War, mental health, and veterans’ obligations
As the New Year’s meter resets to 2023, we remember that it’s been nearly 20 years since our first trip to the Iraq War with the first California State Guard unit, the National Guard’s 1498th Transportation Company. we were all resurrected. I’m not full of nostalgia.
The war, announced at a ceremony in the Camp Roberts amphitheater, was called Operation Iraqi Freedom. We also hear that the 90-ton tractor and his trailer unit play an important role. The outdoor briefing took place in 2003, a few days after his 50th birthday, in his mid-March.
The “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign in Baghdad had begun a day or two earlier. By the end of April, the truck and truck driver were on their way to Iraq. On May 1, the USS Abraham hoisted a banner reading “Mission Accomplished” on her Lincoln aircraft carrier, setting the backdrop for President George W. Bush declaring that all major combat objectives had been achieved. The war is over, he said, and we won.
None of this turned out to be strictly true.
The war will continue for another ten years. There are still troops there. Freedom in Iraq was a vague concept. And we have invited all the terrorists in the Middle East to fight us seemingly forever. The only real part is that the guard truck driver played a key role. They hauled containers full of tanks, skip loaders and God knows where God knows all across Iraq. They said he drove over 2 million miles without an accident, but the detonation of an improvised explosive device by Iraqi militants cost him a dozen purples in his heart and two bronzes in his star. , thank God.
War ensued. Many of the 1498th Iraqi veterans were redeployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some soldiers were accustomed to deploying revolving doors. They were normalized to a state of war. The mission was never actually accomplished. And many suffered. If it’s not a visible wound, an internal wound usually manifests itself in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Not everyone comes back from war with PTSD, but it can accumulate. With more deployments, flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and irritability become more likely, often mixed with drugs and alcohol.
Last week, on a private online unit forum, one of our 2003 veterans asked if any of our combat mates were nervous while driving under a highway overpass. Iraqi land bridges often hid explosive ambushes. About 20 people said yes, highway overpasses shake when driving. 20 years later. That’s the PTSD marker.
That’s why I was taken aback when I read an article in the Military Times that the Department of Veterans Affairs is offering new “free” mental health services to vets experiencing mental health emergencies. how is? Or more behind? We sent millions of troops into the wars that preceded the post-9/11 conflict.
Color me skeptical. The VA says it will pay its own “world-class” practitioners to conduct this new “free for all” service, which was launched Tuesday. Alternatively, the VA says it will pay for services to veterans provided by private practitioners of “Care in Community.”
At our Antelope Valley, we know two experienced therapists who are on our “Care in Community” list who have been treating veterans for years. They have to fight to get paid, and payments are months or more late. Despite being highly rated by clients, he faces constant threats of de-enrollment from his practice.
Veterans’ suicides have dropped to 17 a day, down from 22 previously, according to veterans. This is not a huge endorsement, partly because there was a suicide in a VA parking lot. improve? Better to improve. Think how many people could have been saved before the “new plan” was announced.
Editor’s Note: Dennis Anderson is a licensed clinical social worker with the High Desert Medical Group. A veteran of the Army Airborne Forces, he was deployed to Iraq with local National Guard units to cover the Iraq War. Antelope Valley Press. He serves on the Los Angeles County Veterans Advisory Board.
Anyone experiencing a suicide crisis should call the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.