing. Thanks again for your service and bravery. I'll never know how I might have done in that situation.

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"They talk most who have the least to say." -- Matthew Prior 1664-1721

Re: Once again, I have no words for what you guys went through.

Jan 29, 2021, 11:35 PM

You would have done just fine. We were just a bunch of American boys (literally) who would have liked to have been back home, but tried to make the best of a bad situation.

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Lol, the first word that came to mind for the first part of

Jan 28, 2021, 5:35 PM

your post was "Hotel". :)

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