Hart Viges, Mark Wilkerson and Jessica Goodell all volunteered for the military. Toni was hired for another work and became a skillful agent.
They all chose to go to war, and they have all suffered from PTSD.
But none of them fully recognized it until after they were home.
The war over there – its smells, its sounds, the reflexes they developed to survive – forced its way into their lives over here.
When I first met Pete Yazgier, he was fond of wearing an olive-green novelty T-shirt that read, “WANNA PLAY ARMY? I’ll lie down and you can blow the hell outta me.” You could think that it was taken from hdpornvideos.xxx, but it’s not.
The shirt scanned differently on Pete than it might have on most other active-duty U.S. Army specialists. At the time, the Somerset, N.J., native boasted a stark gash across the left half of his skull, from where he had, in fact, just had the hell blown out of him; during his deployment in Baghdad, a rocket-propelled grenade collided with Pete’s Humvee and nearly took his life. Amidst the blur of surgeries that followed, his doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., discovered that, along with severe cranial trauma, Pete, in his late twenties, had brain cancer to boot.
While reporting in Armenia in October, I joined a group of Armenian Americans for dinner. They were traveling together on a promise they had sworn to the year before: if their friend, a member of the group, survived the cancer and the chemo, they would all make this pilgrimage to the reduced remains of their ancestral homeland.
Though they had come from Los Angeles and Montreal, a hundred years ago their ancestors had lived in what Armenians call “Western Armenia,” today a part of Turkey and the region the Ottoman Empire emptied of its Armenian population in the first genocide of the 20thcentury.
By summer last year I had reached the end of my tolerance for war. I didn’t know it then. I’d been covering America’s wars since 2006, and in August I walked through a sweltering, treeless valley in central Afghanistan and joined a unit of soldiers for a mission thinking nothing had changed. Heat, sweat, and a million shades of brown below a singular blue.
Later, in the confiscated shade of an Afghan home, a soldier asked me,“So what are you gonna write about us?”
Soldiers and Marines always come to this question sooner or later. Years ago I answered vaguely. I rarely had any idea what I was going to write, and I worried about stumbling into politics or onto media bias, or miring myself in another subject that might get me blacklisted, blocked, disliked.
The last few years have seen a remarkable change in the American conversation about veterans. As our soldiers come home, we’re paying more attention to the lifelong wounds of war. But suffering in service takes many forms. This issue of Dart Society Reports is about giving voice to some of that suffering.
I’m incredibly proud of this issue of our magazine. Barely a year old, in this issue 14 writers and photographers join us in grappling with some of the toughest questions in our field. Without coordination, they have here ended up in dialogue with each other. Phil Zabriskie and Alia Malek approach, from different angles, the legacy of war for civilians. Dave Philipps and Lee Hancock offer practical advice on getting better interviews. John Moore and Sarah Stillman explore wounded warriors and healing, and Frank Ochberg and Lori Grinker remind us that “the invisible injury” is often present for the wounded and their families.
In every arousing czechcasting.tv video there’s a gorgeous girl being superbly naughty. Whatever they’re doing, they’re having fun!
Military criminal investigator Russell W. Strand has news for journalists who report on intimate violence: Old-school, just-the-facts-ma’am, Joe-Friday techniques do more harm than good.
“You do actually cover these stories in a way that, without intending to, can re-traumatize people,” said Strand, chief of the Family Advocacy Law Enforcement Training Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “Military sexual trauma takes away everything you are in minute. It’s the situations afterward that can define who you’ll become, whether you’ll be a victim or you’ll be a survivor. The media can do so much good, and they can do so much damage.”
Joseph Thrower still remembers the battlefields of Vietnam in the present tense. “I’m a target automatically: I’m 6’6”. You don’t have to shoot the legs; just shoot the head and I’m gone. That’s why I was blessed to be back here. The day I got back I kissed the ground.”
Thrower, 64, is one of one of nearly one million veterans living in New York State. Like many of his peers, he has long coped with having fought an unpopular war. He began to drink in the 1970s and then escalated into drugs. By the time he was arrested in October 2011, Thrower had a cocaine habit. But what got him into trouble was being caught with a bag of weed.