Archive for April, 2011

29
Apr

This was on a NPR program, Tell Me More. The host is Michel Martin; Susan Selke is the mother of the late Marine Clay Hunt. Jake Wood is a veteran Marine and friend of Hunt. Alison Buckholtz is a military wife whose 2010 op-ed in The Los Angeles Times helped inspire the new public service announcement campaign. She’s also the author of the memoir “Standing By: The Making of a Military Family in a Time of War.”Here are some quotes from the discussion:

MARTIN: Jake, I wanted to ask you. You fought side by side with Clay Hunt and you worked with him at Team Rubicon. His concern that his efforts to get help might mar his military record, is that something that you hear other people talking about? Is that still a concern?

Mr. WOOD: It’s absolutely a concern for a lot of reasons. Guys like Clay don’t want to be taken out of – they don’t want to be taken out of their platoon. They don’t want to be removed from the infantry for having sought help and for being diagnosed with PTSD. For people coming out of the service it’s also a problem because many of these guys want to go and continue their careers of service both, you know, in police or, you know, fire and rescue.

And men and women are concerned that with something like PTSD on their records that that’s going to hurt their chances of getting employed when they leave the service.

MARTIN: Jake, I wanted to ask you in the couple of minutes that we have left, you know, you heard Alison say that the country as a whole is not taking (the suicide of troops and veterans as seriously as it should. Do you share that point of view? And what do you think would make a difference in saving the lives of people like your friend Clay Hunt?

Mr. WOOD: Well, I think it’s very convenient for the country to not know and I guess not care about what’s happening with our veterans and our active duty service members and the suicide epidemic that is growing. And when I say that I mean that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a front page issue for a number of years.

And they’ve since gotten off the front page and they are now buried in the middle of the newspaper. But I don’t think there’s anything more important than, you know, the fact that our nation is at war and we have been for almost 10 years. You know, this issue needs to be front and center at the highest levels of our government and there needs to be a very open and candid conversation at the highest levels of elected officials as to what this problem is, what caused it, and the best way to move forward on how to fix it.

And I don’t think that conversation is happening, and if it is, it’s not getting the attention it deserves.

www.npr.org/2011/04/28/135803874/marines-suicide-renews-focus-on-military-families

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