|First Lieutenant Chuck Grist|
Shortly before Christmas, 1970 , Northeast of Saigon
Back in 1970, I arrived in Vietnam as a twenty-one-year-old Army Ranger lieutenant. I would serve as an infantry platoon leader in combat where I would experience the deaths of men I knew as well as participate in the killing of the enemy soldiers who wanted to kill us.
Every day was lived on "red alert" where you were ready for something terrible to happen. When there was no action, there was the threatening silence of the jungle around you that was filled with bad guys. Who wouldn't remember most of this, no matter how long ago it happened?
Before you read the article below on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), check out this LINK to an article about the general statistics of Vietnam veterans. You will probably be surprised, and you will also learn that the guy with the work for food sign at the overpass is probably NOT a Vietnam veteran.
I encourage my fellow Vietnam veterans, my fellow post-9/11 veterans, or the veterans of any war to seek help if you need it. You are my brothers and sisters and I care about you.
No veteran of any war can escape the curse of the memories, those ghosts that often come to you in the dark of night. Some can handle the memories just fine, but others cannot.
As a poster in the local Veteran's Administration clinic says, "It takes the strength of a warrior to ask for help."
The following article from Stars and Stripes talks about retiring Vietnam veterans like me and the possibility that PTSD might rise from the shadows even forty years after the war:
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Retirement might unleash PTSD symptoms in Vietnam veterans
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
June 20, 2012
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Charles M. Grist
Author of the award-winning book My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq