Korean War Combat Veteran: Post-traumatic stress disorder needs to be taken seriously

St. Petersburg Times (Florida)


Post-traumatic stress disorder needs to be taken seriously

Letters to the Editor
Published February 20, 2005

Re: “Over my dead body,” Feb. 13.

Your article about Sgt. Curtis Greene’s suicide as a result of having post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in Iraq was an enormous public service. It is disgraceful how little most people know about this deadly disease.

I am a veteran of the Korean War and have had PTSD for 52 years. I waited 50 years to report my condition to the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)]. PTSD severely diminished the quality of life for me and my family. I should have gone for help sooner, and I hope others won’t make the same mistake.

An important component of military training is to get you angry… very angry. This is true for hand-to-hand combat training and especially true for bayonet training. They know that the angrier they can get you, the better warrior you will be. While in combat, when you see your friends get killed, the anger turns to uncontrollable rage, and that’s the way the military wants you to be.

If we are lucky enough to return home, we discover the military didn’t issue us an “off” switch. We suffer where you can’t see. We are powerless to explain it, and no one seems to care.

If you are a combat veteran who has PTSD, or a family member of one, seek help at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The PTSD radio will always be playing in your head, but they know how to turn the volume down. PTSD is a disease, not a disgrace.

For the rest of you, take those stupid metallic ribbons off the back of your cars. If you want to show your support for our combat veterans of any war, the next time you see one, look him in the eye, give him a firm handshake and just say “Thank you for serving your country.” It’s the best medicine I know for someone who is living with this horrible problem.

— Frank Thoubboron, Belleair

Keep focusing on war’s impact

Re: “Over my dead body.”

I am writing to say that I appreciate Mary Spicuzza’s recent front-page story about the service and loss of Sgt. Curtis Greene. I believe this type of story speaks to the potential impact of war and the service of the American men and women who are making such large sacrifices.

Please keep informing civilians of the gains and losses associated with our nation taking military action against another nation. I believe it is important to hear and see both sides of the current U.S. military action to make educated and informed decisions about what we support.

— William Royall, Tampa

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