Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Phone Call From Greg

    This morning I received a phone call from Greg, a Vietnam vet who worked in a mortuary function. Greg, who is reading Shade It Black, was kind enough to chat with me about his wartime experiences and his transition back to civilian life. The mortuary work then was much like it is now, but different in some respects as well. The same is true for the transition home. The process is the same, but different. Once home, Greg couldn’t travel more than 15-20 miles from home without experiencing serious panic attacks. Only drinking beer, smoking pot, and fishing gave him a respite from the now inordinate pressures of everyday life.  When Greg finally went to the VA for help –some 15 years after returning home, they told him his problems had nothing to do with his Vietnam service. Much later he met another Vietnam vet, a counselor and a Marine, who helped Greg to understand that while he had come home physically 23 years earlier, he had not yet come home emotionally. He immediately saw the truth in that statement and reached for the box of Kleenex that had been given him at the start of the counseling session, when he wondered to himself, “What am I supposed to do with these?” Jess, Greg said, has written his story and he wants to tell her so.  And he soon will.
    Have you or a relative worked in a mortuary affairs platoon during wartime? If so, will you consider contacting me?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do You Work With PTSD Vets?

Hello, I'm John Hearn, Jessica's co-author on Shade It Black. Yesterday, at a family gathering, I talked to a young woman, an LPN at an upstate New York hospital. She is halfway through reading the book. She talked to me about the effect that reading is having on her perceptions of some of the vets she works with at the hospital. "I have a better sense of why many do not want to talk about what they've been through," she said. "And a better sense of why others sometimes just sit and cry." Have you read the book? And do you work with PTSD vets? If so, will you consider sharing your thoughts about how the book may be affecting your perceptions and behaviors at work? Or perhaps you'd prefer to comment on how your work influenced your reading of the book. Any contribution will be appreciated. Thanks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

From Bob Hall

A friend sent me an autographed copy of “Shade it Black,” which I read in a day. As a Marine Vietnam Veteran (of no particular distinction), I have to say that Jess Goodell is a better Marine than I am, because she bravely performed a duty I don’t believe I could have done, working in Mortuary Affairs and dealing every day with the horrific dead of modern combat. That duty wounded her as deeply as any veteran who lost a limb, but it was a wound unseen and largely unacknowledged. I would not recommend this book to someone of fragile sensibilities.

PTSD is very real and very painful. Unfortunately, because it is not a visible wound, it is also possible to fake it, as detailed in the great book about phony Vietnam vets, “Stolen Valor,” which I highly recommend. And agencies or providers in the money flow have no incentive to expose the fakes, which means they suck up resources needed by veterans like Goodell. Cash flow is probably why the CDC and the VA have such a different estimate of real PTSD among Vietnam veterans, and why so many groups raising money put out inflated phony claims of the suicide rate among Vietnam vets.

Having in the past sent several hundred dollars to a woman Marine I knew to escape from an abusive marriage (she paid back every penny), I was disappointed to read that Goodell’s comrades offered her so little support after she left the Corps.

This book may also make you rethink the politically-correct idea that women can be injected into the macho male environment of combat without adverse conditions.

Thank you, Jess, for your service to our Corps, to your fellow Marines and to our Republic.

Semper Fidelis,

Robert A. Hall
Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic