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My name is Bill and I served in the Marine Corps.
I served in Vietnam.
I was in the Marine Corps for 3 years, 9
months, and 20 days.
I was in Vietnam from '67 to '68.
Certainly killing human beings changes you.
I remember the first time I killed two NVA.
And that was on the strip.
And I was elated, actually.
I didn't smile or laugh or anything, but I was inwardly
elated that I finally killed the enemy.
Little did I know that now I would be feeling actually
remorse or sadness.
I asked for a college cut to get out of the Marine Corps,
and I received it, and I attended
Ohio State very briefly.
And I couldn't find my mind wrapping around academia.
I couldn't concentrate, couldn't study, and I really
couldn't focus on the whole thing.
And I couldn't understand what was wrong with me because I
always felt nervous.
I felt like I was tapping my feet all the time.
I couldn't sit down.
My head had a swivel on it.
I was always watching everybody.
And whenever somebody came into a room or
something, my head was--
I was watching them before they saw me.
And I couldn't understand why I was like that.
Anger was something that I would come from
0 to 60, and fighting.
And if I thought somebody was irrational, I became
A lot of fighting.
I didn't have time for fools, I always said to myself.
And I thought nobody understood me.
I thought I was alone.
And really, actually, for the most part, I was alone.
After my bypass I talked to a psychiatrist. And he talked to
me for about five minutes, and he said Bill, you have PTS.
I said, well, how in the hell would you know?
I said you've talked to me five minutes and you can
And he says, well, I've done this before.
So I looked at him.
And he stared at me right in the eye and he didn't flinch.
And I said, well, maybe there's something to this.
So he assigned me a psychiatrist, assigned me a
therapist, and I started taking therapy sessions and
going to groups and talking about this.
And I found that well, I have all these symptoms.
By virtue of the PTS--
what is called Post-traumatic Stress-- it happens years
after you come back from Vietnam.
And if you stay busy, you may not think about it
for 20 to 30 years.
But it's going to come back and bite you right in
the you know what.
I think these young warriors, the OIF and OEF warriors, have
a really difficult problem now.
They've got so many deployments.
But when they come back, they don't have that respite from
the war, because they have to stay in training.
They have to stay in the mode of going back
and fight that war.
They know they're going back.
So they stay in that mode, which severely imprints them
as far as combat stress and PTS.
And they're not getting the help from the mental health
They're not getting the help.
And hopefully, this message here is going to get out and
make a difference.
And I can tell you the VA has stepped up to
care for the veterans.
And I just hope that the education and the word gets
out to these combat veterans.
Because I had a general one time, General
Kelly, who told me--
he was the chief of the special operation forces--
he said Bill, if anybody tells you that they're never changed
by war, they're lying.
If you are human being, then war is going to change you.
It's going to impact you, and it will change you.
Get some help.
I don't care if it's at the VA.
Hopefully it's at the VA, because they have some great
programs. Don't listen to your buddy saying the
VA's screwed up.
They're not that screwed up.
You're the one who's screwed up, and you need
to go get some help.
And if you can't get it yourself, find some veteran as
a mentor, so as an advocate for you.
For example, American Combat Veterans of War,
that's what we do.
We guide you through what we call the VA maze.
Now it's not a maze because they want it that way.
It's a maze because combat veterans make terrible
advocates for themselves.
So guide your way in there if you want to.
If you're a current warrior, you go to the Vet Center.
The Vet Center is anonymous in their reports to the VA and to
So don't deny that you've got some problems. You're feeling
that way for some reason.
You need to ask for help.