Taking Back America!
Jack E. Kemp
For the last few months, I've been reading and writing about Post Traumatic Stress, K-9 training, service dogs for injured vets, military sexual assault. I've got a pile of books on these subjects on my floor. Some I've read all the way through, some just partially and some just skimmed. Many are very good histories, full of details and lists and stories of other people's issues, things that a standard wants to see to fill out a detailed . But a lot of these are not that immediate and practical for anyone coming back from overseas who might be a reader here or a relative of a reader here.
How many of you who know that the VA first got to accept the diagnosis of PTSD in 1980? That might be of greater interest to a casual reader and a piece of background information for health service professionals and journalists. But as they say in New York, that fact - plus $2.25 - will get you on the subway (or bus). Insert your own dollar amount for public transportation rates in St. Louis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Boston, etc.
Recently I found a plain written thin book called "Wheels Down: Adjusting After Deployment" that was written for service people by an ex-active duty Army psychologist (27 months in Iraq) named Bret Moore and an active duty Navy Service Corps Lt. Commander named Carrie Kennedy. It deals with common issues from a very practical point of view.
For example, it talks of the actual homecoming, in which a veteran will often be groggy after a 12 hour flight and still be required to do some paperwork and returning of equipment shortly after arriving at their base, urging telling families to understand the vet will not truly be at ease for a few days. It urges not let visiting relatives overwhelm the veteran on their return. The writer in me wants to add my own words here that there was a custom in Colonial New England that a returning ship's captain would get reacquainted with their family and only would welcome neighbors and relatives after they put a pineapple on a post out front in their yard. If one didn't see the symbolic sign in the front yard, people knew to stay away and give the family their privacy.
This custom - or one using anything else convenient (including a group email) - still can have value for returning veterans. "Wheels Down" also advises not to drink a lot in the veterans first night(s) back in the States because the body cannot hold liquor as it could before deployment (this is especially true for service people who were in Muslim countries where liquor was not available to most people). There are also sections on not being able to sleep, family changes, financial issues (in general), and women vets returning home.
Although I've only read few sections as of today, I can see this book contains wise words in plain language for veterans and their family members. The coauthor Bret Moore writes a bi-weekly column in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times. The viewpoint of this book is that most veteran readers do not have great problems in adjusting back to life stateside. There is also an Appendix in the back with a list of other resources, if needed.