The Operators Saved My Life
Reader Comments (3)


I agree with everything you've written, but you don't address what happens after. When the adrenaline wears off, when someone is returned home from a mission (perhaps from killing people, from constantly keeping themselves from being killed), back to their family - even if they haven't sustained head or body injuries, many undoubtedly suffer from the long lasting results of PTSD. Re-integrating in to normal society is a hurdle for many.


Quite right. As it happens, I touched on both PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) for military personnel in my new book. (One character has one, another suffers the other.) In the end material of the book is this:

Over 2.3 million Americans have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Studies indicate that at least 20% of them (nearly half a million) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression – half of whom do not seek treatment. Untreated PTSD can result in destroyed marriages, lost jobs, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide. Additionally, more than 260,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), usually caused by close proximity to explosions such as roadside bombs. TBI can result in memory and mood problems, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. To learn more, check out Military Minds. If you’d like to help, you can raise awareness by liking the Military Minds page on Facebook; if you want to make a donation, one great place is the Brendan MacDonald Fyfe Fund and the Campaign to Bring Our Veterans All the Way Home.

Thank you for pointing this up.

Although it's possibly worth noting that spec-ops guys have done, and are doing, some amazing and very cool work in their post-military lives. (As one would expect from super-high-performers.) See e.g. Also there are the operators-turned-authors (Andy MacNab, Dalton Fury, Eric Haney - who is also an operator-turned-actor!), and those doing military consulting for film and television - and particularly video games!

None of that is to minimize the huge challenges very many veterans face in returning to the civilian world. In January, I was lucky enough to get to meet with the unbelievably wonderful folks who run the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater, Florida; tour the beautiful housing complex they had built for troubled returning veterans; and talk with their staff, including their point guy for veterans, about veterans' issues with PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, jobs, and reintegration.

It's great that you, and many others now, are aware of these issues, and that more is being done - though a lot more needs to be - to help returning veterans.


And I very belatedly twig to why you're aware of these issues, and take the trouble to point them up - you're a licensed clinical social worker! Aha. (Did I mention I'm really super-proud of you?)

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