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PENQUIS

Review

Vol. 1 No. 7

Copyright 2010 Sunbury Exchange, LLC

Special Coverage

LOCAL OBSERVANCES

Veterans Day 2010 The ul mate sacrifice of E. Lewis Page and other regional stories of service

WHAT CIVILIANS CAN DO FOR GWOT VETERANS


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A note Losing service men and women is overwhelming. Survivors suffer physical and emo onal pain. Both groups of veterans did what they were told. Communi es that invest the me and trouble to conduct public ceremonies to honor veterans are rewarded with heart-felt gra tude and full a endance year over year. Local observances in Guilford and Milo are examples of that. Researching a veteran’s experience is another form of tribute. The research of Ed Page of Abbot into the ul mate sacrifice of the uncle he never knew, E. Lewis Page, demonstrates a rare intensity of apprecia on. PENQUIS Review Dicta ng to Maine’s congressional delega on when, P.O. Box 396 where and how the United States should intervene miliDover-Foxcro , ME 04426 tarily is not discussed on these pages. How we absorb the info@sunburyexchange.com (207) 949-2247 new veterans back into society is. One source in these pages, Rev. LTC Peter Bauer MS, PENQUIS Review is a special issue published by Sunbury Exchange, USAR, describes rates of incarcera on of returning serLLC. Copies are available to be vice members as cri cal in Texas and Georgia. viewed, downloaded and printed Penquis Review interviewed Penobscot County Sheriff at www.sunburyexchange.com. Individual photographs and Glenn Ross to inquire whether his inmate popula on is graphics contained within the experiencing this trend. His comments made November document, however, are the property of Sunbury Exchange, 12, 2010, are on page 86. LLC and may include material Depression strikes an es mated 17 percent of personsubject to copyright. Permission nel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Their Dopp kits of the publisher must be obtained before reproducing any of now have old friends: Zolo , Sertraline, Paxil the material from this issue. (Peroxa ne), Wellbutrin, Remeron, Seroquel, Respiridol, Correc ons and sugges ons are Valium or Ambien. welcome. Photographs were taken by Sunbury Exchange, LLC If they were lucky enough to avoid shoulder, closedunless otherwise specified. head, lower back, ankle, abdominal, or extremity injuries PENQUIS (pen’kwis), adj., a (or death), many of them s ll grapple with postblend of the Penobscot and trauma c stress disorder, panic disorder, a en on deficit Piscataquis county names. disorder and a en on deficit hyperac vity disorder. It took nearly two years to finally “come home” a er mul ple deployments for U.S. Army Reserve Major and physician assistant Ronald Oldfield of Dover-Foxcro . He now heightens awareness of the enormous stresses and challenges service members face and how civilian health providers can help. Service personnel in-theatre think, first and foremost, of the buddy on either side of them, not the larger poli cal implica ons of what their country is asking them to do. Honoring their sacrifice is the least society can do as we debate the future course of military ac on. —Emily Adams

On the cover Veterans fill the Piscataquis Community High School gymnasium for the annual, volunteer tribute hosted by the Guilford-area SAD 4. Airman E. Lewis Page of Abbot perished as a result of wounds received during an air a ack by German fighters a er a bombing mission to Munich. GWOT, pronounced Gee-WOT and meaning Global War on Terror, is a term ascribed to the current genera on of personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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Table of Contents Local observances Guilford …………………………………………………….… Milo …………………………………………………....…

4- 9 10-11

Memorial fundraising efforts Abbot Milo

………………………………………………….…… ………………………………………………….……

12-13 14-20

Stories of service Abbot E. Lewis Page ……………………………… Cli on Carr, Jr. ……………………………… Clyde V. “Tommy” Tompkins, Jr. …………. Corinna Willis Bean …………………………………………. Dover-Foxcro Carmelita Simila ………………………………… Ronald Oldfield ………………………….………. Greenville Father Robert Reagan ……………………….. Milo Hanford “Sonny” Burton …………………….. Lorraine Schinck …………………………………

21-24 24 25-27 28 29-32 33-41 42-50 51-52 53-54

What civilians can do for GWOT veterans Gretchen Hegeman …………………………………….. Ronald Oldfield ………………………………...…….… Peter Bauer ……………………………………………......

57 60-73 74-86


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Seven years and coun ng: SAD 4 pays tribute to veterans region-wide GUILFORD—Though Carol Poirier hates to get credit for it, she started a Veterans Day tradi on that is warmly an cipated by veterans throughout the region. The seventh annual tribute on Wednesday, November 10, was no excep on. The event is a mix of videos, student singing, band playing and student oral readings. View it in its en rety on a link from the sad4.com/Radio website. “Veterans: You are not forgo en,” stated Piscataquis Community Secondary School (PCSS) Principal Kevin Harrington in the closing remarks. “There’s a lot of burdens carried by all of us,” he noted, adding that perhaps ssues should be made available next year. “I saw a lot of tears out there.” He commended Poirier’s army of volunNames of military personnel were posted at the entrance to the gymnasium.


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Malcom Marsh of Guilford, who served in the armed forces between the Korean and Vietnam eras, enters the gymnasium, flanked by flag-waving, greeters. All veterans, not just those who were in combat, were invited to a end.

Go to www.said4/Radio and follow the link

teers for doing a very soldierly job. Poirier, who currently teaches sixth grade at Piscataquis Community Elementary School (PCES) was new to SAD 4 in 2004 when she brought the idea for the ceremony from her prior job at the South Berwick-Eliot -area SAD 35). She credits a lot of technical support and help from students and adults, including teachers, custodians, food service sta, and administrators. Organizers make a conscious eort to invite all who served in the armed forces, whether they were in combat or not. And the invita on extends beyond the member towns of SAD 4. Following the event, refreshments were served in the adjacent cafeteria. Technology coordinator Crystal Priest (above) recorded the event, with assistance from science teacher Jay Marden (at far le ), digital media teacher Erick Murray (to his right), John Riitano and others. The recording is available online for troops overseas and DVDs are available for purchase again this year.


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Ini ally an event involving middle schoolers hos ng veterans, it has involved students from grade three to 12 for the past three years. The Key Club helped set up for the event and prepare baked goods. Students enrolled in the Tri-County Technical Center Criminal Jus ce program directed traffic and car parking. Students handed out programs at the door and veterans were greeted by flagwaving elementary students. The program included a flag salute. Craig Stutzman, a member of the faculty, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and accompanied himself on guitar, then later accompanied soloist Danica French for “Traveling Soldier” by The Dixie Chicks. Videos included a four-minute film, I Fought For You, that can be seen on sermonspice.com depic ng a grandfather’s desire that the younger genera on appreciate the sacrifices made by veterans, past and present. Jake Bailey, 18, (top) of Cambridge was masThe other video of the U.S. Army Ceremoter of ceremonies and also presented a piece nial Drill Team at the Edinburgh Military on Douglas Munro (1919-1942), U.S. Coast Ta oo is available on YouTube and has been Guard Signalman First Class, who died heroi- viewed by over 1.1 million viewers. cally at Guadalcanal. Bailey will enter the Eighth graders Carolyn Mumley and Army in 2011. Below, elementary students Jeffrey Hoak shared their iMovie presentaand their music director, Michelle Figg.


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The PCSS band played the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine service songs and, as each was played in turn, veterans of their par cular branch were asked to stand. This picture was taken during the Army song. In the middle foreground, SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns stands.

PCSS Music Director Les Tomlinson’s enthusiasm was infec ous.


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Short films were played, including this video of the U.S. Army Ceremonial Drill Team at the Edinburgh Military Ta oo. It is available on YouTube and has been viewed by over 1.1 million viewers. Below, Faculty member Craig Stutzman accompanies Danica French singing “Traveling Soldier� by The Dixie Chicks.


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on of local Purple Heart recipients. Music was organized by elementary music director Michelle Figg and secondary-level music director, Les Tomlinson. Poirier was presented with flowers from individuals represen ng grades K-12. Jake Bailey, 18, of Cambridge served as master of ceremonies. He has been involved

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in the annual tribute from the start, and plans to enter the Army a er gradua on. Assis ng technology coordinator Crystal Priest with the video and sound were science teacher Jay Marden, digital media teacher Erick Murray, John Riitano and a number of other individuals.

Above le , PCSS Principal Kevin Harrington delivers closing remarks. Above right, Carol Poirier is presented with flowers by Erick Murray on behalf of the K12 colleagues.

Above, Monson American Legion Post 116 members, le to right, Richard Hunt, Carl Ponkala, Jack Dunstan, and William Ranta enjoy refreshments. At right, is Dan Hutchins and his granddaughter, Bailey Hutchins, both of Guilford.


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Milo ceremony somber, upli ing

MILO—A endance was full again this year for the annual POW/MIA ceremony in the Fine Arts Center of the Milo Town Hall. The ceremony itself, conducted by the Joseph P. Chaisson American Legion Post 41, was followed by a dinner hosted by the Three Rivers Kiwanis, including members of the Penquis Valley Key and Bridge Clubs, while Milo elementary students under the direc on of Stephanie Gillis provided singing entertainment. Randy G. Kluj, American Legion District 14

Commander (Piscataquis County), brought the ceremony to this area a er witnessing it at Fort Rucker, Alabama where his son, Randy S. Kluj, an Apache-helicopter pilot who has served 27 months in Iraq and is planning a third deployment, went to flight school. The elder Kluj also served on helicopters (UH1s) in the Navy in Vietnam. During the ceremony, he was the narrator. In a light-dimmed room and to the sound of bagpipes, representa ves of the five branches of the armed forces entered the


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room, one by one, wearing gray trousers, white shirts and black POW MIA es. They each stood behind an empty chair as Kluj narrated the significance of objects on the table. The slice of lemon on the bread plate, for example, represented the bi er fate of the POW MIAs. Terry Knowles represented the Army, William “Bill” Mulherin the Marines, Felix Blinn the Navy, Willard “Lee” Leeman the Coast Guard, and Richard L. Graves, Sr. the Air Force. As Knowles ex nguished a candle, Kluj urged onlookers to transfer the flame to their hearts in remembrance. A bugle played Taps in closing. Other members of Post 41 who par cipate in these ceremonies are Bob Lee (a re red brigadier general in the army) and Reggie Earley, among others. The impact of the ceremony is spreading. It has been conducted for the past three years

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at Dept. of Maine American Legion annual conven on. For the past two years it has been invited by Worcester Wreath nonprofit, Wreaths Across America (WAA), to be part of a ceremonial send-off of wreaths desned for veterans graves in Arlington Na onal Cemetery and elsewhere.

Post 41 to present ceremony December 5 in Hermon Those unable to a end the Milo ceremony may witness it as part of this year’s Wreaths Across America send-off that will take place at Hermon High School on Sunday, December 5, according to WAA Project Officer Wayne Merri . A convoy departs Harrington, Maine, makes a brief stop in Holden, then proceeds to Hermon. People a ending the event should probably be there at 11 a.m. with the ceremony possibly at 11:30 or 12 noon, which will include Gold Star Mothers, a color guard, and local veter-

an organiza on representa ves. The convoy, which includes a police escort, Civil Air Patrol, veterans, the Worcester family and some trailer loads of wreaths, then takes Route 1 from Stockton Springs to Scarborough with stops along the way to give “Remember, Honor and Teach” programs to schools before proceeding to Arlington. This marks the 19th year Worcester Wreath has supplied wreaths to Arlington, which accounts for five

truck loads. Another 55 truck loads are distributed to cemeteries throughout the country, including 24 overseas. Last year, 160,000 wreaths were distributed. This year, the goal is 300,000.


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Abbot plans new Roll of Honor by 2011 A version of this story by this media service To be listed on the was published by The Piscataquis Observer Honor Roll in Abbot, veterans had to have November 10, 2010. been a resident at the ABBOT—Fundraising efforts to install a new me they enlisted. That Honor Roll in Abbot in 2011 passed the half- has been difficult to deway mark in September. A total of $20,000 is termine for any veteran needed. As of September 20 the amount whose address bore an raised was over $10,500, including about R.F.D. number based in $1,600 generated by the 5K road race in Sep- Guilford, but each intember. The new granite Roll of Honor will stance of this is rereplace a ten-year-old wooden structure searched to confirm bearing the names of WWI, WWII and Vi- residency. etnam veterans. The new one will be made of Anyone with inforgranite and add veterans from the Civil War ma on about a name and post-Vietnam eras to the present day. that should be included The monument will come from Provost Mon- on the Honor Roll should contact the Abuments of Benton.

A new Roll of Honor of the above design (disregarding the names; they are placeholders here) will replace the exis ng wooden one (facing page). Veterans had to have been residents of Abbot when they entered the service in order to be listed. The Abbot Historical Society researches any addresses that were rural routes of Guilford but within Abbot. Veterans or loved ones who think a name should be included, should contact the Town Office.


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bot Town Office at 876-3340. Turkey-pie sale Though there will be no annual turkey pie supper at the Town Office this year, the sale of turkey pies by the Abbot Historical Society will go forward on NoMelanie Bridges vember 13, according to organizer Melanie Bridge, vice president of the society. Orders for the pies were accepted un l about Nov. 8. The basement kitchen ven la on would have had to meet state approval before organizers felt comfortable making definite plans for the supper. The building underwent expansion and, though oven use meets state approval, stove-top use (to guard against grease fires) does not. Frozen turkeys are ordered through Goule e’s IGA in Guilford, which allows the turkeys to remain in their refrigerator to thaw. In 2009, 140 pies were served at the supper or sold through the pie sale. Quilt raffle Fall fundraisers include a quilt raffle of a queen-size quilt in patrio c colors. The drawing was expected Nov. 13. The quilt was a project of a group quilters who lovingly refer to themselves as the “Monday Night Rippers” (they meet Monday evenings, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Abbot Town Office), and include Andrea Gilbert, Barbara Cooper, Be y Henderson, Debby Kohler, Pat Drummond, Ruth London and Elaine Draper, who does a lot of quilt teaching, and Carol Reed, who is on the board of directors of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild.

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Road race Pledges gathered by runners and walkers on September 18 for the first annual 5K race accounted for the $1,600 in proceeds. Vic Morin raised the most pledges. There were 17 runners and 16 walkers. Jason Abbo Dellamora of Blanchard was the first male to cross the finish line in 18.08 minutes. Kate Cooley of Athens was the first female finisher at 25.25. Monument pledges The Town of Abbo is accep ng pledges made on behalf of veterans to help fund the monument. A list of donors will be published by the Town. For more informa on, contact the Town Office.


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Milo Veterans Memorial Project boosted by Jamboree

A version of this story supplied by this media and those eager to honor them, are ordering service was published by The Eastern Gaze e granite pavers, which will be etched with the veteran’s name and laid next spring as part on November 6, 2010. of an elaborate, volunteer upgrade to the MILO—The organizers of the Veterans Me- exis ng monuments at Evergreen Cemetery morial Project in Milo have really struck a honoring service in the armed forces. The pavers will be laid in the spring of chord. Individuals who served their country— 2011. Order forms are available at the Milo whether they are veterans of war, or not— Town Hall. The goal is to sell up to 300 pavers. By the end of September, 125 were sold. As of October 8, $20,000 had been expended for monument costs and another $6,000 was expended on pavers that have been ordered, and there was $500 in the bank account at Camden Na onal Bank. Money is sent to the monument company in $5,000 increments. The cause is now much larger than the man who conceived it. Ron Knowles had helped raise $18,000 for other charitable causes through a country-western jamboree he hosts in Milo on the first Saturday of each month at the town hall. Then one day he decided it would be nice to do something for Margaret and Reginald Earley sell ckets. Milo. His partner, Donna Jean DeWi , helps.


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Host Ron Knowles is in perpetual moon throughout the show. Here, he snatches a dance with partner, Donna Jean DeWi . Later, they put on a skit. They don’t stop un l the end. Then it’s me to clean up. As does Reginald Earley (Knowles and Earley are former U.S. Marines who served during the Korea War era), and his wife, Margaret. The foursome form the informal, volunteer commi ee that oversees the project. Someday, proceeds of the jamboree will be donated to other causes, but not un l the memorial project is completed. Milo jamborees for the winter months (December to April) will be the first Saturday of each month from 5:30 to 9 and second Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 p.m. Meals are served and generally cost about $4. Admission is by dona on and each dollar represents a cket entered in a drawing for a door prize. In September, Sandra Genthner won two ckets to the Oct. 16 7th Annual Bluegrass Fes val in Fairfield. There is also a 50/50 raffle. Some mes dona ons to the project come in other ways. When Bill Hurst, chaplain of the greater Bangor-area detachment of the

Marine Corps League heard about it, he expressed support by having the League donate $250 and had his congrega on host the jamboree in September at the Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Bangor, which generated another $654. When they are not busy organizing the jamboree, Knowles and DeWi make trips to Elias Monuments in Madison to check on progress of the monuments and travel to jamborees in other towns as a show of support. In addi on to Knowles, the musicians at the Milo jamboree usually include Gary “Mr. Music” Knowles, Cornell McLellan, Ollie Shorey, Barbara Har ord, Phil and Joanne McIntyre, Ron Rhines, Ann Theriault, Rodney Washburn, Doug Danforth, Jim Kenney, James Crocker, Wally Alexander, Robert Morton, Dan Gilley, Johnny Libby, Hank Hughes, and Richard Nye. Rod Carr and Kathy Severance also usually perform. Rick


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Ann Theriault Ollie Shorey Cornell McLellan

John Libby Richard Nye

Wally Alexander

Gary Knowles

Ron Rines James Crocker


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Barbara Har ord Doug Danforth Dan Gilley

Rodney Washburn Jim Kenney Joanne McIntyre

Phil McIntyre Robert Morton

Hank Hughes


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jamboree on their behalf. A endance is usually at least 150. The record was 440 in July 2009 and benefited the Country Music Hall of Fame. For a period of a year, the American Legion Auxiliary provided food, for which organizers were grateful. On this night, Maureen Gormley tried her hand at it with help of Jean Giacomuzzi, Heidi Pra , Mandy Foss and Jessica Mitchell. They offered chicken pie, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw, chips, pastries, pies and cookies. Musicians and their wives eat for free. Herbert Carey is a fixture. He and Ricky Bradeen were present on behalf of the Milo Fire Department as a safety precau on. Carey is living proof of the value of a first rePete Beach, le , and sponder. He was marching in Rick Crocker handle the Shriner flag unit in Doverthe sound system.

Crocker and Pete Beach are the soundmen. Performers like these from central and northern Maine are the focus of McLellan’s mainecountrymusic.com website. If musicians have CDs—as Gary Knowles, Jimmy Kenney, Johnny Libby and Barbara Har ord do—event organizers will sell them at the

Edwin Treworgy, Yvonne Brown, Alton Brown, Ethelyn Treworgy


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Ricky Bradeen and Herbert Carey are present as a safety precau on. Alice Kathleen Baird turns 94 in April. Sandra Genthner won the door prize this night. Foxcro in 2009 when he collapsed near the court house when his heart stopped. Quick thinking by two nearby nurses, treatment at Mayo Regional Hospital, then surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center saved him. Jamboree proceeds have helped refurbish the restrooms, complemen ng major renova ons in 2003 to the 1924 town hall interior. It was a $75,000 effort (with $25,000 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundaon) spearheaded by the Three Rivers Kiwanis and chaired by Edwin and Ethelyn Tre-

worgy resul ng in a new sound system ($15,000), ligh ng system ($11,000), 450 chairs, 36 tables, new 200 amp electrical service, balcony and stairway rugs, storage area in the men’s restroom, curtains, and repainted stage, floors and walls. Jamboree organizers are grateful to the Treworgys and Kiwanis. The feeling is mutual. “I don’t think enough can be said about what Ron has done for the town,“ said Edwin Treworgy. “Ronnie has worked extremely hard.”

Food was provided by, le to right, Heidi Pra , Jessica Mitchell, Mandy Foss, Jean Giacomuzzi and Maureen Gormley.


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New monuments began to be installed by Veterans Day. Pavers, at le , will border the site. Order forms are available at the Milo Town Office or by calling the telephone numbers listed below, le .

They Must Be Remembered Honor our veterans who have served in a branch of our military. A veteran—whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve—is someone who at one point in his or her life wrote a blank check made payable to “the United States of America” for an amount of up to, and including, their life. All gave some—some gave all. You will be remembered. The granite pavers purchased will be displayed permanently at the Veterans Memorial Project site in the Milo Evergreen Cemetery. Please fill out an order form. For more information, please call Ronnie at 279-9700 or Reggie at 394-3912.


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Abbot man’s mission was a credit to himself, na on ABBOT—Among the many stories of Maine individuals killed in ac on was a WWII tail gunner on a Flying Fortress who perished before his bomber miraculously returned safely to England but whose performance during an air a ack from German fighter planes caused him to bring the “highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of America.” Edward Lewis Page was born in Guilford in 1923 to Arthur and P. Rebecca (Kirk) Page. He had two brothers, Keith and Thomas. With the onset of the Depression the family moved to Abbot to live with Rebecca’s parents, Frank and Emma Kirk, on their farm on what is now Prides Loop Road. It is now the home of Thomas Page, who turns 86 in December. E. Lewis Page was inducted into the service February 4, 1943, and received basic training in Miami Beach, Fla. He received radio training in Chicago and Sioux Falls, SD and proceeded to gunnery school to operate .50 caliber machine guns, which was required of radio operators. He excelled at gunnery school in Las Vegas, NV, acquiring the nickname “Trigger” as the best shot there, gain-

ing his first stripe. And though he passed the mechanic’s test, he did not pass the radio test. He was therefore assigned to ordnance before undergoing tail-gunner training in Tampa, Fla. at MacDill Air Force Base. He graduated in 1944 and his crew, piloted by Lt. H.E. Haske , was considered the best in their class. Of the crews that flew six B-17s on a short field trip from Tampa to New Orleans, Haske ’s outperformed the rest and were rewarded with use of a B-17, which they chose to fly to Chicago. In May 1944, Page visited Abbot on leave. He then awaited deployment at the Combat Crew Center, Hunter Field, Savannah, GA. Page would have liked to have been assigned to the Phillipines, but was assigned to Deenethorpe, England, instead, serving in the 401st Bomb Group HD, 615th Bomb Squadron. The crew was assigned the number 13, and was given a chance to re-draw a less supers ous number (the previous two crews assigned that number had perished), but the crew kept it and were nicknamed “Time’ll Tell” which was on their jackets. Their B-17G Flying Fortress, the Mary Alice, is on display at the


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Page is in the back row, third from the leŌ. To the right of him is Brendan Lynch. A mortally-wounded Page died in Lynch’s arms. Pilot HaskeƩ is in the front row on the far right. American Air Museum in Duxford, England, and a photo of it is on the museum’s website. The flight jacket of Page’s crewmate, radio operator S/Sgt. Brendan J. Lynch, is in a private museum in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York. Page’s crew completed their first mission July 6, 1944 over German rocket launching sites on the French coast. The next day, the group bombed an aircra plant in Leipzig and, the day a er, tac cal targets in France. There was a break for Crew 13 un l July 12 when they joined what amounted to 1,100 bombers deployed by the 8th Air Force over Munich to drop, in just two days, 6,000 tons of bombs, according to the 401st Bomb Group Associa on. It would be the group’s third (Crew 13’s second) of five missions to Munich to disrupt the flow of German supplies to the Russian front. It would also be Page’s last mission. It

was July 13, 1944. Crew 13 flew the lowest, rearmost plane in their forma on. Since he was the tail gunner, that made him the vulnerable “Tail-end Charlie”. Bombing was conducted, but they were a acked over Strassborg by Focke-Wulf 190s and Messerschmi 109s delivering 20 millimeter bursts, striking the tail, blowing out Page’s windshield, knocking holes in the stabilizer, le wing, bomb bay, and No. 2 gas tank, and disabling the No. 2 engine, according to a 1946 account published by the 401st Group’s public rela ons officer. At one point, thinking a burst of flame near a gas tank meant the ship was on fire, the pilot gave the bail order, but the intercom had also suffered in the a ack. By the me the navigator responded with “What did you say?” Haske realized the plane was not on fire, rescinded the order, and set up Automa c Flight Control Equipment, even landing while on it (no easy feat), with virtually no fuel remaining.


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The Time’ll Tell jacket of Lynch, above leŌ, and a painƟng, below, he made for the Kirkup family are at the Kirkup Veterans Tribute private museum on Long Island, New York. During the a ack, Page had been struck in the chest by a 20 MM shell and wounded in 35 places but “aggressively remained at his guns firing con nuously at a FW-190 a acking the tail,” according to the cita on for the Silver Star awarded posthumously. He “fought off unconsciousness and a empted to refuse medical a en on so that he could con nue to operate his guns. He died two hours later before the plane reached England. The gallantry, for tude and un r-

ing devo on to duty displayed by Sgt. Page reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of America,” according to records accompanying his Purple Heart and Air Medal. Issued with the Purple Heart was


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a Cita on of Honor. His nephew, Edward Page of Abbot who is the source of most of the informa on for this ar cle, says the Citaon of Honor is normally reserved for individuals whose crews went down and that to have Ed Page and, above, a issued it in Page’s B-17G, one of the circumstance was many model airplanes an unusual excephe assembled or made on. that are displayed at Le ers the family his residence in Abbot received were from President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Gen. H.H. Arnold on Memorial Day 1945; the Mayor of New York when the casket was being transferred from England to Maine via New York in 1948; and President Lyndon Johnson. Page was ini ally buried in Cambridge Military Cemetery in England, but his mother wanted his remains returned home. So, in August 1948 the casket was accompanied by

CliŌon M. Carr, Jr. (19251951) served in World War II in the European Theatre in the 3rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army from May 1943 to December 1945 and received several awards. He re-enlisted in the Third Division Field Ar llery in 1948 in Korea. He was killed in ac-

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a military escort and buried in the New Abbot Cemetery with full military honors and a fly-over by the Thunderjets of the then-Dow Air Force Base in Bangor. Page’s name is among 28,000 Americans listed in the American Roll of Honour housed in the American Memorial Chapel of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. The book was presented July 4, 1951 by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower with the Queen of England in a endance at the Service of Commemora on of the American Dead. “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessing” reads the le er from President Roosevelt. “Freedom lives, and through it, he lives—in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.” The bridge on Route 15 in 1973 was dedicated to Page and another Abbot resident killed in ac on, Cli on Carr, Jr., who had served in WWII then re-enlisted for Korea. InformaƟon about the July 13, 1944 mission to Munich is used, with permission, from the 401st Bomb Group AssociaƟon website at 401bg.com. An image of Page’s name in the Roll of Honour may be viewed online at stpauls.co.uk by searching under American Memorial Chapel. A photo of the Mary Alice is on the American Air Museum website at duxford.iwm.org.uk/.

on on April 1, 1951. Cli on was the squad leader on a mission and was driving a jeep, according to Carr’s youngest brother, Merton Carr of Falmouth, when the vehicle struck a mine, causing the steering post to drive into his chest. Cli on rebuffed treatment by the

medic, and ordered him, instead, to treat three other men in the crew. Cli on died from his injuries. He was 26. For ac ng selflessly, Cli on was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star in addi on to the Purple Heart.


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Daughter in search of father’s past ABBOT—Clyde V. Tompkins, Jr. was ght-lipped about his World War II experience. That was not unusual, according to his oldest daughter. “He didn't seem to want to talk about the real figh ng and death,” recalls Joyce Wangerin of Mission Viego, California. “The few vets I've known, don't.” Tompkins and Wangerin’s mother, his then-wife, Virginia, wedded in 1942 before he was shipped overseas. She never referred to him as anything but Tommy and he called her Ginger. They parted ways a er the war before Wangerin started Kindergarten, but Wangerin and her father remained in touch. The visits they had were typical family Tompkins and grandson Mark Wangerin get-togethers “about sharing fun and good mes”. before she took a trip to Egypt. When she As an adult, Wangerin recalls he talked a went to southern France, he talked about the li le bit about being in North Africa to her people and described the landscape. She

From the diary of Tompkins The following excerpt from the diaries of Clyde V. Tompkins, Jr. was wri en August 21, 1976. It started with, Ya know, this hot spell we're havin’ makes me think of landing in N. Africa, back in Dec. 1942. Concerning the unit in Italy he regarded so highly, Tompkins wrote: Then it was me to leave France and head for Italy.... That's where I joined up with the

BEST ou it in WWII—the 311th Fighter Squadron, the best unit I was in.... All my old buddies from the original ou it I came overseas with were gone now. It makes ya wonder if the Kraut made bullets with your name on it done missed ya or it's s ll buzzing around lookin for ya. So as not to keep ya in suspense, that bullet never did find me. (Hell, I was never in one

spot long enough.) ...I went to up Florence on Highway 65 and joined up with the 311th. I was to be given a jeep and was to help keep our radar van units in opera on and other services they might require... Anyway, we went, me 'n Marty Mar ndale from Alabama. He was a genius with radars.... That first run was a humdinger!! We never did get back ’ l


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drove through some of those same towns. But those were the only mes he talked about the war to her. The explana on came in dairies he wrote: “I've le a lot out of this and it's best that way,” he wrote. “Some things are best to be forgo en, or NOT passed on.” Wangerin learned of the diaries from a rela ve only a er her father’s funeral. “He said my dad would want us (my sister and me) to have them.” “My Dad certainly did not glorify the war. He would not re-enlist for anything, and I got the impression he wasn't too big on the parades and such either. His best buddy in the service, a guy named Marty, got killed. His name shows up in the diaries on the anniversary of Marty's death, as Tompkins, Christmas of 1967 best as I can tell.” Wangerin gathers, from inferences her father makes, that the veter- Honor will be installed in Abbot in 2011 ans in Abbot cons tuted a small, but fine, seems fi ng, then, to Wangerin. “They group of men. Knowing that a new Roll of ought to be honorably remembered.”

Diary (Con nued from page 25)

four days later and I cussed every neat and spic 'n span officer in the ou it... We were authorized to be anywhere, at any me, within our area, and leave or come back as we saw fit. Just keep the radars ‘on the air’.... No

one wanted our job. Too risky and almost all night travel (couldn't use lights north of Florence.) But Marty and me made out OK. Oh, I guess we daubed our pants a me or two, but most the me our clothes were full of mud, a li le more crap didn't amount to a hell of a lot.

One wintery day in a hell of a snow storm I had to go to one of our units in the mountains over near Siena. Had to go alone 'cause Marty was killed, a while back, and I had a hell of a me to get as far as the foot of the mountain. Le the jeep and backpacked up to the unit. Got 'em all (Con nued on page 27)


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The diaries were wri en years a er the war. They are plain spoken and straigh orward, with no affecta on or a empt to be literary. As a result, the portrait he paints toward the end of the war while figh ng in northern Italy is abbreviated but genuine in the high regard with which he held his unit, the 311th Fighter Squadron, of the 22nd Taccal Command, of the 12th Air Force. Born in Abbot, Maine on July 11, 1918, Tompkins died in Dover-Foxcro on January 4, 1990. He is buried in the Abbot cemetery with his mother, father (Clyde V. Tompkins, 1891-1980) and brother, Robert, according to Wangerin’s cousin, Carolyn Amos. Tompkins’ name is on the Abbot Honor Roll. “He loved to ‘hunt with his camera’,” recalls Amos, “and roamed the North Woods in all kinds of weather and in all seasons. He visited with Jack Leeman of Abbot a lot, was good friends with the Tra ons of Tra ons Store and Gina Reed of Monson was a special niece. A er Wangerin came into possession of

Diary (Con nued from page 26)

squared away.... [S]o down the mountain I went hell bent and wishing I'd been too young to fight this dadblasted war. This was too much! I was damn near froze. ...Krauts blew it all up, with my jeep, at a radar unit." Then, FINALLY came VE Day!! I couldn't recall anything that felt be er than to wake up that day and see VE Day. My job was done!! No more drivin’ in the dark! No

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her father’s diaries she wanted to know more about how he had been awarded Bronze and Silver Stars. His medals are not men oned in the diaries and he never spoke to her of receiving them. The only clue was old photos Wangerin had seen of him. She wrote to the Na onal Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. She requested some documenta on that might explain why he received the medals. She did get a response, and even received copies if the medals in the mail, which are now in the possession of Wangerin’s son, Mark. But she never received details, especially how he earned the Bronze and Silver Stars. The medals were: American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, WWll Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Bars, Bronze Star and Silver Star. If anyone has any informa on or recollec on that would explain why Tompkins received the Bronze and Silver Stars, she would like to know. She may be emailed at ajwangerin@aol.com.

more mud, snow, and dust! No more shell bombardments from the Krauts! No more land mines to worry about.... My old original ou it had a survivor!!! No one had any duty that day.... Nothin’ to do. Just sit and wait for orders to go to the China-Burma-India Theatre of Opera ons.... We didn't co on to goin’ to CBI at all, but if Gen. Ike said to go— we'd go! We'd follow him. Then on June 1, 1945 a piece of paper was tacked to the bulle n board.… I was to be sent back to the States. The rest of the [his unit] was to go to CBI.

First thing I did was wait 4 hours in line for a phone so I could call Ginger…." I've le a lot out of this and it's best that way. Some things are best to be forgo en, or NOT passed on. Sure would be nice to go again to see all those places in me of ‘peace’??? Joe Morse, an Abbot veteran of World War I, told me once that he would not enlist in another war but he wouldn't want to have missed the one he was in. That sums it up pre y nicely. I asked for it, I got it, I'll keep my damn mouth SHUT—forever!


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Corinth man was chemicals specialist

A version of this story supplied by this media service was published by The Eastern Gaze e on November 6, 2010. CORINTH—One of the familiar faces in Corinth is 92-year-old Willis Bean. He is ac ve in the historical society, has a 1939 picture of him with a horse-drawn bobsled full of wood. His name is on the Honor Roll as a World War II veteran. And for over thirty years he hauled milk. Bean never fails to a end a mee ng of the American Legion Corinth Post 115, which meets on the second and fourth Mondays from April to November under the leadership of Post Commander Adrian Cronkhite. Being ac ve in the Legion is a good excuse to get out of the house, nice to see familiar faces on a regular basis and offers an opportunity to help each other when needed, explains Bean, who has belonged to the Legion for 64 years. Born in Fort Fairfield, one of ten children, his family moved to Corinth in 1930, and he a ended high school there before becoming one of four brothers to serve in World War II, with a fi h brother serving in Vietnam. He was a truck driver before entering the service. A er infantry basic training in Fort McClellan, Alabama, Bean served 26 months

with the 19th Air Depot Group from North Africa before moving into France and Germany. Bean has a picture of the en re 148man squadron at Pa erson Field, Ohio in 1942. They did not do any figh ng. They were specially trained to deal with chemical warfare issues. Bean was a corporal and his unit had a low ra o of officers: twelve men to two officers. Bean recalls one assignment involved inves ga ng possible mustard gas bombs thought to be in use by German Field Marshal Rommel. Bean remembers being within about seven miles of some of the tanks under Rommel’s command. A er Africa, the unit went to France (where he was when VE Day was declared) and Germany. He was allowed rest and relaxa on a er war in the European Theatre ended, and was on his way to the Pacific Theatre (and made it as far as Washington state) before the Japanese surrendered and Bean joined the deluge of personnel anxious to return home. The awards listed on his discharge papers were European Theatre Campaign Ribbon (two Bronze Stars), Good Conduct Medal, Rifle Marksman and Bayonet Expert. He went to work first as a produce salesman for J.L. Paine & Sons in Corinth located in a building now used by the fire department, and remembers being one of the first trucks with produce allowed onto Mount Desert Island a er the 1947 fire in Bar Harbor. He departed Maine briefly as an orange processor in Dade City, Fla. preparing price lists for customers as far north as Ellsworth. Back in Corinth, he became a long- me milk hauler about 1953 for Lyle Peirce, Inc. in Newport, swinging can a er 100-pound can of milk onto trucks before re ring in 1985.


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No ordinary war me nurse A version of this story supplied by this media formed cardiac, service was published by The Piscataquis Ob- post-opera ve care. The unit server on November 10, 2010. had open-heart cardiacDOVER-FOXCROFT—Carmelita (Clukey) Simi- and la could have sat out the Vietnam War and surgery pa ents remained ensconced, stateside, as a regis- as young as 16 tered nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Cen- months and as ter. Instead, she served more than ten years old as 56. Within in the Army Nurse Corps and dis nguished a few months, herself with a Meritorious Service Medal Simila realized a thanks to a commitment to do “the best that need to write I possibly can do whatever I do” and to a about the nursing aspect of the uniquely spiritual faith. One of four children of Lester and Edith field. So, when her day shi came to an end, Clukey, she grew up in Dover-Foxcro , grad- she voluntarily began to write a manual on uated from Foxcro Academy (Class of intercardiac surgery and cardiovascular nurs1952), and earned a nursing degree from the ing. When she finished the manual, she gave University of Maine. She worked at EMMC it to the thoracic heart surgery secretary for for three years, becoming head nurse of the her to review. The secretary suggested she take it to a civilian publisher but Simila took largest ward, the B2 surgical ward. At 24, with an engagement to be married the a tude that since the Army gave her the called off and war on, she was “ready for an training, it belongs to the Army. Once in the adventure”. She did not qualify for enlist- hands of the hospital’s chief nurse, the manment with the Air Force Nurse Corps due to ual was taken to a chief nurses’ conven on excessive refrac on error. The Navy would in Washington, DC and, before long, “they have required her to have a certain number began using it Army-wide in all the 1,000-bed of her own teeth and she was missing some hospitals.” During her second year at Le erman, the in the back. That le the Army Nurse Corps. Her father hospital chose her to receive the Evangeline had served in the Army during WWII, her Bovard Award. Her name, 1LT Carmelita P. brother, Carleton (“Sonny”), was in the Ar- Clukey, is listed on an Office of Medical Hismy Airborne. The Army granted her a Profile tory web page of the U.S. Army Medical De3 medical excep on and sent her to Le er- partment’s website as a recipient in 1961. “I man Army Medical Center in San Francisco. was quite amazed because, in a 1,000-bed Her me at the 1,000-bed hospital “was hospital, you can imagine how many nurses the best thing to happen to me.” One year there are.” It had come as a surprise because later, she was the only nurse from Le erman she was not trying to compete with anyone. chosen to receive nine weeks of specialized Her Roman Catholic upbringing had made training in the emerging field of cardiovascu- her conscious of an obliga on to simply do lar nursing at Fitzsimons Army Medical Cen- “the best you can do with the abili es, talents and gi s God gave you.” ter in Aurora, Colorado. A er Le erman, she requested to go to Upon her return to Le erman, she was made head nurse of what became newly Germany, but was sent to Tripler Army Medi-


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cal Center in Hawaii. “They kept me in the large hospitals so I would learn more and be able to contribute more.” She also met Kenneth Richard Simila there and they married. He was a graduate of West Point. They were both captains at the me and he had already volunteered to go to Vietnam. To ensure that she also went to Vietnam, she wrote a le er to the chief of the whole Army Nurse Corps in Washington, DC “saying that I believe that these people—men, women who served in Vietnam—deserved the most loving care and the most loving kind of a en on. And I thought: they’re the ones right now that need that from me the most.” She was sent. Upon her arrival in Saigon a photographer from Stars and Stripes newspaper was there too (probably pped off by the Army Nurse Corps; Simila knew nothing about it) and took a picture of the newly arrived Simila with her husband, who had been south of Saigon with the Rangers and was allowed to stay overnight in Saigon with her. She was then sent 240 miles northeast of Saigon to the 85th Evacua on (the “85th Evac”) Hospital in Quinon, the largest surgical hospital in Vietnam. Her me there from June 1966 to June 1967 is as present as yesterday. “I don’t look at age or me like most people do.” For the first four months she was head nurse of the two surgical wards there. Each ward had 32 beds. “We treated not only our own people but we treated what were called the montagnards, the people who lived in the mountains.” Hot summer temperatures reached a humid 110 to 120 degrees and there was no air condi oning to prevent perspira on. “I’d be leaning over like this doing a dressing or taking off a cast or something and it would drip down on my glasses and be very hard to see. It wasn’t very pleasant, but we tried to manage.” The compound came under a ack at

PENQUIS Review

nigh me at least twice a wee. The 12th Field Hospital, a small hospital near an airfield to their south where the nursing quarters were was similarly a acked. A er the first few months, the chief nurse came into the ward and advised Simila she would be head nurse of a newly forming POW ward. That night, Simila pondered her new order and reconciled it in her mind this way: “I wouldn’t be a good nurse if I didn’t treat anybody and everybody who needed my loving care and loving touch, and I wouldn’t be a good Chris an [if I did not follow orders with a willing heart]. So [carrying out the orders willingly] was very easy for me. And I love a lot of people anyway.” The only other nurses allowed to work on the POW ward were those who volunteered. At first, the POWs were frightened of the nurses. But they soon realized that the nurses had no weapons. “[I]n those years, women were not allowed to carry weapons. We had no training in weapons. We knew nothing about weapons. Nobody on my ward—even the medic and my sergeant; nobody—had weapons on that ward. Nobody.” The POWs began to be more friendly. She started learning, as much as she could, the Vietnamese language. The POWs included Viet Cong, North Vietnamese and even Chinese who were supposedly North Vietnamese but were very, very tall. A er awhile, a POW would express their gra tude by touching a nurse’s forearm in one, short stroke with straightened fingerps. During this me, on her walks to the hospital for duty, she would hear other nurses call out “There goes the VC nurse.” “Let me just say that when I was working with the POWs, I quite realized so intensely, [that] their leaders told them we were awful and did horrible things and everything like that just like our leaders told us they were doing the same bad things and horrible things. In that instance that thinking is going to be perpetuated. War is going to be perpetuated.”


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She has considered wri ng about her Vietnam experience. “But I— No. That’s— Not right now. Maybe someday I will, but not now.” Some of the images are too horrific. One of the worst image is of a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl who had been scalped by the Viet Cong. “I mean scalped—top of her head taken right off—and when I got her they had done skin gra s.” They prayed so hard hoping the gra s would stay. “It was an awful thing.” Just this month, one of the thoughts she wrote was that “it is true love and amazing good which will change this world we live in. And when all of humankind realizes this, it is then and only then that we shall live in the world God planned for us.” Simila’s nursing did not go unrecognized. “They promoted me early, quickly.” To go from “captain to major in those years was like eight to twelve years. And I was a captain in just a li le over four years.” Three years a er her return from Vietnam, she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal “which was a newly formed medal and it’s a very, apparently, high medal to receive other than on the ba lefield.” The medals include a Presiden al Unit Cita on. The Vietnam medal has two stars represen ng two Tet Offensives. One of her brothers encouraged her to frame her medals. They hang on her wall above a quote from Mother Theresa that reads, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Simila loved Mother Theresa. “I thought she was a beau ful, beau ful person. Her inner beauty has shown amazingly.” She lived for nine years in the Los Angeles area. She worked in St. Vincent Medical Center and then at Sepulveda Veterans Hospital. She had some friends in Texas and decided to work there for awhile and stayed for four years. She and her husband were married a total of six-and-a-half years. They did not have any

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children. “If God had wanted me to have kids, he would have put me in charge of an orphanage. This is the truth. I have a lot of love inside of me to give.” She had been in the Army Nurse Corps a total of ten years and seven months. She was a Registered Nurse for 32 years in all. Rheumatoid arthri s threatened to interrupt her career. “I had it all over my body and all the joints in my body. Nobody had ever seen that before.” She was told to forget about nursing, that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. And I said to myself, “Oh no, I won’t. I’ll be back in nursing.” It took a year symptoms and socalled gold therapy, receiving double doses of Myocrisin for weeks on end. She le the service on temporary disability and con nued to receive the treatment from a private doctor. Then one day she had an anaphylacc shock as she was ge ng ready to go home. “What that means is very simple: you’re half here and you’re half on your way to heaven. You can feel your heart hardly, hardly bea ng, hardly pumping that blood and you’re going to faint. I was pu ng on my clothes and I was headed to the floor. Just then the nurse came in.” The nurse caught Simila, zapped her with adrenaline, and gave her oxygen. Simila vomited, stayed there fi een minutes and went home. “I’ve learned a lot of things through my own adversi es. I’ve had a lot of wonderful things in my life. But there have been adversi es. And I’ve learned from them very well and applied them in caring for people and, in general, conversing with people, mee ng people and so forth.” She has also learned that where the mind leads, the body follows. By way of illustraon, Simila uses the example of a person who has been given six months to live. That person will say to themselves, “I be er do this, this and this [and then] in six months they die. The body is very responsive to the mind, I found out. Very responsive.”


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She returned to Dover-Foxcro in 1981. Since, then, she was featured on WLBZ-TV during Veteran’s Day coverage. “So I had certain things I wanted to say and I did, and then the camera was off me and [the newscaster] was talking and I said, ‘Could I just say one more thing?’ And this is what I said: ‘I am proud of all you veterans and I salute

Carmelita and then-husband, Kenneth, pause for a surprise photo by Stars and Stripes newspaper in Saigon upon her Arrival in June 1966. you.’” She also spoke at the University of Maine. “I got a wonderful le er back about that. Talking about the war. What we did and things.” When she returned from Vietnam, she was treated with the same contempt as the soldiers experienced even though she was a nurse. As a result, she did not say a word about her experience when she returned home. “Not a word. And it was locked inside of me.” When she heard about the Veterans Center in Bangor she went down and found, to her surprise, that the then-director was Joe

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DeGrasse. He was one of her pa ents at the 85th Evac. “I had taken care of him in Vietnam,” she recalls. “Skinny, scrawny li le thing. He had malaria something fierce [with a] 105-, 106-degree temperature.” Every me DeGrasse saw Simila he would give her a big hug. He would give her Chrisan music he and his wife made. And Simila would give him some of her upli ing, inspira onal thoughts she had wri en. She is not a member of any organized religion. If she does start to a end one, it will be one that does not “try to put God in a box. He doesn’t belong in a box. We need to think about God in the now of me, in the modern mes. Many of my thoughts, my wri en thoughts, are like that.” The picture that the Stars and Stripes took of Simila and her then-husband in Saigon in June 1966 is part of a Maine-based book authored by Stephanie Laite Lanham published to help people suffering from posttrauma c stress disorder. Simila recommends it for veterans and for their families. At the age of 76, Simila looks forward to future missions, including being a philanthropist to help veterans and children, especially. Simila does not succumb to an “old” pa ern of thinking, dressing, talking and ac ng as an old person. “We’re here only a short me. Short, short, short, short me. I’m confident that I’ll live for a long me.” If you see a Member of the God Squad bumpers cker, it is Simila’s crea on. “If, as a child of God, you are a member of what I call the God Squad then you thank, honor, praise and worship God in an everlas ng manner.” Her father, Lester, died of leukemia at the age of 43. Edith died at 55 from metasta c cancer. Her older brother, David, recently built a home in Swanville. Sonny died of a heart a ack in 2003. Dale is the long me chief deputy at the Piscataquis Sheriff’s Office.


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The full interview: Ronald Oldfield A summarized version of this interview ghanistan, or provided by this media service was pub- the Persian Gulf lished by The Eastern Gaze e November War, too? At the end of 6, 2010. that, yes I was. approxiDOVER-FOXCROFT—I joined the military For right out of high school. I had done a civil- mately seven ian EMT [Emergency Medical Technician] months I was course and worked as an EMT/paramedic deployed there just prior to gradua ng from high school with the reconand went down to the recruiter with a naissance group friend of mine and he had me go with him that was there so he didn’t sign up. And then, later, I to make sure came back and signed up myself. I didn’t the bombs went where they were supknow exactly what I wanted to do with posed to. I was the medical officer for college and didn’t really want to go them, for the whole group. straight from high school into college so I Fast forward to September 11, 2001. figured it was a good thing to do for a Roughly within about six or seven short while and then I’d get out and go to months a er 9-11, again was asked to deschool. Some twenty something years lat- ploy for a short period to support the coner I’m s ll doing it, at least as a part- me flict. I went, again, with the special operaons avia on in support of the Afghanithing. While I was s ll an enlisted person I stan conflict and, again, spent about ninetook night classes and acquired my under- and-a-half months deployed with them. graduate degree in nursing science. And Then I returned and again in 2005 to then I went to apply to the military physi- 2006, roughly a li le over an 18-month cian-assistant program that was endorsed period, I again deployed with the special by the University of Oklahoma health sci- opera ons avia on folks (the 160th) and ence center at the me. I a ended that in supported both Afghanistan and the Iraq 1990 to 1992, graduated one of the top conflict. We rotated. It was part of an people in my class. Then I was assigned as echo company that rotated in and out of a military physician assistant. I then did both theatres in roughly 90-day intervals. my advanced training through the Univer- (Echo Company was part of the 160th Spesity of Nebraska in emergency medicine. cial Opera ons Avia on Regiment.) Then I My official tle is physician assistant. In came back and I then deployed again with the military, I’m a major, promotable, a small group of folks back to Afghanistan physician assistant in the specialty corps. to provide advisement in pu ng together And as a civilian, I also prac ce as a physi- a health ministry. That was, again, another cian assistant, currently at the Veterans short tour, less than a year. I then reAdministra on in Bangor. turned. I had come back and decided I didWere you only involved in Iraq and Af- n’t want to stay—I was actually consid-


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ered a reservist (what they call an IMA, which is an individual augmentee) and I decided to switch over to something called the APMC, which is the AMEDD Professional Management Corps. As soon as I switched over I came to the top of the list to deploy because I was the new guy to that group and I was a ached to a unit that was part of what they call Joint Task Force Pathfinder, or Wildcat, which is [for] route clearance. We went with the task force of 2,600 people to clear the bombs off the roads in Iraq. And I returned back to Ramadi a er having been there previously probably six-and-a-half, seven months, prior and that’s where we were based out of to maintain the route clearance. That was the headquarters. And then we covered between the Syrian border all the way across pre y much to the Iranian border. And everything from the edge of the Green Zone pre y much north. And I did that for approximately 14 months before returning back. That was my most recent. That was 2007-2008. In review: In 2002 for about 9 months, 2004 less than a year, 2005-2006 18 months, 2007-2008 14 months. I was assigned to the task force as the surgeon with the task force. Normally there would be, in a ba alion aide sta on, a medical doctor and PA that make up the ba alion aide sta on as the medical officers. They did not provide—there was not going to be a surgeon provided for—the task force. I essen ally acted as the surgeon. And then upon arrival in Iraq I was the senior medical officer in Western Iraq at the me and was asked by the surgeon to be this senior medical officer there. So I actually assisted in some of the medical issues that came along with rebuilding Ramadi and western Iraq, re-opening the

PENQUIS Review

hospital and opening clinics in the local community [there were] approximately three of them that we opened. Is there a doctor shortage? Essen ally, in the military, there’s always a doctor shortage. PAs, there are only like 432 of them in the military, as far as the Army goes. And there are always more slots than there are physicians. Typically, when you go to war, there aren’t a lot of specialty doctors or speciality spots. In the ini al medical-clearing sta on area that I helped assist with in Ramadi, we had a dermatologist and a pediatrician help take care of trauma pa ents. So, it wasn’t quite their ini al calling. All doctors are originally doctors and then they choose to train in something addi onal, and a lot of these folks had to have their memories jogged about taking care of trauma pa ents. The pediatrician did rather well. The dermatologist took a li le extra help, but he came around. Did ac ng as medical assistant to the route-clearing teams occur at the same me as re-opening the clinics? It was like an addi onal hat. My typical day during that last tour [started with] sick call in the morning. I had 24 medics who were spread out essen ally across the whole country of Iraq in seven different places. So I would do sick call and check in with the other places and then if it wasn’t a visit day where I traveled somewhere else to check on the site and the people, I went to the local, I guess you’d call it the hospital or clinic on the post which was the emergency room, so to speak, or clearing sta on, and I’d see pa ents there and help them out. Then I would check in with the public affairs folks and either go check on the hospital, meet with some local officials, or go check on the local clinics. In the


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mean me, my platoon sargeant or one of my NCOs (non-commissioned officers) would be monitoring what was going on out in the field because, typically, at any one me we had at least two patrols of route clearance out on the roads in Iraq. When we first arrived there, we were picking up over 600 IEDs (improvised explosive devices) a day. By the me we le , we were picking up probably 40 a day, or less. But the good part was we were actually giving the materials and the assets to, not just clear the bombs off the roads, but find the people who were pu ng them down on the roads and monitor them and capture them and make it so there were less people pu ng bombs on the roads. So that was a lot different than the first couple of mes being there. It was a given fact you were going to find bombs on the roads in mul ples and that’s what you lived with the threat of. So you drove like a maniac everywhere you went hoping that if the bomb when off it didn’t get you. There were news reports at the me that driving all the way west to Jordan became much easier than the trip had been in the past. Essen ally these IED tasks forces, or units, are the ones taking care of that. It all started, originally, with unarmored vehicles and turned to MRAPS (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected), or mineresistant vehicles. The newer ones that we were given when we arrived were outstanding. Out of the 2,600-man task force, I had 82 casual es and absolutely no deaths. Nobody was killed in ac on. So, for the first me, since everything started, I didn’t have to zip anybody into a plas c bag, which was something I was pre y happy about. What kinds of physical injuries and psy-

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chological impacts did you see when you first arrived? With this last task force (2007-2008), mostly we were dealing with the IED stuff. Very li le small arms fire. We had people who were dealing with concussions. When we first got there, they (the militants) s ll had the ability to make some pre y good explosions with old ar llery shells and mortar shells and mul ple devices. These could even ra le the big Cougars and Buffalos (Mine Protected Armored Patrol Vehicles) enough to cause some concussions. They also started using tac cs with grenades, and stuff, to try to take out gunners in their gun mounts and that o en caused some trouble as well. But for the most part, the military folks in my task force I was taking care of [experienced] concussions and [my job was] monitoring how many mes they had been concussed and whether it was s ll safe to send them out or not. We had a few shrapnel wounds, [and] a few actual gunshot wounds that happened that were related to clearing and checking weapons and also with direct conflict, direct ac on. But [we had] far fewer [such incidents] than the previous me before, when I was seeing up to twenty trauma pa ents a day when I originally went to Ramadi in 2005-2006. By the me you le (2007-2008) you were seeing how many trauma pa ents? We were probably lucky to see two or three a day, and, for a couple of weeks there, we had absolutely none. Mostly what we were seeing were either civilian casual es or Iraqi soldiers or police officers that were assaulted or were a acked. Would there have been the same number of service people out in the field in order to be able to compare? I would say essen ally, yes. Actually,


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there may have even been more during 2007-2008 because it was s ll during what was “the surge” where extra support was sent through. So I would say that, on the average, there were s ll the same amount of American soldiers on the ground. But the Iraqi military and Iraqi police were definitely ge ng more involved and more upfront in anything that was happening. And also the Iraqi public, themselves, especially in Western Iraq, were much more friendly to what was going on. They finally realized that, originally, it was other muslims telling them that we were the bad guys and the infidels and us trying to tell them that we’re just here to get things back up and running and you can have the country back. Finally, I think, “the awakening” had occurred and they were much more into helping us out and ge ng things back on the right track. The difference in culture is drama c. Trying to keep my own personal beliefs out of everything, that’s a big part of the whole process that didn’t happen in the beginning, was paying a en on to the fact that their culture is totally different. You can’t separate their religion from anything they do. It has everything to do with what they do. So, in trying to make them into something that they weren’t and to take people who were dependent on bread lines, rice lines—the government telling them what to do every day—and all of a sudden elimina ng that and expec ng them to immediately grasp what freedom actually meant to them, was unrealis c. So, of course chaos occurred. That chaos period was…. I would probably say from 2004 to the beginning of 2007, really. And even now, it’s going to take a lot of me for them to rebuild their country, to learn how to take

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care of things on their own. That’s going to cause growing pains. And you have a mix of people who have a tribal environment with Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds. The Kurds have wanted to be their own state/ country for years. So any opportunity for them to separate, they’re going to try to take. The Sunnis have been a poli cal majority but a numbers minority for a long period and the Shiites aren’t happy about that. Now everything is uncapped and they don’t have a mutual enemy any more, i.e., the government or Saddam Hussein, and they started just doing whatever it was that they wanted to do, and everybody figh ng to be at the top of the hill. The clinics you helped open…. We actually, from scratch, constructed three clinics and recruited clinicians to work in them who were supposedly going to be employed by the local government. For the most part, that worked pre y good to try to get a base of health care back because, essen ally, when we came through and pre y much took out the whole infrastructure of the country, nobody went to work, some people had nowhere to go to work to, so all the professional folks who weren’t able to get out of the country or chose to stay in the country pre y much stopped doing what they did as well. Insurgents in Ramadi during the first ini al takeover of the town, they lined up folks in the alley behind the hospital and shot them and killed them. When we came through the first me, there were s ll bodies laying in the alley. Doctors, nurses, administrators, all that. So the hospital had nobody to work it or run it. And it took a lot to get clinicians to come back and to take care of people. So building the clinic and paying salaries was


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part of what was done. And most of the and the medical school that was located in “doctors,” some of them were like the Ira- Ramadi had been part of one of the top qi Army doctor that I worked with. He was four in the country. They literally had a actually a pharmacist and hadn’t clinically university that was considered to be one taken care of pa ents but he wound up of the top ones in the east. In the Arab being the surgeon because he was the on- area. They were considered the Harvard of ly doctor who would take the job. A gen- the Middle East. tleman in one of the clinics had been a Were those Ramadi hospital personnel shot to in midate GYN doctor who was anyone from coopnot willing to leave As a ma er of fact, the era ng with Westthe safety and secucountry itself was very erners? rity of the clinic, Westernized before the war Per a lot of the Iraqi which is built in a and being blown back into folks there, that is fairly nice area, to the dark ages, so to speak. essen ally part of the town that was I mean, very commonly what the mo ve le , which was part there was less than 15 was, was to deter, to of the deal: to go out minutes of electricity. There in midate, profesinto the rural comwas no running water. If sional folks from colmunity to see payou took a town the size of labora ng or cooperents, make and esBangor and blew up more a ng. tablish a rela onship than half the buildings, What is the a tude and then hopefully tore up the roads and le of the local resithey would come to the garbage out for several dents in Ramadi to the clinic for their months, that would be Western-style treatmedical needs. That ment? was the idea. He didwhat it would be like. All The biggest part for n’t like the idea of the stores were essen ally devout Muslims was going out. ‘It’s not empty or ransacked. that men are not safe. It’s not safe.’ So supposed to observe we literally had to encourage him to go out and see people or touch women unless you are married to and go out with him so he would feel them. So that becomes a li le bit of a barrier there. I had several female medics more safe. who accompanied many trips into the Was there a doctor in the third clinic? In the third clinic, [there] actually hap- town to help treat people and to be there pened to be an eye doctor who had actu- for that purpose. In seeing those clinicians ally been prac cing, I believe, in Jordan prac ce, they very seldom actually even and they had go en him somehow to touched their pa ents. They did a lot of come back. He was, in general, taking care standing back and just telling them stuff and not examining them. That was defiof pa ents, as well. nitely different than the typical way that So there had been a hospital there…. Oh yeah, actually the hospital building we prac ce medicine. But otherwise as far was s ll there. Ramadi General Hospital as any certain special treatments, or any-


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thing like that, like Asian medicine, there permanent physicians on board, some wasn’t a big difference in that way. As a with some very good training and some ma er of fact, the country itself was very who were working on ge ng be er, let’s Westernized before the war and being put it that way. They had gone back to blown back into the dark ages, so to being probably the equivalent to a smallspeak. I mean, very commonly there was town hospital. Internal medicine doctors. less than 15 minutes of electricity. There Family-prac ce-type doctors. But they was no running water. If you took a town were s ll lacking in a large amount of spethe size of Bangor and blew up more than cial es. If I saw an Iraqi civilian on the half the buildings, tore up the roads and base because of an emergency, which is le the garbage out for several months, where they s ll tried to bring people most of the me because that would be what it would be like. All the I think probably the last that’s where they knew they’d get care, if they stores were essen ally me I deployed (2007empty or ransacked. 2008) I probably had 30 had some significant trauma—burns or head And then expect every- or 40 percent of folks beinjury or something like thing to go back to nor- ing seen [who] had some that—if I had to send mal. This was up to form of depression or them back to the Iraqi 2008. When we le , anxiety or insomnia or hospital, they were things were actually stress-related stuff. pre y much guaranimproving. There were teed that they weren’t actually small shops that were opening up. Produce markets. going to survive. Some businesses were opening back up Landscape or geography comparisons and were a emp ng to carry on with would be what? their lives and put things back together. Western Iraq was mostly desert where But again, a lot of the major complaints we were at. There were some areas that were s ll power outages that s ll hap- are green zones. Like, Ramadi has some pened, which happened some mes just green zone to it, had done some canals because of lack of maintenance or that and irriga on stuff to it to improve it. The they were a emp ng to repair something southern area definitely has more water and there was no way to turn off certain and greenery to it. The Fallujah area had a sec ons of the grid. They just had to turn lot of olive trees, a lot of trees, a lot of the whole grid off to repair something or agriculture and between there and Tikrit was a big agricultural belt. But again, for fix it. the most part, you’ve got to have gas to Were the clinics impacted? We actually had generators for all three run your tractor or your pumps and those of the clinics and we got a generator for were commodi es. Very o en we would the hospital as well. There had been a go out to see someone and ask them what generator for the hospital, but it required they need and they need a pump and they replacing. And by the me I le , the hos- need a part for their tractor. A lot of them pital had reorganized itself, had a medical were plowing whole fields with mules and service. By the me I le , there were six, burros.


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A er trea ng physical injuries, what were the psychological condi ons? That depends on individuals. When everything first started and people hadn’t done a lot of tours we saw occasional folks with a li le combat stress here and there because of sustained opera ons. And most of that was pre y easy to take care of with local rest for a few days, some good food, to help them get recuperated. Like any organiza on there are always a few people who have depression issues or problems like that. But as things go on, units get pre y ght and if somebody gets hurt or gets killed, that affects the whole group as well. Usually that’s short-term stuff also. But more and more as mul ple tours went on, or mul ple exposures to stuff, a lot more people developed PTSD (post-trauma c stress disorder) symptoms or depression symptoms. I think probably the last me I deployed (2007-2008) I probably had 30 or 40 percent of folks being seen [who] had some form of depression or anxiety or insomnia or stressrelated stuff. They opened a couple of “oasis centers”, if you want to call them that, in a couple of the larger bases that were places for folks to come and relax for a few days just to decompress. But definitely, the 2005-2006 meframe was full of a lot of tension, a lot of stress, and a lot of day-to-day combat. When someone comes back with PTSD, how does it exhibit itself? PTSD has a few significant criteria that have to be met to call it a diagnosis but I would say, for the most part, everybody returning home requires some adjustment me and there are some adjustment problems. And typically, the label that— unfortunately the medical system runs in labels—we try to do is “adjustment disor-

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der” with mixed anxiety or depression or something like that, just so that there is not a permanent label placed on somebody. Signs and symptoms: easily angered, anxiety, depression, easily startled, inability to concentrate, some memory issues. It’s very hard to go from being somewhere like—it would be Afghanistan, now— where less than ten hours ago you were worried about whether somebody was going to try to blow you up and shoot you and you were wearing body armor to stepping off an airplane in Bangor, Maine and coming home to a place that has con nued to go one while you’ve been off doing something completely different and then try to step back into it. You s ll have to give it some me for adjustment. But anybody who has difficulty with those adjustments, there’s help for them in counseling, some medica ons. The biggest issues is a lot of people don’t ini ally present, or ask, for help. Or they don’t want to present or ask for help because, poten ally, if you are a guardsman, reservist or ac veduty soldier, there’s s ll a s gma a ached to it that if you have something like that your career’s going to be over with. You’re not going to get promoted. Your friends aren’t going to trust you. You’re not going to be a good soldier anymore. Which is a hard s gma to get rid of. Trea ng those people locally with their units has been, overseas, the way it’s been taken care of. It would be a nice way [to treat] over here, too, but very commonly those units disperse back out into the rural areas or they don’t have medical officers or social workers or therapists with them when they return back. Here in the State of Maine, the Maine Army Na onal Guard has developed a program to help out with that. They’ve hired a clinical psychologist


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(Gretchen Hegeman) to help and they’re working hard to bring awareness to the clinical community and to the soldiers that its okay to get help if you need it because, very typically, untreated, it can lead to bad stuff. Very commonly young soldiers can wind up abusing alcohol to prevent dreams or flashbacks or marijuana or some other substance and then they can get into trouble with the law. You know, these people have gone from the greatest extreme they’ll ever have in their life to coming back to either going to college, working at the local gas sta on. That peak in their life has been met and is gone. The adrenaline is s ll there. The source of responsibility, the source of camaraderie, you know, that feeling of being important has been brought back down to a level where, other than their own personal families, they’re not on the same level any longer. That can cause some trouble with adjus ng, as well, in making them feel like they don’t belong. What can friends, family, neighbors do to both detect, and be sensi ve to, the posion they are in? Most folks with a li le bit of me and a li le bit of help do okay. And ge ng that help when they need it [by] family, friends, or even the individual realizing that, hey, ‘its been three months and I’m s ll not ge ng on with my life’ or ‘I’m not handling things very well: I can’t keep a job, I’m drinking way too much, and my wife has le me or is threatening to leave me’—that kind of stuff. Counseling. The vet centers. There are local vet centers placed throughout the state that have free counseling that they can seek out, get them connected. The VA is available and some folks, the younger folks, don’t think of that as an op on for them, when they

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are actually en tled to five years of care a er returning from combat, no ques ons asked. Even their reserve or guard units usually have access to a list of counselors or folks they can get them in to. There are also 1-800 numbers that the military has put out. Or going through the Military One Source online (militaryonesource.com) or by telephone. They can hook them up with immediate counselors. If they’re having thoughts of suicide or harming themselves, there’s counseling right then on the telephone. And once they make those calls or get in to see somebody, its not necessarily that they are going to be messed up for life. They just may need some help for a few months and then things will go on be er. Describe the gap between what military personnel see with civilians who do not have a concept of that. You take a look at things differently. Inially, when you come back, the greatest thing is relief that you made it back and that you are poten ally all in one piece. But no ma er who goes, how you go and what you do when you do get deployed, you always come back not exactly the same person. It’s how those events, memories and occurrences affect your life. The Army has a new program out that’s enforcing resiliency and being able to take those experiences and try to make something posi ve out of them. That’s been their focus. It has changed training and how things are happening before people are going to help be er prepare them and their leaders because, all in all, of deployed and returned soldiers [there] is about a 20 percent occurrence rate for PTSD. And that’s just the PTSD. I’m sure there’s probably even bigger numbers for depression and other incidents because


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the more you are exposed, the more risk you are probably at. I haven’t found any recent literature about mul ple exposures with trauma c events and PTSD, but I have seen, in my own personal experience, [that] the more mes soldiers wind up being deployed the more likely something’s going to happen that’s going to give them a reason to have some kind of trouble or issues when they come back. That in itself, even with the strongest of coping mechanism and help, can somemes take a li le bit of effort to get over. We’ve even seen it with some of the Vietnam pa ents. And that’s part of the problem now for a lot of these guys is they get to where, well, ‘I can’t relate with these people.’ Even the Vietnam guys definitely want to help and they want to give support to these folks. Some of these newer veterans—again, just like those Vietnam guys were—they’re between 19 and 25 years of age. And that’s a tough me for a young adult who hasn’t been to war, let alone send them off to war and then bring them home. It makes it an even tougher me. And, unfortunately, for a lot of them, coming home to jobs at this point in me in our country, our economy is not—there aren’t any laborous or producve [jobs to absorb them]. The typical thing was people like that came home and worked in the factories and places like that. There was a job for them to do and make a fairly decent living. You can’t work at McDonald’s flipping burgers and pay rent for a house and take care of yourself, let alone a family. These folks are having those issues happen, which leads to even more stressors, which makes it even more difficult to make their adjustment a lot of mes. And, despite all the safety nets we’re pu ng out, we’re s ll having this

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happen to a lot of our veterans. It’s been my experience that our new segment of veterans, some come and seek care, some don’t. Some walked back into their regular employment and have insurance and stuff and are being seen by their regular doctors and being taken care of in the best manner, shape and form they can see. And hopefully the VA is going to find a way to accommodate people who aren’t re red and can’t come in during their normal work me or otherwise they are going to be bouncing through a lot of these urgent care places and that kind of stuff, that aren’t going to understand some of the issues with their problems because they are not going to focus on that. The fact [is] that, six months ago this guy was in Afghanistan and took some shrapnel and watched three of his buddies die and now he’s being seen for what appears to be a simple accident that may have been a self-inflicted wound or may have to do with drinking too much or something like that [which] may be actually the reason for what’s happening to him. [It’s] linked back to his service and not just that simple accident. For the people in the Penquis area, their closest support would be Bangor? The Veterans Administra on has the Bangor CBOC (Community Based Outpaent Clinic) and the mental health clinic and they also have the Veterans Center and also there is the Rural Mobile Health Clinic that rotates between three different sites—Dover-Foxcro , Bingham and Jackman. Their schedule rotates and changes. Every other week or so they are up here in the Dover area and then the next week they’ll be in Bingham and then the next week they’ll be in Jackman.


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Former SAC airman and Air Force JAG turned priest late in life A summarized version of this interview provided by this media service was published by Moosehead Ma ers November 9, 2010. Throughout the interview, Father Rob shaped, boiled and baked fresh bagels in the kitchen of his condominium overlooking Moosehead Lake. BIG MOOSE TOWNSHIP—You were born where? Staten Island. That’s one of the five boroughs of New York City: [Staten Island], Manha an, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. The catholic school you graduated from was what? St. John’s Prep[atory] School in Danvers, Mass. Class of 1964. And one of my classmates is now the Bishop of Portland. Back then it was Dickie Malone. Now it’s Bishop [Richard] Malone. You began summering at Harford’s Point with your parents. Back in 1960. And then, a er a couple of years of ren ng, they liked it so much they bought a camp and it was home. I grew up with kids around here and knew an awful lot of them. Just home. Were you an only child? No. I have a sister six years younger. She’s in New York. Upon gradua on you thought you might like to go to the University of Maine but they didn’t have an Air Force ROTC program so you went to New Hampshire. I loved airplanes. Part of the reason I loved airplanes is my mother was an opera singer and she would go out on tour all winter long. Two weeks here, two weeks there, back and forth. And the greatest thing in the world was going for a ride to the airport or coming back picking her up at the airport because I

loved looking at the planes. What was your mom’s name? Eileen Farrell [1920-2002]. Father? Robert Reagan. He was a New York City cop. Your mom sounds like she was pre y well known. [A music cri c for The New Yorker magazine said] her voice is to sopranos what Niagara Falls is to waterfalls. And even Maria Callas, when she was asked one day, said she couldn’t compare to Eileen Farrell. So, you went to NH for the ROTC Air Force program… But I s ll come back up here for the summers. What was your major in college? English literature. I graduated and, on the day that I graduated, I was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force. The choice you had was: either you get dra ed into the Army and you do two years, or you voluntarily join the service and I wanted to fly—I wanted to be in the Air Force—that’s why I chose ROTC.


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Do you think if the war hadn’t been going on you would have entered anyway? Was flying an airplane something that appealed to you as a person? That’s a good ques on and I really can’t answer that because the war was going on. And, was there a dilemma in your mind at all over what route to take like there was with some other members of your generaon or was this pre y cut-and-dry? No. Cut-and-dry. Because they had the dra . You had to serve your me. That’s all there was to it. So you graduate. You’re commissioned that moment. Then what? Then I was sent out to California. Got a chance to drive across country on Route 66. Began navigator training at Mather Air Force Base outside of Sacramento, California. But every Air Force Base I have ever been staoned at has now closed. So I went there for nine months’ undergraduate navigator training. And, the way it worked at the me, I think there was twenty of us in the class. Air Force headquarters would send down a list of twenty assignments. And you got to pick your assignment according to your rank and class. And I was interested in B-52s. And so I worked my tail off so I was high enough in the class to take one of the few slots that came through for Strategic Air Command (SAC) navigator bombardier training. So that meant I went from undergraduate navigator training to navigator bombardier training which was another six or seven months at Mather. And then from there I went down in the San Joaquin Valley to Castle Air Force Base in Merced and started B-52 combat crew training which lasted for about three or four months. In between, [I] went to combat crew survival school up at Fairchild Air Force Base [in Spokane,] Washington. And, so at the end of combat troop training in Castle Air Force Base the Air Force did the same thing: they sent down— You have fi een people gradua ng, here are fi een assignments, and

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I was looking for an assignment to Loring [Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine]. It came down. I got it. I was happier than a pig in mud. So I was just absolutely delighted. I got sta oned up at Loring and every opportunity I had I was down here [at Moosehead Lake] —winter, summer. What me period and which years were you at Loring? Let’s see. 1970 through 1974. And what did that consist of, your rou ne? Two different things. One was pulling nuclear alert. We’d go on alert seven days at a me; seven days, seven nights living in the alert facility. Had the B-52 out there loaded with nuclear weapons. I had assigned targets. And we were just wai ng for the alarm to go off, you know, because it was the Cold War and that’s how we fought it. But then got called away to, instead of going through a normal rota on of doing a period of bombing Vietnam and then coming back, the Air Force decided to put on a big push. So what we did was we downloaded nuclear weapons from our plane, we took our plane and flew it nonstop from Loring to Guam, and were there for about three months flying bombing missions—conven onal bombing missions—out of Guam and then I got called back to the States because the Air Force was developing a new type of guided missile. We call it the SRAM, short range a ack missile, which was the predecessor of the cruise missile. It was a standoff weapon. So, instead of having to fly over a target and drop a gravity bomb, we had this— They were refi ng the B-52, installing— We could carry it under the wings or in a rotary launcher in either the forward or the a bomb bay. These guided missiles where you program the missile in-flight and, before you get to the target, you can take the target out. So that increased the likelihood of our being able to complete our mission in not having to fly over— So, in other words, an extremely heavily defended target we can take it out at a distance.


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How many people were on these flights? There were six on a B-52 crew. And you were the navigator. Navigator/bombardier. And what are the others? Pilot, co-pilot, gunner, electronic warfare officer and radar navigator. But by the me we got called back, I had graduated from crew navigator to instructor navigator to a flight examiner and now I was put in the role of test navigator. So I was working with Boeing. What year was that? [19]72. And this was to make sure that their equipment operated correctly? No. Boeing had just developed this missile. We were the first Air Force crew that ever launched this missile. We’d go down to White Sands Missile Range. I have a picture in the other room. And we’d take the missiles up to the North Pole. We’d fly out through Bermuda Triangle. Just high al tude. We’d go down the hills of Kentucky and fly through some of the treetops down there. Tes ng the capabili es of what can the missile do and what the crew can do and how the crew should do it. So we got to write the book on how to program and launch these missiles. And you mean that literally you helped dra a manual for… Yeah, the checklist. You see, at that me we had three missile systems you could put aboard the B-52. So you had the Quail missile, you had the Hound Dog missile, the SRAM missile, and you had gravity bombs. And each one was different. Those three different missiles had three different— Each had to be programmed individually and there’s a limit as to what one person can do while trying to navigate a plane at treetop level without looking out the window. So that’s the kind of things we were working on. Really interes ng. Really. It sounds mentally challenging. Yeah. It was.

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So that brings us through to 1973. Probably 1974. I liked the Air Force. Wonderful people. Great challenge. But I was seeing too many people that I was flying with put in their 20 years, re re, and then say, ‘What can I do for a living? I have no marketable skills.’ TWA doesn’t drop bombs. Pan Am doesn’t have guided missiles. And they’re going, ‘Well, maybe I can get a job selling insurance or maybe I can get a job selling used cars’ and that was not my idea of— How old were you when you were ge ng some of these vigne es from the older men. They must have been what, 40? No. They would have been about 45. And you were how old? About 25, 26. So that’s when I decided, since I wanted to make it a career, I didn’t want to stay in B-52s. I wanted a [career] field where I could put in my 20 years, walk outside the main gate, and step right into a job. So I— I had always been interested in the law; father


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being a cop, I guess. So I asked to be released from ac ve duty when my ini al, five-year commitment was over, asked to be transferred to the reserves, which I was, and I used the GI bill and went to law school at Indiana University in Bloomington and completed law school, got my license to prac ce and then came back on ac ve duty as an Air Force JAG [Judge Advocate General]. What year did you graduate from law school? [19]79, I believe. And, did you operate out of a certain city? Yeah, I was assigned to Pla sburgh Air Force Base in upstate New York not too far away from the Canadian border. It was another SAC base. So a lot of the guys that were flying the FB-111s I had known from by B-52 days. And the interes ng assignment I had there is the 1980 winter Olympic games were being held up at Lake Placid and Air Force was tasked with providing support. And so they sent me away for an -terrorist training and I became part of a counter-terrorism task force that worked for a year with all the alphabet soup of federal agencies in preparaon for the winter Olympics and security. And the reason you need a lawyer on the team is federal law, Posse Comitatus Act, where the military cannot enforce civilian laws. Now, a er 9-11 [Sept. 11, 2001] that was changed. That’s why you could see military people in airports. But at the me [in 1980] it was very clearcut. Posse Comitatus meaning the old sheriff’s— No. The military cannot enforce civilian laws. There’s a— Complete break. So one of the jobs I had was to make sure that we were able to give the best support possible, going right up to that line without crossing over the line. And now we were authorized— We could give execuve protec on, for example. And if the Israeli team, Olympic team, if they considered them to be execu ves, well then we could provide security for them. And lo and behold, we had

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them land an airplane at our base in the middle of the night and we were prepared to provide the security that was needed. Because a previous Olympics [the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich], the Baader-Meinhof, the German terrorist group, had taken Israeli hostages. One of the interes ng things—as I say, we weren’t too far away from the Canadian border—[was], that very year, as we were working on providing security and preparing for the Olympics, one of that group of terrorists got caught coming across that border. [It was also at this me that my] health started to deteriorate. Shortly a er the Olympics? No. During the whole thing. During my tenure as an Air Force JAG. What period, up un l when, did you remain an Air Force JAG? I’m not sure what I had for breakfast. It was in the [19]80s. It didn’t spill into the ’90s? It was the early Eigh es and it started out with my lungs collapsing spontaneously. In the courtroom, driving? I was si ng at my desk one morning and all of a sudden I had excrucia ng chest pains. Couldn’t catch my breath. Heart a ack? I don’t know. Was there anyone to help you? No. And I was in a corner office. But I was able to holler and get some help. They called the ambulance, took me to the base hospital. They took a look and said we can’t do anything for you so they sent me to downtown Pla sburgh to their hospital and they did every test in the book trying to figure out what’s wrong with this guy. They all came back scratching their heads. And finally they no ced in one of the chest x-rays that one of my lungs had collapsed. So that’s when they cut me open, put in a chest tube and reinflated the lung. Then that started to happen on a more frequent basis. No warning, no nothing. Just, bam, right out of the blue. As a ma er of fact, they even sent me down


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to Bethesda Naval Hospital and they couldn’t figure it out down there. But it finally got to the point where I was spending too much me in the hospital and they said you really no longer physically qualify to remain on acve duty. ‘Do you want us to appoint an a orney to help argue your case?’ No. You don’t need to because there’s no defense. You got me. And so in the same week I got, from the base personnel office, two messages: One message came from Washington saying we’re sorry but we’re going to have to give you a medical discharge because you are no longer fit for duty; and the next day or so I got another message from Air Force personnel headquarters saying, congratula ons, you’ve been promoted to major and we’re transferring you to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey to be the JAG down there. I got some good news for you and I got some bad news for you. Okay. So I got medically discharged. So I went to the VA. They said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with you.’ So that was that. When I got out of the Air Force I came back to Maine, of course, because that was home. [I considered being an] a orney in Greenville [but] there [was] already one here and [having] a second a orney [meant there was] just no way you could make a living in Greenville. So I did the next best thing. I went to work at Maine Mari me Academy as their JAG. Because they didn’t have any physical requirements. And as I was doing that, they one day asked me, ‘You know, we really need a personnel director. Would you be willing to take that job on as well?’ I said, sure. And then they developed a graduate program and they said, ‘Would you be willing to teach in the graduate program?’ And I said, sure. Because I had picked up an MBA at the University of Maine. Then they said, ’We need a director of con nuing educa on, would you take that on?’ It’s a state ins tu on. You know how state ins tu ons are funded. The work needs be done. So you do what you go a do. I was commi ed to the Academy

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and I did it. And it seemed to be going along pre y good for awhile. Things had kind of stabilized. But then I collapsed again. But I also, by this me, developed some arthri s. Thir es. Arthri s. And so they sent me to a rheumatologist in Bangor, did all the tests, and he said, ’Don’t know what it is. You either have a very common symptom of a very rare disease or you have a very uncommon symptom of a very standard disease.’ Now, one of the doctors referred me to a pulmonologist. Take a second look at the lungs. He was in Bangor. Went into his office. Went through the usual rou ne. Sat so long in the wai ng room, you know, then they put you in an exam room then you sit there some more. And finally when he came into the examining room he took a look at me and he went outside the door and he asked the nurses, ’Do any of you have a tape measure?’ I’m saying to myself, what kind of guy is this? What did I let myself in for? Came back and said, ’Stretch out your arms.’ I said okay, and stretched out my arms. And he put the tape measure and he went from finger p to finger p. And then he measured from the sole of my feet to the top of my head. And my arm spread way exceeded my height. You remember Michelangelo’s drawing of the male figure standing there in the perfect circle? Okay, well, I can’t fit in that perfect circle. My arms are so much longer. And that is one of the manifesta ons of an extremely rare gene c disorder called Marfan Syndrome. So they sent me down to [a] gene c clinic at EMMC and there they finally got to the root of what the problem was. I had Marfan Syndrome which meant that all of the connec ve ssue in my body was defec ve. And that’s why my lungs kept collapsing. That’s why my arms were so long. That’s why, as a kid, I always hated ge ng sweaters at Christmas because the sleeves would come up to here [he points to a place on his forearm]. My fingers are much longer. And that’s when they found I had mitro valve pro-


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lapse which is one of the manifesta ons. Arthri s is another manifesta on of it. So finally, all of this, what had been mysteries for years, [he slaps his hands together], finally came together. What was the name of the doctor? I don’t remember. Was it great to know, at least? Yes. Put a name on it. M-A-R-F-A-N. He was a

French physician late 1800s who originally iden fied the disease and there’s no cure for it. There’s nothing you can do for it except monitor. And with me the way it has worked with me its been lungs collapsing, emphysema, mitro valve prolapse, arthri s and a couple of other things came in completely out of le field [that] had nothing to do with the Marfan’s, but— But you’re s ll 30 years old when you got this disease. No I was 40 when I got the diagnosis. You had been at MMA the whole me? Yeah. From age 30? I think I was there for about eight years. Do you remember when you le ? Yes, when the doctor said, you know— What year was that? ’88 or ’89. When I knew I was going to have

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to pack it in for good, [I] moved back up here. Got a place out in Beaver Cove and lived there. And you’re not in the ministry yet. You haven’t become a priest. No. You’re living in Beaver Cove, you’re overqualified, and your health fails you. I was selectman when I was up there. I filled in as assistant tax collector. Oh, I was also road commissioner, too. Yeah, again. Small town. You do what you have to do to keep the taxes low. That’s what keeps the people happy. And one of my best friends—we were on the same bomber crew together—he had re red and he had moved down to Florida and for years he had been a er me, ‘Oh you go a come down, you go a come down, you go a try it, you go a try it.’ Finally, I think it was around 1990, no 1995, I said okay. The only mes I’ve been to Florida were brief visits to Air Force bases, so I don’t know any of the resorts. ‘Well, what do you recommend?’ And he said one town in the middle of Florida called Mount Dora. That’s a nice, quiet li le town north of Orlando. And he arranged for me to rent an apartment for a couple of months. Came down. And day before Christmas, ‘Hey this is different.’ Christmas me. Short-sleeved shirt. Interes ng. And spent a couple of months there and said [to myself], ‘You know, I don’t feel too bad. Maybe there is something.’ So I moved down to Florida. Health kind of stabilized. It’s not bad, it’s not good. And it was while I was in Florida I was ac ve in the


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church. As a layperson. Catholic church. You’d been Catholic all your life. Born cradle Catholic. Were you always going to Mass this whole me? No. When I was in the Air Force I had a tough me. I had a tough me going out one day and killing people and coming back the next day and— So I just kind of— I couldn’t make it mesh so I kind of gave up on it. So this is during the war. Yep. Was this while you were based in Guam and flying over Vietnam? Yep. I kind of fell away. Not being able to reconcile the spiritual side of you with the work, the orders. Did that create, a block— Had a job to do and what I was doing was saving American lives. And that— And this was a three-month period of your

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life? Yeah. And that was it, you didn’t have to drop bombs more than that three months? Only because I got called back for that missile program. I was called back by the commander in chief of SAC. You weren’t dropping just bombs— Yeah. Or napalm or is that considered a bomb? No. Just 750-pound iron bombs. And it was through more than just Vietnam? Was it into other parts of Asia, or was it within the territorial boundary of Vietnam? No comment. Is it present in your mind a lot like it was yesterday? What really brought it home [was this:] a er I was ordained to the priesthood, the first parish I was assigned to had two different congrega ons. Totally different. One was the normal, run-of-the-mill people who lived in the area. And the other congrega on were all Vietnamese and they had a Vietnamese pastor but they had no church. So they used our church. And one Sunday the pastor was unavailable, and they asked me to fill in for him. So that was really a mind blower standing up in the sanctuary facing 400 Vietnamese. And I thought, how ironic. I started off my life ge ng paid to kill Vietnamese and here I am towards the end of my career ge ng paid to save their souls. Where was that parish? In Orlando, Florida. So you were going down there finding out you could be in your shirtsleeves at Christmas, your health was be er, maybe your arthri s was alleviated— Nothing got be er but it stabilized. It wasn’t ge ng any worse and that’s the best I could ask for. And what was the point at which you decided, ‘You know what, I think I’m going to go into the priesthood?’ One day I was a ending [he pauses] Mass


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and there was a visi ng priest and as part of his homily [he asked a rhetorical ques on:] would you be willing to drop everything and follow Christ? And I heard myself saying, ‘Yeah.’ [He looks around.] ‘Who said that? Who said that?’ Meaning it was like a voice that you didn’t think was yours? It just— I’d never given it a thought in my life. Never ever. Being a priest. Because in my younger days my main priori es were fast planes, fast cars, fast women and good Bourbon. But okay, if I answer that ques on yes, knowing that there’s such a priest shortage, I just can’t say yes and do nothing about it. I have to act on that response. So I contacted the voca ons director for the Orlando diocese because that’s where I was living at the me. And asked them if—I think was 52 there, 51—and asked them if they would accept an older candidate as a priest. And he emailed back and said, ‘Sorry, we don’t accept anyone over the age of 40.’ So, I said, there’s Miami. Let me email the voca onal director of Miami, see what they say. So I email the voca ons director in Miami. And they told me the same thing. And he called me back and said, ’We have a cutoff age of 45 if you’re well known by a pastor and you know he’s willing to vouch for you and make a very strong recommenda on.’ So that got me thinking. If Miami has a li le wiggle room, maybe Orlando might. So I went back and contacted the Orlando voca ons director and said, ‘Is your rule about not accep ng anyone over the age of 40, is that wri en in stone or is that nego able?’ He said, ‘No, it’s absolutely wri en in stone.’ And that’s when my pastor said. ‘Look, go talk to the Bishop.’ And I thought, ‘Talk to the Bishop?’ ‘Yes, go talk.’ ‘Couldn’t I just write him a le er?’ ‘No. Call up his secretary and make an appointment and go talk to the Bishop.’ ‘Well what am I going to say? Hello Bishop, nice to meet ya, I think your policy s nks?’ That was the bo om line. And the very next day I got a

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phone call from the secretary to the vocaons director. Apparently I was no longer too old and I could now submit my applica on. The applica on was a lengthy process. It’s months of— You fill out a long ques onnaire. You write a long autobiography. Le ers of reference from pastors and priests that know you. You have to go through a psychological examina on. A full background check by the FBI. And then you have to meet with the voca ons commi ee which were seven people located in various ci es and towns throughout the Orlando diocese. And you had to make an appointment with each one and go spend an hour, answering their ques ons. All of this informa on would be gathered in and every so o en the voca ons commi ee would meet and decide which poten al candidates they would accept and which they would reject. I remember one of the members of the voca ons commi ee. Never came right out and said it, in so many words, but her ques ons were all focused on, ‘Are you sure you really want to be a priest or are you just having a midlife crisis?’ I came right out and said, ‘Look, if I was having a midlife crisis it would involve a blonde and a red sports car. It would not involve a vow of celibacy and the priesthood.’ So, lo and behold, they accepted me and I entered the seminary. It was St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary [in Boynton Beach, Florida]. There are seven dioceses in Florida and they, collec vely, own this one seminary. So they send the priests from all the dioceses through that seminary. It was a six-year program. How does this process of trying to become a priest and then training to become a priest compare to things like Air Force training or trying to get into law school or prac cing law? It doesn’t compare to anything. You’re answering a call. It does not compare to anything. But all I knew is I said yes, I was going to carry through with it. And if they said I’ve got to live in this li le dorm room for six


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years, well, so be it. And during the Fall of my— Well, first of all, let me back up. One year was to be a pastoral year where you leave the seminary, you’re assigned to a parish in your home diocese and you spend a year there working in the parish and being evaluated by the pastor. But the year I was supposed to begin my pastoral year they said well we’re going to postpone that and keep you going right through the program at the seminary. So, instead of going on the pastoral year I went into the next year of studies. And that Fall—I think around October—I got a message from the rector that he wanted me to come to his office. It’s like going to the principal’s office. ‘What did I do now?’ You know. That’s the kind of anxiety. The rector? I must have done something. And [he] called me into his office and said, ‘I just got off the phone with your Bishop and he says that he wants to ordain you a transi onal deacon at Christmas me and ordain you a priest in May.’ And if I wasn’t a priest I’d say I just about s--- in my drawers. I had no inkling. He’d never asked me anything about that, [I] never expected, never an cipated anything like that. I was totally flabbergasted. So what it boils down to is, instead of comple ng six years of seminary, I was there for four, the Bishop pulled me out, ordained me and put me to work. What was your first parish? St. Charles Borromeo in Orlando. Did you go somewhere else a er that? No. Because it’s while I was there— You see, all during seminary my health, it was flatlined. But before I went in I told them I had Marfan Syndrome and I brought them all the literature from the Na onal Marfan Foundaon and said here— Oh, and another requirement was a physical. So they knew it going in. But I was convinced that things had go en as bad as they were going to get and it wouldn’t get any worse. But then they started ge ng worse once I really got into working full me ac ve ministry. And its at that me when—

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There was not enough of me le func oning so that I could really perform the du es of a priest. And when I knew I was going to have to re re, I came back to Maine. And that was when? I want to say 2005. And you were at that parish for how many years? About two, two and a half. And while you’re here you’re just serving part- me or your affilia on with Holy Family started in ’05? I’m— When you’re ordained a priest you take a vow of obedience to your Bishop. So I was a priest of the Orlando Diocese no ma er where I lived. I was a priest of the Orlando Diocese. But when I moved up here, you know, I had really no connec on and I asked if I could be, in other words, incardinated. Excardinated from the Orlando Diocese and incardinated in the Portland Diocese. And both Bishops were gracious enough to say yes and so my status here is as a re red priest for the Diocese of Portland. But the only reason I could ask to come up here is because the VA provides all my healthcare and I’m no financial burden on the Church. And, yeah, I help out down here [at Holy Family]. During the Summers, I have Mass every weekend in Rockwood in the St. Joseph’s Chapel and I’m also the chaplain for the [Greenville] police department, the fire department, the [Cecil R. Cole Post 94] American Legion. [I] do, every five weeks, a prayer service at the [Charles A. Dean] Nursing Home. And, two weeks ago, the pastor, there was a death in the family, so he asked me to take the Sunday Vigil Mass which begins at four o’clock on a Saturday. I said sure. And he also had a moose permit. And Monday was the beginning of hun ng season. So he said, would you do me a favor and take the 11 o’clock Mass in Jackman on Sunday so my brother and I can go out scou ng for a— So I went up to Jackman on a Sunday and took the 11 o’clock Mass.


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One of the Choisin Few, Choisin Frozen

An edited version of this story provided by this media service was published by the Bangor Daily News in the Veterans Day supplement on November 11, 2010. MILO—Every war is so different. In Korea, the enemy was the communists and the cold. Hanford “Sonny” Burton survived both, even Chosin Reservoir. He is one of the Choisin Frozen, the Chosin Few.

Sonny Burton in a foxhole

At one point, they went three days without food and crawled for miles on their bellies at nigh me in condi ons so cold— 40 to 50 below zero—they could not dig foxholes. “A er you get so cold, you want to sleep,” recalls the 80-year-old veteran. “That’s part of the ba le, to fight that off, not go to sleep—do whatever you need to do to keep awake.” One member of his company zipped into his blanket sleeping bag and never woke up. As mail clerk, Burton had to write K.I.A. on his mail. Burton belonged to the Pioneer and Ammuni on Squad, HQ Co., 2nd Bn, 17th Inf. Regt., 7th Div. During that Nov.-Dec. 1950 period their winter gear was a field jacket over layers of tshirts. Burton wore four layers of socks that would become drenched, get wrung out, and be put back on me and again. The troops melted snow for water. They did not get real sleep. They shared a foxhole with a buddy and took turns keeping watch. On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, they had frozen fruit cocktail. When they came upon C-Ra ons le in abandoned trucks, they sat on them to thaw them out. The thrill of a hot shower would not be felt un l Christmas Eve a er being evacuated from Hungnam to Pusan. Their ranks were ‘frozen’ too. Though Burton was ac ng corporal in-theatre, no one received a promo on a er the outbreak of the conflict. By the me he was


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in the other direc on". During that me, Burton and his men came upon the bodies of ten Marines in an open area who had been blindfolded and shot. Being captured or surrendering meant certain death. During the withdrawal, troops were le for dead. Survivors relied on themselves to make it back more than 70 miles toward the evacua on point on the coast. Today, the Choisin (Changjin) Reservoir area is said to be A South Korean Army soldier is on the le . beau ful, according to Korean discharged 24 June 1952, he was s ll a Pvt. E- veterans from the Bangor area who have returned. They invited Burton to join them, but 2. The “unexaggerated truth about our he is not interested. “There are too many figh ng prowess,” wrote 7th Div. command- bad memories.” ing general, Maj. Gen. C.B. Ferenbaugh in a le er Burton has among his documents, is that “our GI can lick the hell out of a dozen commies any me, any where.” He was 18 when he enlisted in January 10, 1949, received the highest score on the rifle range during basic training in the whole ba alion and, upon arrival in Japan, was authorized to be mail clerk March 18, 1950 because he did not drink or play poker and was therefore considered dependable. By the first week in July, the 24th Div. had gone ahead to Pusan. The 7th Div. remained in Japan to train South Korean augmentees before going to Inchon in the wake of the Sept. 15 landing by the Marines. The amphibious landing at Iwon began the successful drive to the Yalu River by the 7th Div., which was among the only American forces to make it to the Yalu. The massive encounter with Chinese forces to the southwest caused the 7th Div. to shi Sonny Burton (middle) and two of his best down to the Choisin Reservoir to assist the buddies: African Americans from Birming1st Marines. The only op on was, as the 1st ham, Ala., and “West ‘by God’ Virginia.” Marines commanding general put it, "a ack


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Former medic applauds more sensi ve VA culture

A version of this story supplied by this media service was published by The Eastern Gaze e on November 6, 2010. MILO—Women veterans are increasingly exercising their right to health care benefits through the Veterans Administra on. VA volunteer Lorraine Schinck of Milo, who processes medical iden ty cards for applicants, is seeing more women enter the VA medical system. She explains it is, in part, as a result of loss of private health insurance due to spiraling costs, job loss, or termina on of coverage through a spouse following divorce. The increased female presence in the VA system is having the effect of changing a system built with men in mind. The VA is showing slow, but sure, signs of being more sensive to women’s issues. Helping raise awareness of women’s veterans’ rights, issues and benefits is the Women Veterans of America (wvana onal.org). Schinck, a veteran, is a member. Schinck was aware of military service the whole me she was growing up. Her father, Rosaire Schinck, served in WWII. Three maternal uncles all served: Clive Royal (WWII, Korea and Vietnam); Edward E. Royal (WWII, Korea and Ethiopia); Richard Royal (Korea and two tours of Vietnam). Her

half brother, Sheldon Royal, now 64, was a Green Beret, did three tours of Vietnam and received three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He has had a hun ng and fishing supply store with an emphasis on tradi onal methods in Pepperell, Mass., since 1973. An aunt was in the WAVES and cousins also served. A er gradua ng from high school in Milo, Schinck entered the service at the age of 19 in November 1966 and served 36 months as a medic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She worked on several different wards there, mostly on cancer wards. On her off hours, it was not uncommon to see a lot of burned and amputated soldiers transferred from combat to Europe then Walter Reed before being forwarded on to local facili es. It was also a period of social unrest. “We were right in the middle of the racial riots during the late 60s. Between that and the war it was not a pleasent place to work or live.” The shi s were typically twelve days on—with three split shi s—and then two days off. Schinck served in the Womens Army Corps (WAC) which was disestablished as a separate corps of the Army by Congress in 1978. As a medic at Walter Reed, she was not issued trousers, only skirts and, when traveling, was expected to wear dress heels. Only officers in the WAC were allowed to deploy to Vietnam Later genera ons in Milo would iden fy her as a barber (not a beau cian) at Lorraine’s Barber Shop at her home on Park Street, a business she ran for 35 years un l September 2009. For the past nine years she has volunteered for the VA one day a week. At first it was to file medical records, but the VA’s records are now electronic. So they have her do-


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ing iden ty cards that, in some parts of the country, can simply be swiped to iden fy the pa ent when they check in. The more female-friendly shi in the male -dominated VA culture is reflected in the following services that are now covered: “management of acute and chronic illnesses, preven ve care, contracep ve services, menopause management, and cancer screenings, including pap smear and mammograms, and gynecology,” according to its website, at www.publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth. “Maternity care is covered in the Medical Benefits package and referrals are made to appropriate clinicians in the community for services that the VA is unable to provide. Infer lity evalua on and limited treatments are also available.” The VA Medical Center at Togus, Maine also makes a point to be proac ve

The Royal brothers Clive Royal took part in the Normandy invasion in a vessel that had been built in Maine. He had an IQ of 149 and re red as a Warrant Officer IV with 26 years of service. He spent the last ten years of his working life in the State Liquor Store in Milo. Edward Royal was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese a acked and a bullet gouged his scalp, and later was part of the First Army

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in asking women whether they experienced any sexual trauma while in the service. Another sign of the growing public recogni on of the contribu on of women to the armed services is the effort, currently underway, by the Maine Veterans’ Bureau to gather enough dona ons to fund the installa on of a bronze plaque honoring Maine’s women veterans in the State Hall of Flags. More informa on about that cause is at www.maine.gov/dvem/bvs. To learn more about VA benefits eligibility, and to get help filling out the VA Form 10-10 health care applica on, contact the Bureau of Veterans Services at 44 Hogan Road, Bangor (941-3005) or go to the i nerant office at Penquis on 40 North Street in Dover-Foxcro held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Thursday and fourth Tuesday of each month.

Honor Guard Company at of the brothers. Richard Royal (whose Fort Jay, Governor’s Island, New York. His appearance real name was Valen ne) was impeccable even at the enlisted in 1951 and, a er nursing home in Lewiston re-enlis ng in 1954, was a where he never went into member of the Honor Guard public without his shoes serving at the Tomb of the shined, clothes pressed and Unknown Soldier, followed not a hair out of place. He by ar llery assignments in re red in 1965 as a major Korea and two tours of Viwith over 25 years of service etnam where, helping a and a number of medals. In comrade, he took 53 fragre rement he spent five ments of mortar and handyears documen ng the Roy- grenade shrapnel, and real family genealogy in two covered. In Germany, he binders (one of text and an- was diagnosed with cancer. other of photos indexed to A promo on to Warrant the text), Officer IV was pending, but with details he died before receiving it. of the mili- His grave is at his home tary service base in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Edward Royal took the me to compile the family history, including details of military service, in two thick binders; one for the narra ve and one of photos.


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Published here are the presenta ons of Ron Oldfield, PA, Maj. (P) USAR followed by those of Rev. LTC Peter E. Bauer MS, USAR. They are preceded by a short set of comments (supplied to Penquis Review and intended for publica on) on PTSD and authored by the Maine Army Na onal Guard’s clinical psychologist, Gretchen Hegeman. None of the presenters were paid to speak at the October workshop. LTC Bauer used personal frequent-flyer miles to travel to Maine. Even AdCare Educa onal Ins tu on of Maine, Inc., the organiza on that coordinated con nuing-educa on credits for the professionals, donated their services.


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What civilian providers can do for service members By Gretchen B. Hegemen, PhD, LCPC Taking care of service members and their families is a genuine concern in many communi es. Honoring them for their service while acknowledging it will take resources and me to reintegrate and cope with combat opera onal stress is important. We all need to address the need for addi onal me and training to reset the military-wired brain from “Ba lemind” to “Homefront.” Based on the Triune Brain Model and neurophysiology, military members have trained, “muscle memory” of opera ons (Army’s “Ba lemind” program) and combat stress. This training is necessary for military members to survive combat situa ons and combat opera onal stress is a normal reac on to life-threatening situa ons. The difficulty comes when the same amount of me and training isn’t done to reset the brain following deployment. It is even more pronounced for the reserve component, the “ci zen soldiers,” who are ac vated to combat then returned to home and work—being with family and civilians who don’t understand; s ll under the Ba lemind influence; and no ba le buddy to have their back. They are forced to find help for themselves in their own communi es, as they don’t live on base. Studies reveal that service members have a high degree of perceived s gma associated with seeking behavioral health services. They worry about being seen as weak or that their co-workers will have less confidence in them if they are in behavioral healthcare. They also worry that seeking services would harm their careers or their ability to gain security clearance. But they also struggle with civilian

providers understanding them and knowing how to treat their symptoms. (Assessment of service members differs substan ally from other forms of assessment. It is not a formal clinical interview or diagnos c workup. The focus should be less on informa on gathering, and more on allowing the combatant a chance to talk while quietly screening their strengths, coping skills, and symptoms.) It is therefore vital that services be low-barrier and easily accessible. Na onal research indicates that, as in Maine, most are not seeking services. Common signs and symptoms of combat opera onal stress include physical (sleep disturbance/ insomnia, upset stomach/ diarrhea, increased arousal/ hyperalert, swea ng, headache, rapid heart beat/breathing, exhaus on, tremors/feeling uncoordinated), mental (disrupted a en on and concentraon, difficulty with decision-making and problem-solving, intrusive memories or distressing dreams), behavioral (irritability or angry outbursts, aggressive behavior, crying, pressured speech, isola on, impaired work performance), and emo onal (anxiety/fear, numbness/apathy, sadness/grief/loss, guilt/ shame, anger, mood instability). For assistance with these symptoms, call: Maine Military Family Assistant Center 1-888 -365-9287, VA-Togus OIF/OEF Coordinator Teresa Clark (207) 623-8411, Maine 211, Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647. Resources on the Internet include Maine 211 (211maine.org), Defense Centers of Excellence (dcoe.health.mil), a erdeployment.org, outwardbound.org/index.cfm/do/ cp.veterans and the VA-PTSD Center (ptsd.va.gov). Authors who have wri en books on this subject include Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Dr. Ed Tick.


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Trea ng combat opera onal stress in-theatre Ronald Oldfield opened his presenta on by playing an extended segment from the Normandy invasion scene from the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan before star ng his Power Point presenta on. It gives a good perspec ve of what it’s like to be in combat even though, without being there, you really don’t know what it’s like to be there. But as [clinical psychologist for the Maine Army Na onal Guard, Gretchen Hegeman, PhD LCPC,] was talking [about] earlier [in this same seminar] it shows you all those signs of what’s going on with the situa on: the shaking, the purging, the vomi ng. Of course, they don’t show anybody defeca ng their pants or anything like that. But the significance of that, for those of you who are, historically, not inclined, is that was the beach at Normandy. That was, by far, the most significant military event in, I believe, the world’s history. Sixty-eight thousand people died in twelve hours on that beach. There is no higher killed-in-ac on count, on record, and there’s no more significant, I believe, element of combat; doesn’t even compare [to the bombs dropped on Japan in terms of numbers killed]. I even used the quote— In the middle of Fallujah which, for those of you who aren’t inclined to Iraq war history, Fallujah was a significant Muslim city that’s in the middle of probably the edge of the Syrian desert where Marines in 2004 and 2005 had to take the city back from insurgents. There was street-tostreet figh ng every day for four-and-a-half months. I was sheltered behind a wall with a young Marine who said, “This is really f----up, sir.” And I looked right at him and I said, “Could be worse. We could be on Normandy.” He sat there looking at me blankly for a moment and then he kind of chuckled and he said, “You know what? You’re right. This ain’t so bad.” So, what I’m going to try to do is open up with a prayer and open up with a funny. This

Ronald Oldfield, PA, Maj. (P), USAR is my prayer. This is “A Soldier’s Prayer” [by Medal of Honor recipient Col. Lewis L. Mille (1920-2009), born in Mechanic Falls, Maine]. It’s been around a long me. It actually goes over the fact that— The significance of this, to me, is the fact that it’s a soldier’s prayer, which means this is an individual who survived a significant event through his life and is now thinking about himself and others in the future. This is my funny, my funny for this talk [shows a cartoon]. Yes, this is the Afghan terrorist human bomb class. Pay a en on because he’s only going to show them once. I’m going to talk today, to help you be er understand what happens in the theatre in combat: What happens with ba lefield assessment, how we treat and take care of combat stress over there. [Shows a slide of parachute jump.] This is probably the last para-


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to early 2009. We actually returned May 22 of 2008. Two thousand six hundred personnel. We covered 212,869 kilometers of road with an average of 670 bombs per month and 130 close opera ons. Combined op[era on]s eliminated 18 bomb-making cells which means we eliminated 18 factories and we took out, actually, several other individuals. Completed our rota on without a loss of life. This was a significant event for me because that was the first me I had deployed and not lost anybody. The significance of this rota on also was I was the only medical officer assigned to the task force. Normally, as a PA we go with another doctor. It’s a doctor-PA combina on. For this deployment, I went by myself. I was the PA [and] the surgeon. And I also wound up covering Ramadi as being the senior medical officer in the west side of the country of Iraq. That’s a BAS (Ba alion Aid Sta on) in Ramadi. That was actually my Ba alion Aid Sta on. Another one of them [was] in [Camp] Speicher [northwest of Tikrit] A SOLDIER’S PRAYER – by Col. Lewis L. Mille and the building right back there is actually Tikrit. I’ve fought when others feared to serve. Theatre care. What does it consist I’ve gone where many failed to go. I’ve lost friends in war and strife, who valued duty of? Combat stress [personnel] consist over the love of life. of these elements: buddies, teams, I’ve shared the comradeship of pain. medics, and Ba alion Aid Sta ons I’ve searched these lands for men that we’ve lost. I’ve sons who’ve served our land of liberty who’d which includes the first-line medical fight to see that other lands are free. officer, which would be the PA. We I’ve seen the weak forsake humanity. I’ve heard fakers praise our enemy. also have elements of combat stress I’ve seen challenged men stand ever bolder. teams (CST) which are usually integratI’ve seen the duty, the honor, the sacrifice of the ed [in] what they call a support-level soldier. Now, I understand the meaning of all lives, area, which means if you have what’s The lives of comrades of not so long ago. called now a brigade combat support So to you who answered du es siren call, may team. That’s a brigade of people, God bless you my son, may God bless you all. roughly 4,000 people and they get a Among the numerous online sites that men on the li le bit of support and everything in late Col. Mille , two are listed here: it. That one group would get a CST h p://www.pbs.org/weta/americanvalor/stories/ which is normally a therapist and mille .html three enlisted people to help him out. h p://www.victoryins tute.net/blogs/utb/tag/colA CSC is a Combat Stress Center which lewis-l-red-mille / means they provide respite care. They run li le programs and stuff going on,

chute jump of my career and, yes, this fat boy dangling in the wind is me [audience laughter]. I had a friend who had a telephoto lense who took pictures for us. [The] experience I’m going to u lize to talk to you today—I have a longstanding career that has mul ple trips and mul ple things—are using two recent deployments. One is Task Force Bowie which was with the Special Opera ons Avia on Regiment. We were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2005 and 2006. We were deployed for 18 months in Special Opera ons in three, separate theatres. We also included the Philipines as a theatre. We flew 3,300 missions. We rescued nine personnel of significance, which included a bunch of the hostages and stuff that you heard about on the news. We captured 71 high-interest targets and we lost seven aircra and 16 personnel. The other one that I went with was Task Force Wildcat. They were responsible in Iraq for clearing the bombs off the roads. We deployed from 2007


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and they’re usually at a Combat Support Hospital level or what we call a corps level. They’re usually located on a large FOB [Forward Opera ng Base]. Speicher, a large FOB which is about roughly 8,000 people; and Bala, which was roughly about 15,000 people in the center to go out of country. Level Four care consists of being evacuated to Germany to a hospital to a four-brick-wall hospital and means you need extensive care. These were my bodyguards while I was in Iraq. These were the guys who took me around the country. This is what a FOB looks like. Folks live in these buildings. Yes, it s ll does rain in the desert. These are the shelters that [Gretchen Hegeman] was talking about earlier [with regard to] about taking cover. This is what’s called a CP. This is outside, in the streets. This is a street in Iraq, what’s le of a building in Iraq, and this is where two teams are actually staying. And obviously this is out in the community. The big part about [being] out in the community is buddy selfcare. We have changed, in the past five years, the way we take care of our soldiers. All the way back in the beginning almost as far as [ancient] Troy, its been known that combat stress exists, that people have melancholy or you just change the name. By being put under these circumstances they develop symptoms that cause them difficulty [with] dealing with their day-to-day tasks. And what we’ve done is actually start with something called ba lemind, [which] was what we went into the current conflicts with. It mostly addressed telling the soldiers: don’t go home and beat your wife; don’t go home and drink alcohol; and don’t go home and break the law. And there were short, li le video blips that they watched and were shown. That essen ally, was the prepara on we gave them to go into combat [with] and to come home from combat [from]. Now we’ve changed this. The new topic that has begun and really picked up speed here in the past couple of years is what

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they are calling the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program where we’re teaching these folks ahead of me, as Gretchen described to you earlier where she was talking about the brain and reac ons to stress. We’re teaching these soldiers that. We’re telling them this is what’s going to happen to you. We’re providing them with coping mechanisms. We’re teaching them to take care of themselves, to be er care for themselves ahead of me so when they get there they also know what the signs and symptoms of having trouble are. Buddy self-care also involves rou ne training on stress which means what’s good about stress. Being under stress—a li le bit of stress—makes us the greatest people we are. We perform above and beyond. Too much stress and we start to lack in performance. We start to have physical and mental signs that degradate our performance. We are now teaching them about this. Team-building skills is where we take those individuals [and, at] the me you come into basic training you get what’s called a “ba le buddy”. It’s just like being in high school. You get a best friend. But the military gives it to you. And you laminate in misery together through training and then when you get where you’re going you get another best buddy who they assign to you and you laminate in misery again together. And we teach them all these things and their buddies: you take care of your buddy. Now we move up to the team level where we actually take a bunch of buddies, put them together and turn them into soldiers in a team that’s going to perform an opera on on the ba lefield, whether it’s to drive supplies to another place or whether it’s to go downtown, kick doors in, and kill bad guys. So we take these people and we use team-building skills to be er educate them on what’s going to happen. To watch each other’s “six”. The six term means my back. You watch each other’s six. In team building skills, they watch each other’s six. Adap ve skills and coping skills are taught at the team level. They’re


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taught to think, manage problems and to do it together as a group. So its really important that this group stays together, as you can start to figure here. They build a rela onship. They start knowing what each other is doing. That improves their performance and actually improves their survival odds when you put them into these situa ons. Leadership training. We also teach them to be able to make decisions and we teach them about being a leader and trus ng in your other leadership and we’ll talk about that here in a second. Up un l this point in me and, actually even s ll today, buddy care training didn’t incorporate combat stress. It talked nothing of it. It talked about pu ng a dressing on your buddy, pu ng a tourniquet on your buddy. But it did nothing about his mental bleeding or his mental anguish or problems. They kind of did that together, on their own, anyway in this bonding environment. Joe can talk to his wife on Skype and hear all his problems but hey, guess what, they’re going on a mission in two hours and its probably going to be dangerous and his buddies really need Joe with them. So when they no ce he’s distracted, that’s when they give the support. Combat life savers are actually advanced First Aid people who are just regular combat people like infantrymen or the regular truck driver or the cook who are trained to do a li le more advanced First Aid. They also didn’t get much talk about stress or about combat stress or anything like that. Resilience training. That’s something that the military has been focusing on very heavily here in the past three years because it wasn’t something they were taught. It was presumed. It was a sink or swim environment: those who cannot maintain will be le by the wayside or leave. Team training. We teach them leaderspecific training on recogni on of symptoms, which means we also teach all of the team to take care of each other. We teach the leader of the team to recognize it. The team-building

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exercises like ropes training courses which are problem-solving. They require you to do excessive physical ac vity during the process. They also start working on leaders as far as presen ng with consistency and reliability. When you think about that, if you have to work for somebody where, every me they asked you to do something, you get kneedeep into and they change the whole thing. There’s nothing more frustra ng than that, let alone somebody who you’re working for who, one minute wants this then, no, I want you to go out and clean trash out of the parking lot, no I want you to go over here and clean this refrigerator or whatever. Consistencyreliability has actually been proven in research to decrease combat stress, to decrease PTSD because that gives them a center to focus on, gives them the fact that, not ma er what they’re having to do, they know their leadership’s taking care of them, they know their leadership is reliable, and that’s going to reinforce their ability to do what they need to do. Then these three Rs are what they teach the leadership. Keep the person in their role. Don’t take them away from what they do. Don’t take away their importance. You may not want them to go outside the wire and start engaging people with rifle, but you definitely don’t want to leave them in the rear doing nothing. So you know, Smi y, he’s been having a rough day. He had a bad deal with the wife. We’re just going on a simple reconnaissance. ‘Smi y, why don’t you stay behind and help the supply sergeant, you know, take care of the ra ons for the next week or something.’ That’s giving him purpose. You’re res ng him at the same me, so he actually doesn’t have to be re-exposed for a me period. He gets a recovery moment. Although, to put it literally, most of the folks who live outside the wire over there don’t have a recovery period. They don’t come down un l they come home. And that’s part of the problem is they just can’t get down once they get here. So the rest act is important because sleep


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helps us reset. [Another R is] refer, which means if they’re not ge ng any be er with a li le TLC, it’s me to get them to somebody who can help them a li le more. And we haven’t even touched the medical people yet. Now we’re ge ng to the medical people. So that’s all buddy, leadership, working group— all that stuff. The medical people. Medics— Again, this wasn’t talked about, either. They just didn’t teach it to them. Now we readily incorporate it into their training to recognize and intervene on symptoms because this guy— He’s the first medical person on the ba lefield that’s integrated in the frontline. He’s like an EMT. He comes to the aid of, but he’s living with, these guys every day. So he becomes their clergyman. He becomes their big brother. He becomes their therapist. He becomes their mother. Their father, their sister, their brother. Hopefully not their girlfriend [audience laughter]. Or boyfriend, if you want to say it that way. [The medic] promotes healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms. [Residual laughter.] Moving on. That’s what his purpose in life is to help do is help these guys con nue on and help the other guys realize if somebody’s having a problem, too. Hey guys, you know, Smi y needs some help. We need to take care of him. Because that’s what it turns into. In combat, it’s not about why we’re there. It’s not about poli cs. It’s not about somebody else. It’s about the guy on my le , the guy on might right, my team and what we’re doing. We’re going to accomplish something and we’re all coming home from it in one piece. That’s the major focus. So, enhancing these, that’s the medic’s job. Helping them through their AARs (an AAR is an A er Ac on Report). It’s kind of like a CISD (Cri cal Incident Stress Debriefing) only we call it AAR. Keeps it simple. And they discuss mostly tac cal stuff that they did but they also talked about how they felt about things. They had to shoot somebody they didn’t want to have to shoot. They had to, you know, evacuate somebody who got hurt by

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some other means and that’s what he helps them address, those issues. Encourages the team support. And if something is going wrong that’s not ge ng be er, he refers to someone like myself. Or in areas where you don’t have somebody close by, that Combat Stress Team would be the next person that he would send somebody to. I had people all the way across the country [of Iraq]. If something happened clear across the country and I’m on one side, they’re on the other, that would be something for the medic to do would be to take these people to the stress team. The advantage we had with Task Force Wildcat was we had embedded people. We had embedded people with Task Force Bowie, as well. The Special Opera ons people have their own mental-health and support people because of their mission and their perspec ve on things. And the Task Force Wildcat, because we were blowing people up on a daily basis, we had our own forensic neuropsychiatrist, Major Paul Thompson. He’s a Reservist from Texas. He’s a great guy. And he helped me keep some of my sanity, too. Medics. This is where they start. At the point of injury, when people get hurt, when something happens, they’re the first guy on the scene. Medical officer, which would be me, or whatever doctor or somebody else in there. Our importance [was] in how we took care of these folks with stress. Everybody I saw got taken care of and examined. There are other physical ailments that could mimic some of the symptoms that are going on. I’m not going to rehash every symptom, but: shivering, nausea/vomi ng, inability to sleep. There are several metabolic condi ons that could precipitate those same symptoms and that was somebody’s purpose, to make sure that’s not what’s going on and that it is truly related to something that’s going on as part of combat. My focus [was] how I knew and how I took care of my soldiers’ thought processes, emoons, behavior, and physical symptoms. These


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are how I base my assessment: on whether they can go back out and s ll func on or whether they had to rest or whether they needed to be evacuated out of theatre. In my whole me, two people over a three—roughly a three-year, deployed period—I sent two people back to this country because of a combat-stress-related incident. They both went right to Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]. I saw about ten people a month—easy—who had some kind of combat stress reac on. They had some kind of adjustment disorder. But, again, we don’t try to label them. We try to encourage them: “Hey, you’re having a rough one. We’ve all been there. We need to get you rested, get back in with the guys because they need you.” And the problem is, they don’t come walking in your door saying this is why I’m here. I’m here, not because I think I have PTSD, or I come here because I think I’ve got combat stress. I’m here because my sergeant made me come. I’m here because the medic told me I be er come or he’s gonna tell you that I won’t come. I chased one guy all the way across [the] country once through seven different places to find him and corner him and make him talk to me. Based on all these things, if they can s ll perform, that’s great. We’ll just keep an eye on them. Most of them won’t take themselves out anyway. But they will if they know that they have problems going on that they’re not going to be able to func on. One gunner who came in to see me said, “You know Doc, I’m shaking so bad, I can’t believe it. I’m either going to pull the trigger when I’m not supposed or I’m not going to be able to pull the trigger. I can’t even look down the sights of the gun without it moving all over the place.” [My response was] “Well, you’ve been out quite a bit lately. Let’s give you are rest, let’s give you a break, see if it gets be er. Don’t worry about it. How have you been sleeping? Are you ea ng? Are you taking care—” You go back to those coping mechanisms that— I will tell you that two-thirds of

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the young people who are in the service today have zero. They have zero. No coping mechanisms whatsoever. The military, itself, is not a non-stressful environment. We’re also a regimented environment. So if you don’t come to us with some kind of coping skill whatsoever, you’re probably not going to stay with us very long. Unless, of course, like Gretchen said, you’re a sociopath. Yes, ma’am? [Audience:] Can I just ask you a quick queson? You may. [Audience:] I read an ar cle about a medical officer supplying care for military men bringing personal issues that posed a boundaries challenge. Did you have trouble with that at all?] Well, again, and a good part of this, like [Gretchen] said, a lot of us sleep together. They’re ght environments. So, being able to take a shower, I don’t care who I’ve got to take a shower next to. I’ll take my shower because I don’t get them o en. Then. Now I shower. [Laughter.] But I will tell you, there is an element of provider stress just from taking care of some of these people and some of their problems, not to men on the fact that you have your own problems going on. And did I ever have a trouble with [boundaries] as far as dealing with other people who have these stressors? No. Because, actually, I would even share with them that, yeah, I hear you, you know? My wife called last week. The hot-water heater’s broke, you know. My daughter, they don’t know where she’s at, you know. That kind of stuff I’ll share back with them to let them know that, hey, you’re not alone. We’re all going through this together. Yes ma’am. [Audience:] Does it make it difficult in that sense where you’re seeing guys and you’re trying to help them and stuff but then you’re also involved with them on a different role so it would be like a dual rela onship and how


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does that affect your, sort of, rela ng to them and— You know what I mean?] For the most part, the medic takes on the role [of] being that go-to guy in the team within the unit. If they have someone like myself, that tends to be the role that we take. In general, in the military, the military uses PAs a lot. We’ve been around, and we started in the military. And [with] most of us, the deal was, you were already in the military and we made a PA out of you. So a lot of us have already been sergeants, privates, you know. I was a private in 1983. I’d been in the military. I’d been to my unit 41 days. I got put on an airplane and the next thing I know I’m being pushed out the back of the airplane at 499 feet over an island, [which] I had no idea had even existed, to land on an airfield and get shot at. During that process, talk about physical memory—through jump school they teach you [that] every me you jump out of that airplane, that parachute costs money. So when you hit the ground you roll it back up, fold it up, and bring it back in one piece. If you don’t, they’re going to take it out of your paycheck. Well, if you’re a private and you make $600 a month and that parachutes costs 600 bucks, that’s a whole month’s worth of pay. That parachute’s coming back. So, as a PFC, on the ground, in Grenada, on the airfield, being shot at, I’m rolling up my parachute. [Laughter.] And from off to the side, my platoon sergeant is screaming at me, “Oldfield! Oldfield! What the f--- are you doing? [Laughter.] I’m like, “I’m ge ng my ’chute, sir.” “They are f----ing shoo ng at you! Get down!” Then it came. It’s like that zero zone here where they [in Saving Private Ryan] show you where [the soldier’s] processing stuff but nothing’s clicking. All that’s coming in. It’s like your senses being overwhelmed, you know. And I’m on rote memory. I’m rolling up the parachute. I’m checking my gear. And then I’m looking and the sergeant’s saying they’re f----ing shoo ng at you and then I [sound of bullets whizzing by] am like s---

PENQUIS Review

[Laughter]. The parachute dropped. I had to go back and get my gun. That’s literally how I started. Each person’s experience is different. And the more mes you go through it, it changes even every me. Now, that experience was, yeah, my heart didn’t stop for three days. It was right up here the whole me. I didn’t eat either. I couldn’t eat. I barely peed. [Laughter.] And I was drinking a lot of water. But it was because of that [condi on of] being peaked up. Now, 28 years later, I have adrenal glands that look like two peanuts. [Laughter.] And it takes a lot to get a rise out of me. The defini on of combat and ba le fa gue— [those] are two things that it’s normally called; it was called melancholy; it was called shell shock; you can look all this up online unl the cows come home. Normal condi on occurs in normal people. If you label them they will take it and run with it. [They’ll tell themselves:] “I’m bipolar adjustment disorder,” you know? “I’m going to the state. I’m ge ng disability,” all that stuff. [Audience: As a PA, though, you understand that we have to put that diagnos c code—] When you are seeing pa ents, and, okay, this is off to the side. I’m supposed to be talking about combat stress. But when you’re seeing in somebody, a military person on the outside, the ramifica ons of you saying this person has PTSD [are that] you just changed their life dras cally. No ma er what the government’s telling you, no ma er what the generals are telling you, that is a non-working diagnosis. They get put to the rear with the gear. They don’t get promoted. They don’t get— You just changed their life drama cally. But also if they do have it, its something important to put down. But if you’re seeing somebody within the first six months of them coming home, I’d be hard-pressed to say that that would be the diagnosis you should use. In my prac ce, when I see these guys coming home and they’re having trouble and they’re having issues, I use adjustment disorder, anxiety/depression. That’s the label I use. Be-


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cause, you know what? If it’s short term and again. Because this is not something that’s its something that someone will bite on as far new to medicine. This is not something that’s as ICD-9 [codes], payment, all that stuff. Sure. abnormal. This is— This would be the equivaCombat stress. This comes straight from the lent of my blowing your house up, slashing military one. This is out of war psychiatry, your res, emptying your bank account, kickwri en in 1995, mind you. It’s being revised, ing your dog and kidnapping your wife. All on supposedly, and we’ll see it someday. The pol- the same day. That would be the equivalent of what’s going on for these guys. Their whole icy we use is PIES which is: Proximity. Treat them as close to the unit as world is turned upside down and they’re not possible. Preferably keep them in their unit able to do what it is they need to do and evewith their unit because that’s their support rything about it is overwhelming. This is a group. They know these guys be er than they great quote from [journalist-soldier] Field Marshal [S.L.A.] Marshall: know their own family. But for my own part, I Immediacy. Do [Ba le fa gue would] be reject finally the idea that something right away. the equivalent of my blow- the extraordinary elan of As soon as you no ce ing your house up, slashthat Army in combat there’s a problem, do ing your res, emptying comes from selfsomething proac ve to your bank account, kicking iden fica on of the indido something about it. your dog and kidnapping vidual with the goals of Don’t let them sit. Don’t let them stew, your wife. All on the same his na on in the hour when his life is in danger. you know. Whether it’s day. That would be the That is not the nature of ge ng them just to equivalent of what’s going man under ba le; his open up just a li le bit. on for these guys.” thoughts are as local as is Or whether its ge ng his view of the nearest them a hot meal, a nice ground cover, and unless he feels a solidarirest, all that good stuff. Give them the expecta on that they’re s ll ty with the people immediately around him okay. That they’re s ll able to do their job. and is carried forward by their momentum, They’re s ll important. And keep it as straight- neither thoughts about the ideals of his forward as possible. Don’t, you know, “You country nor reflec ons on his love for his might not go back,” “You might go back”, “You wife will keep him from diving toward the nearest protec on. might—” Straight-shoot them because they’re not Again, as I said, nothing else ma ers when stupid. The whole reason they haven’t come you’re out there. This I got forwarded on to see you is because they’re worried that something— It’s stress con nuum. And somebody’s going to take them out of the there’s a bunch of people [who] talk this side game. And if you think about it that way, if it’s [of the con nuum] where you’re actually— easier for you to relate to football, this is the We’re always in a ready state as far as stress big football. This is the male testosterone goes and when we get a li le bit put upon us, we start reac ng, and some of those reac ons coup de grâce. [Laughter.] The approach to ba le fa gue. Actually, this become mild, they go away, or they just is the way I learned it—the five Rs—as a med- keep— They do okay. We resolve and we get ic a long me ago. Reassurance, Resiliency, back to the ready state. When you’re talking Rest, Restora on [confidence] and Return to about somebody in combat stress you’re lookduty. Again, the same things over and over ing more this side of it where there are more


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persistent symptoms that are considered injured, that take a li le bit more me to get be er and they’re more significant in nature. And they can go from being mild and transient to moderate to severe. And then you’ve got illness which is actually where you put your psychiatric diagnosis. They’re not going to get be er in a short me. Or they already had something. And that’s been even more prominent here lately because, again, there have been even more people being deployed with current diagnoses going. As LTC Bauer will talk about in a minute, I would say forty percent of the people on my last deployment, forty percent of them were taking some form of medica on. And most of them had some form of diagnosis that was already ongoing from something as simple as depression and mild an -depressants to—I had a full-fledged soldier who was s ll on ac ve duty who had been in 2004 involved in an IED a ack in the same ini al town that we deployed her to. She was driving a Humvee vehicle. The bomb went off. Took the majority of her le leg off. Killed the other three people in the vehicle she was in. And le her in the hospital for probably eight-and-a-half months. Now it was 2007 and 2008. She was re-deployed with this engineer ba alion from Hawaii as an engineer personnel (she’s actually part of a bridging company) and sent back to the same town where it actually happened to her. She carried a diagnosis of PTSD. She was on Sertraline. She was on— Oh, she was on a bunch of stuff. That’s the first thing we did was to get rid of a bunch of the stuff that she was on. And then the next thing I did was get her into a job that was more conducive to her. If you don’t have the muscle to the back of your leg, your leg doesn’t quite work right, okay? Even inside a FOB it gets muddy, the terrain is tough and rough and all that kind of stuff. So she would actually hurt every day that she got up and tried to walk to work. So she became somebody’s company clerk. And she did very well, by the way. But she was an example of some

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of what happens. [Audience: This is another ques on. It’s a li le off-topic, but I think you’re the best person to ask.] Sure. [I worked with military folks who are afraid to take medica on because they think its going to make it impossible for them to be in the Guard or to be deployed.] Sure. [That’s not the case?] Well, the current talk is “Do what it takes to take care of these people.” [Good.] The current talk— And we will take that as we go. That’s corporate talk. The mindset of the people out on the road doing the job— What’s actually happening on the road is, “Ohhh, So-and-So’s got PTSD. Well, they can’t do this trip. They can’t shoot. We don’t want him at this suicide class. We don’t want him here. We don’t want him there.” So, truly, are they going to be treated differently? Technically, yes. When the meat hits the road they are going to be treated differently by their peers and by everybody around them. It’s those people becoming more accep ng that’s going to need to happen to make the difference. Because, what I said, this is the big football game, okay? If you can’t catch the ball, we’re not going to put you out there to catch the ball. And that’s part of the problem for people, for those who own up and do what they need to do, you know. Myself included, I have no qualms about saying. March 23, 2008. Significant date in my life? Yes. I was in the town of Tikrit. I was assis ng an injured soldier. I received a grenade blast from behind. I was tossed into a mine-resistant vehicle, crushing a vertebrae in my neck, causing a disc to cause trouble. And, of course, the whole event that went on with this complex ambush culminated in the fact that this was my second deployment within a year’s period. I had been [on a] six-month break. I had dealt previously with twenty traumas per day. Lost


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16 people out of a 45-man company. And now was out here. I came back not the same person. Another significant day in my life is [the] 17th of February 2010. That was the day I started to come home. From the me I got back on the 22nd of May 2008 un l the 17th of February 2010 I was s ll in Iraq and somewhere in between. And it just— A er twentyplus years, not my first rodeo. Not my first deployment. But you never know what’s going to happen to each individual. As I classified it: I put everything in a folder and I close that folder and move on, close that folder and move on. And open those up and deal with them a li le bit at a me. When you’ve got no more folders to throw things into, things become a more complicated. So, I don’t have any qualms saying that. But I will also tell you, I’m si ng— I’m wai ng on a promo on list. And I’ve not been promoted because of it. I [went] through two years of therapy, gained 45 pounds, because I could not do the ac vity, I was taking medica ons, blah, blah, blah— whatever. It’s not an excuse. It happened. So I’m s ll on what’s called the overweight program. That prevents me from being promoted and from going to schools that would get me be er opportuni es. And I’ve also been turned down for going on an ac ve-duty job because I have an unfavorable ac on going on which is the medical board. Now, I’m not saying nothing came back. But nobody in the military has looked at me since. But what the board thing is, “You came back. You had PTSD. You had depression. You’re unfit. So you’re being borked.” So, I don’t have any qualms about sharing this with people because it gives you that picture. Yes, I came out and got help. Like many senior officers who’ve come out and got help, what happens a er we get the help is, right now, they sent me a le er saying, here, re re. Please re re, more or less. So, yeah. The posi ve on the one side, but not necessarily, is the whole rou ne singing that song. But it’s more important that you recover and become a be er person. That’s why I do

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what I do now. I come out. I talk to people. I tell people. I talk [to] soldiers. I tell them. [Audience: But that’s the hesita on of the people repor ng.] Sure. Because of those ramifica ons. And the pure fact that, if I’m not there, my buddies don’t have me and somebody else is doing my job. Somebody else has go a fill in for me and something bad might happen. If something bad happens because I’m not there manning my gun, it’s my fault. [And if you get the treatment…] You hear it. I hear it. I heard it everyday. I heard it everyday when I see guys who just got blown up and they can’t even tell me what day it is but they’re, “Put me back in, coach,” you know? I’m sorry. You’re gonna have to sit out for a couple of days. [And it frustrates the hell out of them.] Oh yeah. But that’s— What they’re doing that [for] is for their buddies, for the team. Not doing it because of the country. Not doing it because the Iraqis are bad, you know? We’re soldiers. We enact what our country desires us to do. We don’t look at [the] poli cal side, poli cal belief. When I put this uniform on, what I believe goes out the window. What my country asks me to do is what I, in turn, take on and do. [But as clinicians, we go a understand, there’s no enmeshment, no boundaries. I mean, you guys are in a very unique situa on rather than being somebody coming in—] Right. Well, as I was showing you before that. Those FOBs? Those are the most secure areas out in those countries. In those areas, those areas are actually being rocketed and mortared on a regular basis. So there is no front-line, rear-line safety place. The safest place— The closest safest place is Germany. [Laughter.] That’s the closest, safest place for these people is Germany. Or home. So, that’s the picture that they have to take. No talk would be complete without— especially medical talk—without some of the ac ve chart. [Laughter.] So this is my ac ve


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chart. And I actually pulled this, again, from what I was talking about before, the War of Psychiatry Book. It was wri en in 1995. And, imagine this in 1995. What was going on? Not a whole lot of anything. A lot of everything that was put into this was concept. The concept was that [there] would be a CST team per brigade and those CST teams would include an MD psychiatrist, two psychologists, and eight technicians. Yeahhh. Okay. That’s not what hit the road when it happened. [Audience: It’s fantasy.] Yeah. A lot of it was conjecture or fantasy but that’s— That was a plan. This was a plan. Now the plan is completely changed. But what I like about this one is it intercedes with the variables that affect stress. And we’re talking about individual factors, unit factors and ba lefield factors. What’s going on in his individual life? What’s going on in his unit? What’s going on in the ba lefield. All these are focused into what happens in a combat situa on. Interceding in this is the command. Or the commander. The people who are mee ng him and telling him what he needs to do. If these people are helping to bring everything to a focus, or they’re helping to disperse that so it’s not so focused for him as in, “I’ve got problems at home. I didn’t get to eat today. Oh my God, we’re in an ambush. Oh, but sergeant So-and-So’s with us. Lieutenant Soand-So’s with us. Hey, this is going to work out okay.” So, instead of it going, “I’m really screwed” it’s going “Oh, things are going to be okay” versus “I’ve got sergeant so-and-so who never knows what he’s doing and I’ve got captain wacko [Laughter] whose gonna get me killed. We’re screwed.” Now his stress factor is going through the ceiling. He’s having everyone of these [symptoms listed on the Power Point slide]. He’s screaming at his buddy, “We’re f-----!” [Laughter]. His cogni ve stuff? He’s not even no cing what’s going on around him. His emo on? Oh, yeah. He’s not angry. He can’t poop his pants because he’s so puckered. And, physically? Forget it. He’s just

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ji ery. During the a ermath, is it broken back down? Can he discern this? Can he reappraise the situa on? That’s what that’s all about. But like I say, every talk has to have an ac ve chart. [Laughter.] [Referring to the next slide,] this goes into those factors I was talking about. These are all factors that affect us. And if you think about your pa ents that are on the civilian side— and I hate to do that: civilian, military side— but on the civilian side, the people you deal with who suffer from some form of trauma, okay, whether it be sexual abuse, whether it be kidnapping, whether it be—Whatever trauma. The big major incident. The earthquake. Fire. All these things also may factor into their lives, you know? How strong is their group congruity, you know? Do they have adhesions? Do they have morale— Does the person see the good side or do they see the bad side. This [slide] is combat here. This is a form of combat. It’s called route clearance. These are mine-resistant vehicles. This is a million dollar truck right there. Made by Oshkosh, thank you. And that’s a mine-resistant vehicle. That’s something called a Husky. It’s designed to blow apart when it blows up. I watched the driver’s capsule of one of these go 75 feet into the air over and into the air, off to the side of the road. The guy who was in it climbed out. They worked real well because they came with li le detectors that looked for metal that was buried in the road. That was when [insurgents] s ll used metal. Now they pack them in plas c gas cans and that kind of stuff. The metal detectors don’t work. They were worthless then. I’m sure [the U.S.] paid two hundred something thousand apiece for each one. The other one was patrolling the streets. These were the threat environments that were seen on a daily basis. And as you saw before, I said 670 bombs a month, divide that by 30 days. Big factors. How well do these people know each other? How good of a group are they? You get somebody who—


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Granted, I wasn’t with the Echo Company people all through training and all the way up. But I had served with that unit before. I had been with those people before. We cliqued nice and easy. Wildcat Group. A reserve engineer ba alion put in charge of an ac ve-duty engineer company, an Air Force MP company, a Marine an -aircra ba ery, Navy EOD. You see the mix? And they work well together. They actually did a real good job bonding and doing well. Support. What kind of support are they ge ng. Exposure and carnage. Body handling. Harassed by locals and can’t retaliate, you know? Kids throwing rocks at you and that kind of stuff. Surprise a acks. Individual stuff, these are all the things that affect us [at] the end of the day as well: our age, what kind of physical shape we’re in. Whether we have the support group. Single or divorced. Are we female? Female became a significant issue over there because now I’m a female in combat. I’m already a female in the military so I have to deal with all these testosterone pumping guys who are, “You’re a girl.” Now you’re in combat and you’re a girl. Not only that, but these guys are all pumped up on testosterone and you’re a girl. Okay? And there’s a lot of peacocking going on. But I will tell you that the command makes a big difference on this. The leadership makes a big difference on this. The units that [I] was with had strong leadership [and] this didn’t become an issue. Units that did not have strong leadership, it became a significant issue. Training, training, training, training so that it becomes physical memory. So it happens without thinking. I told my medics that. They’d say, “Oh, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. How am I going to handle this when something happens?” That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m making you do this over and over and over again. The first thing they tell me a er they come back from something like that—because I debriefed everyone of them personally—they’d say, “No, you’re right. I didn’t even think. I didn’t know what happened un l a erwards. I’m ge ng done.”

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I’m going—my hands are all covered with blood, the guy’s all patched up and I’m going, wow. What happened? I looked at him and said, “That’s a good thing.” These are other phases of deployment. The pre-deployment phase is what Gretchen has been, was talking to you earlier about. The training phase. This is where we’re reincorpora ng, big me, all these coping skill things, the comprehensive soldier fitness program where they can go online with these things, they can do it with their unit. It’s emo onal educa on. It’s physical educa on. It’s taking care of yourself and having some set, coping mechanisms before you go. The ini al phase is when you’re ge ng ready to go, you’re training up, you’re working hard. And that’s stress in that alone. The middle phase is when you’re there already, you’ve gone through a few things and you start having other issues that creep in on you, your family, what’s going on, that kind of stuff. The final phase is where this— I find this the worst. And I would bet that most deployed folks who come back will tell you this is the worst part right here. Because, just as [Gretchen] said, we’re all ramped up, we’re pumped up, and now we go a come home. And now I’ve got to stop and deal with everything. I’ve got to deal with— And especially as a clinician, I’m s ll worried about these guys who are ge ng ready to hit the ground, I’m worried about what’s going on with my family. You get all these things going. And when it’s finished, it’s not just a big, deep breath. You’re s ll going [makes a ji ery gesture]. And that’s why a lot of these guys who come up here actually wind up having substance abuse issues, the law issues. One of the things I use as a connotaon to these young men that I’m seeing when they come back from the VA is, “How old are you, 19, 20? You’re 21? Oh, that’s great. Well, guess what, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you just went through the single most significant event in your life. Period. You will never be there again. Sorry. And the average white


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male is going to live to be 84 years of age, as of today. So, you’ve got sixty more years that you’ve go to go on with the rest of your life and remembering that you’re done. You’ve peaked, you know? You’ll be lucky if you can get your adrenals to pop up. You’ll be lucky if you can get a surge out of something. Ever again. But that’s a fact of life. That’s where you sit. And they look at you like, ‘Yeah, right.’ Talk to me three months from now. We’ll talk about it some more. But that is— Truth in fact, that is it. They’ve been there, they’ve peaked. They’re going to go looking. And some of the mes when they go looking, that is going to cause trouble. Driving 90 miles— Driving 120 miles an hour down I-95 in Maine is not a healthy thing to be doing. Doing it on a motorcycle is even worse. But in order to get that surge back, that’s what that 21-year-old kid is going to do. [Audience: It’s funny, because in that movie, there’s one part where this guy says, “There’s nothing like this. There’s just— I’ll never feel anything like— It’s like the best form of adrenaline ever. And another guy said, “Well, what are you going to do about that, you know? Like, how are you gonna do it when you get home?” And he’s like, “Nothing can top this.”] Those are the people who re-enlist. Those are the people who come back. [Laughter.] Those are the people who volunteer to do it some more. The problem with that is when they do it, they come back, and it’s not the same. It’s s ll not the same. I’m here to tell you that. [Comment from earlier presenter, Gretchen Hegeman: And they die early because their body gives out on them.] Thank you. [Whether it’s heart a ack, or--] Gee. [Laughter.] Thanks, Gretchen. So, a quick thing to close out here: the medical units which are at-risk for combat stress they don’t train together, they deal with uncertainty, they don’t know where they’re going to

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be, what they’re doing, they lack support, they have less problems with the dealing with the gore part and the more problems with the mortars, the rockets, that kind of stuff and the unknowing part. And these are the people we call fobbits. For those of you whose inclina on is to the Vietnam era REMF, which is a connota on for Rear Echelon MF [M----F-----]. That’s now called a fobbit because they live in the FOB and they go to the PX [Post Exchange], they go to the li le shope es, they go to the Burger King, and all that, while the rest of us are out in the city ea ng MREs [Meals Ready to Eat] and dog food. Mental health units. They are not perceived— Nobody wants to own them. [Comment from the next presenter, LTC Bauer: That’s so true.] And the irony— Don’t take this wrong, Col. Bauer, but the irony is the chaplains are in that same class, too. So, the poor Colonel went from being a chaplain to being a mentalhealth guy. [Laughs.] So he’s s ll one of those children that can’t— Nobody wants to own him. [Bauer: That’s s ll the same.] And that’s an issue and a problem. [Bauer: It only blows up— It only changes when there’s carnage and disaster and there’s crap all over them. And then we become more than just a palm tree.] One combat-stress casualty for every two to five wounded. The Army predicted in Desert Storm that 1,400 combat stress casual es were going to happen per week. [And] that 1,190 were going to be returned to duty. Obviously it didn’t quite go that high. And that was a lousy war because they spent sevenand-a-half months in the desert wai ng for it to happen [and it] only lasted 72 hours. Incidence in the first week of combat is about 40 percent. This is the stress. This is the PTSD. This is the combat stress. That’s called the learning phase. That’s when you learn how to survive. In those first me frames


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when they hand off units it’s actually half them, half us. We have a handoff, what they call a hot handoff, which means, today half of my squad goes with half of his squad. The guys who have been doing it every day are going with the new guys. So that way, knowledge is not lost, educa on con nues, and people don’t wind up making the same mistakes over and over again. A er three weeks it stabilizes a li le more because now you’re peaking and you’re pumping and, you know, there’s nothing that’s gonna get in your way and you’re gonna survive the whole thing and things are going to be great. And then again, a er prolonged combat—that’s the following month—then you’re peaking and not coming down. You’re not sleeping. You’re agitated. You want to go out the wire to kill something. And this is the Navy’s one [special psychiatric interven on team approach]. They use BICEP: brevity, immediacy, centrality, expectancy, proximity and simplicity. Which is just another acronym. Military people like acronyms. [Audience comment.] You have to remember what [medica ons] do to people. We had an IT [informa onal

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technology] person in our ba alion. We had a big talk about as big as this. We had computers everywhere. We had drones. We had cameras on people. We were watching the whole ba lefield. And it was all electronic and computerized and linked through one thing. And it was interconnected between all these places, intranet. It’s actually called securenet or super [net]. They woke her up in the middle of the night and had her fix something that went wrong with this. She did not remember the whole event. When she got done they had to re-do the whole thing from scratch. Because, not only didn’t it work, but nobody could fix it. So that’s something that you have to realize, that there is an effect with everything that you use. And, again, avoiding medica ons is what we tend to do. And there are a lot of medica ons as [LTC Bauer] will talk to you about here in a second that we avoid completely. Prognosis. Thirty percent of casual es will return to duty. Ninety percent will return within 72 hours. Roughly that or be er. As I said before, I only had two people that got shipped back out of two rota ons and I saw about ten people a month.

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The hidden wounds of war LTC Peter E. Bauer, MS, USAR LCSW, LMFT, LCDC, ACSW, BCD Department of Social Work West Fort Hood, TX LTC Bauer has spoken widely on the hidden wounds of war based on his experience as a VA provider, United Church of Christ pastor and poli cal advocate. The reason why I think all of this is important and, while I’m glad to see all of you here today—and, once again, I’m not speaking for the DoD [Department of Defense] and I’m not speaking for the VA, I’m just speaking for me—It’s my conten on that what we are seeing and what we are experiencing na onally is of crisis propor on. Huge, huge crisis propor on. In other words, the pipeline is feeding us more people coming back who are hur ng and who are in need of services and, in turn, we’re feeding more people into the pipeline who, in turn, are coming back again needing help and needing services. It’s feeding at such a ferocious, feverish pitch that it’s more than what the resources can absorb. It’s more than what the reservoir of the Department of Defense can absorb. It’s more than what the reservoir of the Department of Veterans Affairs can absorb. So, it’s not rocket science for me to figure out that where a lot of stuff is going to be going for the future is going to be going to you all, in the civilian sector, whether you’re in private prac ce, whether you’re in a group prac ce, whether you’re doing psychoeduca onal work, whether you’re doing direct, clinical prac ce. Having said that, once again, it’s not rocket science for me to figure out probably one of the best things I can do is offer to be an educa onal advocate for people coming back and saying, okay, if you’re going to be the ones who are going to be trea ng them, it might help if you have an idea what to look

for. It might help if you have a sense of what the Germans of the 19th Century used to say, the Weltanschauung is for people coming back and for people going over. Having said that, I’ve made a commitment, now, for the longest me to be able to come and present at events like this, even if I have to pay out of pocket [Bauer used a personal, frequent-flyer credit to fly to Maine] which I did this me, on my own, because I believe it’s important that people hear what’s going on and have some semblance of what to do; what to do, in terms of helping people “come back”. And, once again, if you’re unhappy—unhappy—with what’s coming back to you, and if you’re unhappy seeing the state [people are in when they come] back, then get angry and write your congressional representa ves and complain. I have no problem telling you that because


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part of my role also is as an advocate. That’s what I’m a part [of], is being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I’m a part of advocacy and, under that umbrella, it’s about social jus ce for me, okay? And, as I said earlier, in my me here, three things: [One,] war changes everything across-theboard for everyone: for the soldier, the family, the provider, the community, the world, policy; it changes everything, permanently. Two, we have a healthcare crisis out of control, right now, that shows no sign of le ng up. Meaning, even if we wave the want like Tinkerbell in front of the Disneyland Hotel—right? Remember that?—We wave the wand and all hos li es ended tomorrow. All hos li es ended tomorrow in Iraq and Afghanistan. I submit, dear ones, we’re going to be spending the next fi y years sucking it up from what we’ve generated so far. So, [that’s] good [business] for us [counselors], right? Life me employment. We don’t have to worry. We can work ’ l we’re 90 and have our heart a ack in front of the Monet at the Met[ropolitan Museum of Art]. [Laughter.] Right? Ooo-rah! But, you know, it’s s ll not a pre y picture in terms of the amount of poten al suffering that we will encounter. So, having said that, I’m saying we go a be smart, we go a know what the resources are, and we go a know what our limita ons are. We go a know how to make things be er for people. So, having said that, that’s why I’m here. And thirdly, as I said, it’s an issue of social jus ce for me. If we don’t take care of this now, ten, twenty, thirty years from now [he snaps his fingers] it’s gonna ratchet up in terms of what? Substance-abuse dependence, marital discord, divorce, figh ng. Incarcera on rates are gonna go through the roof. If you— Look at the rates of what’s happening here in Maine— If you look at the rates in terms of what’s happening in Texas, if you look at the rates of what’s happening in

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Georgia, it is obscene the amount of sta s cs that are going on with armed forces personnel who are winding up in prison. And that has a direct correla on to lack and scarcity of resources and lack of access to care. Let me [be] so bold as to guide you to the infamous study—maybe you are aware of this Ron? [the preceeding speaker, Ronald Oldfield]— that was done by, of all people, Playboy. [Laughter.] Yes. Playboy. [Laughter.] Playboy. God help us. [Audience member: The ar cles?] This is the ar cles. Not the pictures. [Laughter.] Yeah, I know. I’ve watched the picture. That aside. The ar cle. In 2004. You can go Google it, okay? What did our friends at Playboy do? They did an extensive—I applaud them—research analysis. So, what did they do? They went to Medcom [U.S. Army Medical Command]. They went to Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]. They went to DoD. They went to Central headquarters for the VA. Central office, right? In Washington. They talked to everybody up and down the food chain, and then some. What did they come up with? Now, keep in mind, this is 2004. This is the equa on that they came up with, alright? And here it goes. Bruce [one of the audience members], you’ll like this. If you don’t diagnose it, therefore you don’t have to fund it, therefore you don’t have to treat it. Isn’t that brilliant? Don’t diagnose it, therefore don’t fund it, therefore don’t treat it. Now. The problem with that is what happens when we allow that to let roll? Yes? [Audience comment: A false memory concept develops, too. If you don’t see it you don’t have to treat it.] There you go. Hear no evil, see no evil. It’s not on my watch, is it? I’ll just let it go over, you know? It’s like I used to work with a psychiatrist in ’81, okay? What did the dear man say? “Ohhh, we move slowly. Slowly we move. Oh, we do not need to do anything now. We’ll leave it for who comes in a er us.” Never mind that we had carnage going


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on in the department. Never mind that we had suicides going on, you know? It’s not a pre y picture. So, remember: war changes everything. Remember that we have a health-care crisis of gargantuan propor ons. And, three, its an issue of social jus ce. Alrigh e. And away we go. Alright. So, you may ask yourself. You may ask yourself again. Who is it that we are seeing? Who is it that we are trea ng? Well, they’re Caucasian. They’re African American. They’re La no. They’re Asian. And they’re Na ve American. They’re male and female. Just like Noah’s Ark. Two by two some mes. Some mes more. They’re young but they’re also in their thir es, they’re also in their for es. They’re in their fi ies. And, yes, increasingly, they’re in their six es. Somebody said they were with somebody in-theatre that was 64. I’ve heard—I’ve heard it go up to—above—70. Incredible. [Audience member: 72-year-old trauma surgeon.] Seventy-two-year-old trauma surgeon. How ’bout that? Alright. Single, married and divorced. Parents and grandparents. Where are they treated? Well, they are being treated, among other places, Department of Defense medical facili es, medical centers like Walter Reed, medical centers like Fort Benning [Georgia], medical centers like Eisenhower at Fort Gordon [Georgia], or Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, or Madigan, which is out at Fort Lewis [Tacoma, WA]. Or they’re being seen, for that ma er, at clinics. Either out-pa ent clinics or they’re being seen, for that ma er, at outreach centers, the CBOCs [Community Based Outreach Centers] that have now taken place and have now been established in the last five or six years within the VA system and now star ng to crop up within the DoD. Of course, if we’re looking at the Department of Veterans Affairs, we’re seeing people, of course, ge ng care at medical centers. And

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also at the out-pa ent clinics. Also, too, the Vet Centers. And, of course, the spillage now is going through whatever contracts those facili es have with local hospitals. For example, on San Antonio, there’s been a mentalhealth contract on the books for the longest me between south Texas veterans healthcare system and Methodist hospital system in San Antonio. So, it’s not unusual to have spillover and people who are VA paents who are being seen at Methodist. Now in the last ten years we’ve had, increasingly, the phenomena of what’s called, what? The Warrior Transi on Units or now, re-christened the Warrior Transi on Ba alions. And what’s a ba alion? Ba alion is any thing of about, what, 1,500 or more, okay? And, increasingly what has happened as global war on terrorism has churned along as GWOT, as we say, has con nued [he snaps his fingers] the numbers have shot up. [How did] that happen? Well. Part of how it happened was, here we go—Alfred Hitchcock would say it—Dial M for Malingering. [Laughter.] And what did you have? You had— No. Be er yet, you had all these commanders say, “I think you’re a malingerer, PFC. I don’t want you here. I’ll send you to the WTU.” And that’s what they did. They sent huge numbers of people to the WTU who were ‘malingerers’, right? And what happened? The census popula on shot up. Do you think that did not affect care for other people who were legi mately in WTUs and WTBs? You bet your bippy it did. And so that is part of the struggle. That is part of the challenge in terms of what is going on right now. So, increasingly we’re seeing a focus on WTUs and then this new creature, the Community Based WTUs have also developed in the last five years. So now, if I’m in Atlanta, they don’t have to send me, necessarily, to the WTB, which is at Fort Gordon or the one a Fort Benning. Why? Because it’s going to be two, two-and-a-half hours away from


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where I live. They can send me to a WTU that’s closer. Or the same thing if I’m in Florida. They don’t have to send me to Fort Benning. They don’t have to send me to Fort Gordon. They can send me to the WTU which is— the CBOC, the Community Based WTU, which would be in Orlando, Florida. So, we’re seeing more of this develop over me as well. And of course we’re seeing more people crop up in the churches and synagogues and mosques who are returning. What type of injuries are we talking about? Well, a potpourri. A myriad of them. Physical injuries—and, Ron, please chime in, if I’m not being inclusive on this—but [it] would suffice to say, you’re seeing a lot of shoulder injuries. You’re seeing a lot of lower back injuries by what we’ve described so far. You’re certainly seeing a lot of ankle injuries especially with the people coming back from Afghanistan. And just think about it. Why is that the case? You’ve got desert there but, more so than there you’ve got what? Mountainous terrain. And if you’re carrying, what, fi y to eighty to more pounds—120, thank you. If you’re carrying 120, and you’re having to careen—and look at terrain that would resemble, almost, rock climbing, right? It’s not beyond the realm of reasonability, right?, that you wouldn’t expect to see a lot of, quote, ankle injuries. Alright? And then you’re going to see various wound injuries: abdominal injuries, etc.; extremity injuries. Unfortunately, we’re seeing injuries due to people losing their eyes or losing other extremi es. And, of course, we’re seeing a lot of shock and a lot of heat exhaus on, alright? And, increasingly, there’s been a lot of mental-health injuries including depression, including posttrauma c stress disorder. And not to menon a lot of panic disorder. And not to menon, oh my goodness, oh my golly, here we go. A lot of a en on deficit disorder and a whole hell of a lot of a en on deficit hyperac vity disorder. Once again, if I had a dollar for every soldier that I’ve seen who’s had

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a en on deficit hyperac vity disorder I would have a house that would rival Bill Gates’ on Lake Washington. Easily. [Audience comment: What about closedhead injures?] Closed-head injuries, yes, are right up there as well. Yeah. Huge number. Alright. As of today, the major depression rate on any given day for people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan is gonna hover no less than 17 percent. You can expect that. At least 17 percent is going to be coming back with major depressive disorder. You’re gonna see a huge chunk of adjustment disorder with depressed mood, as well, and a fair amount of depression NOS [Not Otherwise Specified] will be floa ng out there, as well, in my opinion. Post-Trauma c Stress Disorder. Once again, those figures are really lowball. I think we’re looking more at least like 30 percent if not more on any given day coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are gonna be presen ng with Post-Trauma c Stress Disorder, either simple or complex configura on. And, once again, a lot of this data is from this website, which is the Na onal Center for PTSD dot org website, ncptsd.va.gov. Alright. This was a very interes ng finding that I stumbled upon about a year ago. This says something, indeed, about [my generaon] doesn’t it? Here we go. Our buddies out at the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Francisco, California, did a very conclusive, exhaus ve research study and what did they come up with? Oh, boy. Army reservists over 40 years of age, right?, are more likely to develop post-trauma c stress disorder than those who are under the age of 25. Can anybody give me a clue as to why that might be the case? Just think about it. Think about it. Yes? [Audience comment: I don’t know. Repeated deployment? A number of different deployments—] Okay. I’m going to go see my good buddy,


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the Doc, Ron, okay?, who knows me stem to stern. He’s treated me a lot. And what’s the deal? I’m living down the road in Florida. I’m a member of the First Congrega onal Church there. Like to golf a lot. Some mes he and I golf together, right? And I do charity work in the city, etc., etc. He knows I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a son whose going to the University of Maine. I’ve got another kid whose going to be going to UConn, alright? Got a lot on my plate. He and I drill together. As a ma er of fact, what happens? He gives me a [deployment] date. And I’m saying, “Where are we going?” He says, “We’re going to the Big A.” And I’m saying, “You mean Akron?” [Laughter.] “No. We’re going to Afghanistan.” You don’t think I’m going through some changes if that hits the fan? [Audience comment: Menopause.] Yeah, more than menopause. Why would I be going through some changes? What’s clicking in my head, if not clicking in my body, at that point? Think about what we talked about. Yes? [Audience comment: I think that, as you brought up earlier, you have built a life. You have responsibility. You have assets that fall through. So you’re not just star ng out with less things— ] You’re telling me I’m going to, ah, let’s see. We’re gonna go to Bedouins. We’re gonna go to tents. We’re gonna go to desert. Ah, you mean, we’re not going to La Mirage? [Laughter.] You know? [Audience comment: Bring your ground pad.] Bring a ground pad. Yeah. So you don’t think I’m not going through some changes, alright? Biopsychosocially, spiritually. Right? I’m going to be going through some major duress, right? Yes. So, we ratchet up the duress. It’s not rocket science—right?—that I’m gonna be more at risk for vulnerability, cri cal vulnerabili es. [Audience comment: I think people in their 40s and older have a different kind of ethical

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framework than when they were young and may be more vulnerable to following orders than somebody over their 40s who maybe developed a more complex ethical framework, crea ng more dilemmas and leading to more PTSD because of that conflict that they’ve experienced.] Right. The 25-year-old’s gonna have a good me. What [is a 45-year-old] going to be wondering about? Can we pick up NPR and can I listen to Fresh Air [with Terry Gross]? [Laughter.] You know? Right? Isn’t that true? Will I be able to hear Terry? Come on, now. What are the priori es in life? Will I be able to hear Terry Gross. [Audience comment: Will my mid-level job s ll be there— ] Yeah. Will my mid-level job be s ll there when I get back. Thank you. Will my wife be there? Exactly. Exactly. So, what do we look for, then, in an assessment of either of the following: adjustment disorder with depressed mood or depression NOS or, in this case, major depression, either single or recurrent episode. What would we look for? The obvious. Yeah. I haven’t deployed yet. But let’s just say that’s opera ve even before I leave terra firma here. [Audience comment: About pre-trauma c stress.] Yeah. That’s right. Pre-trauma c stress. Alright. You’re gonna be looking for changes in sleep pa erns, you know. Usually, the obvious things. And this is what I always ask for is—and this is what I hear a lot—and I’m talking to Ron. “How many hours are you sleeping per night? Maybe five? [What is sleep?] Yeah. What is sleep. Maybe five? Three hours and 22 minutes? Okay, lets go with that. Let’s say that I then ask, “Okay, Ron, how many mes are you ge ng up in the night?” Five or six? Okay. And I say, “Ron, when you’re ge ng up that many mes, how long are you staying awake?” And he tells me. Okay. What does that tell us, then, about


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REM [rapid eye movement] sleep? Flatlined, right? Flatlined. Flatlined. Yes, ma’am? [Audience ques on: What’s worse—having already been deployed and knowing you‘re going to be re-deployed, or your first me out?] It depends upon who you are and it depends upon your internal resources and it depends upon the circumstances. This ain’t Gospel. But the research has backed this up. What are the three factors that keeps you buffered, pre y much, from having longterm fallout occur to you from any deployment. I’ll tell you what they are. Number one is how well you fine-tune and hone your ba le skills, right? Number one. And that includes the D word. Do you know what the D word is? Dissocia on. Yes. How well do you dis— There you go. How well do you dissociate? Dissocia on ain’t always bad. Somemes it’s very good, okay? Some mes dissocia on can be your friend, okay? And we don’t want to a ack that. We want to affirm that. The people who’ve gone through the experiences that Ron’s been talking about. So, number one, it’s how well you hone and fine-tune your ba le skills. Number two, and this gets more tricky, and that is, how well [he laughs], I laugh when I men on it, how well have you had a life up ’ l now that has been rela vely free of trauma. Ain’t that a hoot? Ain’t that a hoot in modernity? How well have you had a life that, up to this point, prior to the deployment, that’s been rela vely free of trauma. That’s buffer-factor number two. This is all out of DoD, you know. I’m not saying anything that already isn’t in print and for public consump on. And number three, the factor is, and I find this intriguing, how well have you developed either a religious or philosophical way of life or belief system? If that’s intact, then that is a third kind of precursor of preventa ve factor, alright? So, if you’ve got all of that going for you, you have a good shot at bea ng the house at the casino in terms of going over,

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coming back and maybe going in again. When I was at Camp Shelby [in Mississippi], we used to call the phenomenon as follows: bea ng the Beau Rivage. Why? Because on the Gulf Coast in Biloxi we’ve got this fancy schmancy casino called the Beau Rivage. And so whenever I would have a soldier come in, [and if] it was obvious that this person had post-trauma c stress disorder, major depression, panic disorder, a en on deficit hyperac vity disorder, etc. and they wanted to what? They wanted to go again for a third or fourth me. I would say, “You really want to beat the house again? Or try to beat the house, right? You really want to play be n’ it on the Beau Rivage?” And they would look at me like I was crazy and I’d say, “Are you aware that there is a big casino down here in Biloxi? Now, are you aware that a lot of people go to the casino like they’re gonna play— be James Bond out of Casino Royale, right? That they’re going to do their best to ‘beat the house’. What happens nine mes out of ten? And they would say, sheepishly, “They don’t beat the house.” And I would say, “I rest my case.” You’ve got to look at this contextually in terms of what the fallout could be for you for the short term or for the long term while you make that calculated decision as to whether or not you want to, what, a empt to beat the house again, okay? Alright. So we want to look for changes in sleeping pa erns. We want to look for changes in ea ng pa erns. We want to look for decreased energy. Some mes we want to look for increased energy. If I’m mumumumum like this and I’m just the Eveready Bunny and I’m just running, running, running ’ l there’s no stop, or whatever, what might that be indica ve of? I could be having fullblown mania, right? And do we not have people in-theatre who are in full-blown mania? Of course we do, right? They’re amped up beyond control. So, you have to look at it both ways. Decreased energy or inflated, over-the-top increase in energy. Preponder-


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ance of nega ve thinking. That’s another one. Changes in weight. This is hard somemes, given metabolism, given if its thyroid, given if its weather condi ons, given if its fa gue, given if its you’re in the field and you’re having to deal with harsh, harsh condi ons, what do you tend to do in order to keep going? Eat, at mes, right? Even if its bad crap, right? You tend to want to eat to con nue. And, God forbid, you should eat a lot of MREs because what happens dear friends? Thirty-five hundred [lately, 1,200 to 1,300] calories a pop. But what else happens? What happens to your diges ve system? You get plugged up. You can’t go. For days and days and days on end. I’ve been in the field. You know what it’s like to eat nothing but MREs? You feel like a bloated balloon. Do you crap? Hell, no. [Laughter.] It takes you— I’m serious. It takes you about three or four days to get home, start ea ng real food again before you have, before you decently void. That’s not good on the system to have that occur repeatedly. Okay. Changes in weight. Changes in interests, ac vi es and people. Alright. Episodes of crying, which we would classify as decompensa on. Feeling worthless. Feeling like you don’t want to be alive. The big one, I don’t see it as much as I used to see it, but it’s s ll opera ve and that is relinquishing possessions to others. Prolonged depressed affect or rigid thinking. And, of course, the big one—and this gets more dicey, too, as me goes on, doesn’t it, dear friend—and that is changes in sexual interest or risky behavior, right? We’re in the genera on of what? Let’s hook up, right? We’re in the genera on of we’re not having a rela onship, we’re having—I’m sorry to say it; please don’t get offended—I want a f-----friend. That’s it. That’s what we’ve got. And, so therefore, when we have groups of folks going into theatre, does that behavior stop? No. If anything, it gets accelerated. Why? Go look at what Jonathan Shay had to say in Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and

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Trials in Homecoming where he’s talking about the Vietnam cohort. And what does he say about people at their wits’ end trying to get a break from the carnage of war. And he said, and I quote, they would drink, they would do occasional drugs that they wanted, and, at best, they would go to a house of ill repute at least once or twice [for], what?, not only the physical release of, quote, intercourse but, more importantly—what?—they wanted some warmth, some human contact that would s ll remind them that they were alive before they had to—what?—shut it off again and go back and return to carnage. Now that was 2002 when Johnathan Shay wrote that and I s ll think that’s highly relevant for us today. And, of course, increase in suicide idea on. Alright. And once again, if you’ve got five or more of those symptoms, you’re pre y much in the ballpark for adjustment disorder with depressed mood or MDD [Major Depressive Disorder]. Assessed with PTSD. You’re looking over, what? Criterion A, B, and C [referring to his Power Point presenta on]. So you would have intrusive thoughts, you’d have nightmares, you’d have startle response, you’d have psychic numbing, avoidance of s muli or events that remind you of the trauma, reexperiencing the trauma, and hyper vigilance. Now, hyper vigilance is a lot more tricky, isn’t it? A lot more tricky. Because by defini on when you’re in-theatre, watcha gonna do? You’re vigilant, right? And how does that get generated? It’s our old friend the amygdala. The amygdala. And if you are hyper vigilant, what? The amygdala is gonna be on, right? Ya’ll have seen moose and deer here in Maine, right? What happens when you’re driving along and Mr. Moose, or Mr. Deer, comes out in front of you and you’re going at a fairly rapid rate of speed. What do you do? You’re into the shock mode, right? Heart is pumping. Sweat is up. Breathing is going on. And if you miss Mr. Moose—thank God if you do—if you miss Mr. Moose and if


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you miss Mr. or Ms. Deer, right? It’s gonna take, what? Maybe a good 30 minutes for you to calm down, right? Now that’s a oneme thing. Now what if Ron and I are in Ramadi and every day is—“How many rockets did they launch at us today? How many mes did they shoot at us today? How many people tried to throw a grenade at us today?” What’s happening? The amydgala is going on off on off on off un l at some point, what? It gets stuck and stays on. And the amydgala stays on, only its years later, right? And, by this me, Ron and I have decided we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna go to southern California, we’re gonna just have a good me. [Laughter.] So we’re si ng at La Jolla [upscale, beachside northern San Diego] right? And we’re both having a drink. And everything is fine, I think. Un l he looks at me and he gives me that look. He gives me that look and I get scared, right? Because I’m convinced he’s in his rep le phase, right? And the rep le phase is what? He’s ge ng ready to a ack. And it concerns me because I don’t know what triggered it. Was it something that he saw. Was it something that he heard? Was it something that he smelled or something that he touched? But in any event— [Audience comment: The lousy food.] The lousy food. He’s in the rep le mode. Okay? Yes? [Audience comment: Inaudible for an extended period. The audio is stopped then resumes.] ...of sleep, tossing and turning in one’s sleep—that’s a big one—and, of course, the big, cardinal, cardinal symptom in my humble opinion is the autonomic nervous system response. The night swea ng that’s going on. [Audience: That sucks.] It does suck. And the thing of it is, it doesn’t just suck for while you’re in-theatre. It sucks for when you return because it can go on for a long, long me, okay? And, once again, all this can be generated through visu-

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al, auditory or tac le cues. Alright? Alright. As I men oned the other day, things have changed rela vely speaking since 2006. Up ’ l 2005, everybody was preaching the following: You know, if Ron got a diagnosis or if Peter got a diagnosis of PTSD fairly soon, then people were going to come to us and say okay, your choice basically is, you guys, you could go with cogni ve behavioral therapy, you could go with exposure therapy, you could go with the EMDR [Eye Movement Desensi za on and Reprocessing]. Why? Because the document that was out at that me, the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs treatment protocol of best prac ces for PTSD preached that. You can go Google that. That came out in 2005. A year later, interes ngly enough, in 2006, that changed. Our friend, Candace Monson, who at that me was on staff for the Na onal Center for PTSD out of Boston, Massachuse s did a presenta on that I a ended that same year at the Uniformed Services Social Worker Conference that was held in Washington, DC that I presented at. That was when Candace presented her paper that said, I think we need to look at things a li le bit more holis cally and understand that maybe a lot of what we’re ini ally seeing from people coming out of theatre is very legi mate, is very warranted, is very much to be expected. Not that we don’t keep observing and keep assessing further for what may be poten ally down the line, but ini ally all of this stuff would be germane and all of this stuff would be expected. Having said that, Candace said, maybe what we need to do to is have a fresh, new lense to look at and she argued for—what?—psychological first aid, which was basically doing what? Encouraging survivors of trauma to get what? Appropriate rest, to get appropriate nourishment, to get appropriate exercise, to have appropriate emo onal support, psychological support, with people that they trust— of course, that’s the big one; people that they trust,


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that they could talk to— while you what? Con nue to monitor. Alright? Having said that, she went on to say if symptoms, especially the sleep disturbance and the mood disturbance, but more so, this one, the sleep disturbance if it should persist, then they should consider, possibly— consider, possibly— a trial protocol of medica on. Usually at the lowest dosage, right? At a baseline dosage. And s ll, to this day, meaning 2010, the FDA has approved what as frontline medica ons for PTSD? It’s been primarily our old friends Zolo , Sertraline, and its then Paxil (Peroxa ne). Now, what is one poten al, nega ve factor for men taking Zolo and/or Paxil? [Audience comment: (Unintelligible, but amoun ng to nega ve sexual side effects).] It does happen. And guess what? Go home to mamma. And that’s going on. And you’ve been gone a year. It’s not necessarily going to be happy, right? [Audience comment: (Unintelligible, but about impotence.)] Well, they will. Some will. It depends on the severity of the symptoms. Where we come to play in all of this is I think we play an important role to say this may be generated possibly with that. That may come with other things. It might be a good idea, if that’s a major concern for you—it would be for me— you might want to talk to whoever is your prescrip ve authority person and say you’ve got concerns about that poten al and is there another agent that could be prescribed that might not generate that, like Wellbutrin perhaps. Or, if we’re going to take Zolo , fine. Could they consider, maybe, prescribing another agent like Remeron to, what? To counteract it. Or, they could go with what? We’ll have you con nue the Zolo , but we’ll grant you a li le, a medica on holiday for two or three days so you can go off the meds, have a lot of sex and then, what?, resume [laughter]— you’ve got to frame it that way or else they won’t buy it, you know?—

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go off the meds, have a lot of sex and then, what?, resume the medica on again, right? Because we’re trying to what? We’re not trying to pathologize. We’re trying to what? Normalize. Well, a lot of the normaliza on, I’m convinced, involves doing some good educa on. Alright. Having said that, let me quote you from this ar cle that came out at the end of March of this year [2010] regarding what’s being dosed in-theatre and what’s going on with that. According to this ar cle it said as follows. Okay here we are. My roadmap. Okay, here we go. An psycho c medica ons. Here, were talking things like Seroquel and Respiridol were spiked almost drama cally. Orders jumped by more than 200 percent. This was in 2010. And annual spending more than quadrupled from four million to sixteen million. Okay? This is for dosages for folks who are in-theatre, alright? An depressants, interes ngly enough, had a compara vely modest 40 percent gain in orders. But it was the only drug group to show an overall decrease in spending from 49 million in 2001 to 41 million in 2009, a drop of 16 percent. The debut in recent years of cheaper, generic versions of these drugs is more likely responsible for driving down the costs of the drugs. Interes ngly enough, the medica ons that were being prescribed the most were an depressants and an convulsants, the most common mental-health prescrip ons prescribed to service members. Seventeen percent of ac ve duty force and as much as six percent of deployed forces were on an depressants. This is according to Brigadier General Loree Su on who used to run the Defense [Centers] of Excellence. In contrast, about 10 percent of Americans, totally, take an depressants and that was according to a 2009 Columbia University study. So, interes ngly enough, we had a spike in an convulsants being dosed along with use of a lot of an -anxiety drugs and seda ves like Valium and Ambien which rose substan ally.


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2010 Veterans Day

Orders increased 170 percent while spending nearly tripled from six million to nearly 17 million dollars, okay? So, I would argue 2008, 2009, 2010 wouldn’t be unusual at all if Ron and I are sharing a hooch [dwelling], right? And we got a li le thing for our sink. What might we have? We’d have our saving cream, right? We’d have our razors. We’d have our an depressants. I’m not kidding. This would be what the normal, daily rou ne would be. Alright? And, so, once again, instead of rap ng in horrors like ‘how could they do that?’ You know? How could they do that? I think it’s wiser to say this is how it is, how are we going to contend with it, how are we going to deal with it, how are we going to help people get be er. Alright. And keep in mind, too. I’ll say this also. It ain’t just people who are dosed on Zolo . It ain’t just people who are dosed on Paxil. It’s people who are dosed on Respiridol. It’s people who are dosed also on an convulsants as well. It’s also, you know, an anxiety meds like Buspirone or, you know, Wellbutrin, or Seroquel or other stuff. The only stuff that is, technically speaking, verboten, would be lithium and would be anything else that would be trea ng, what?, bipolar disorder or anything that would be trea ng, quote, psycho c disorder, right? Because, ideally, we wouldn’t want, or should not have usually in the best of all possible worlds, either psycho c disorder or bipolar disorder, which is not to say that we don’t come upon it by accident. Okay. If we’re talking top therapy, what’s going on. Cogni ve-behavioral therapy, of course, CBT, cogni ve processing therapy, which I describe as the son or daughter— given your proclivity—to cogni ve-behavioral therapy. Exposure therapy and its offspring, which is now prolonged exposure therapy. EMDR, of course. And now the new kid on the block, acceptance and commitment therapy, which has come out within about the last year which is kind of like exposure thera-

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py revisited [and] throw in some other cognive-behavioral elements. Newer stuff, and this is all Bessel van der Kolk from his research, would be inclusive of what? Acupuncture, t’ai-chi, yoga and possibly par cipa ng in a project that helps others, like Habitat for Humanity. Alright. At least now—this figure has been revised—at least now on any given day, you’ve got 17 percent of injuries sustained by soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan that are gonna manifest into what? Trauma c brain injury. And this is crucial. You know why? I can’t tell you how many mes I saw people at Camp Shelby when they came back. And what would they tell me? I had not one, but two, but three, but four, but five IED a acks occur to me during the course of my tour. Two or three hit my vehicle directly. Never mind the fact that I’d already played football when I was in high school and I got tackled more mes than I could count. And, by the way, I racked up one or two concussions while I was a football player before I went into theatre. And then what happened? The IED a acks occurred and my noodle got ra led some more, right? Did you get any treatment? Well, no. Did the PA check you out? Well, I don’t remember. Did, you know, the medic treat ya? No, I don’t think so. Well what’s happening for you now? Well, I’m wearing these sunglasses and I’m wearing these hearing aides. What else is going on? Well, I’m really, really sensi ve to light and noise. Okay. What else is going on? Well, I’m having headaches. How o en are you having headaches? I’m having them three or four mes a week. Okay, on a scale of one to ten, on average, how bad are the headaches? They’re an eight. When did you have the last one? An hour ago. How bad was it? It was an eight. Now. I would submit to you, dearly beloved, we’ve got at least, at least, a bare minimum of what? Post-concussive syndrome [diagnosis code] 310.2. Is it diagnosed most of the me? Hell no. Now, why are my


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2010 Veterans Day

knickers in a wad about this? Why are my hemorrhoids going through the stratosphere on this one? He’s go a go back to work. But it’s also a moral and ethical issue for me. If it’s not there, is anybody gonna pick up on it? Is anybody gonna do anything about it? Is anybody gonna be accountable for it? Hell no. Managed care for all of its curses has come to our shores as well. People on high echelons of Army medicine are thinking what? Dollar cost average, rela ve values of units, what’s the cheapest? What’s gonna happen in pharmacies? You’re gonna see more Prozac stocked than you will ever see Celexa. Why? Prozac is gonna cost you eight cents on the dollar. Celexa’s gonna cost you at least 12. It’s a no-brainer. What am I gonna choose? And never mind the fact I don’t have to worry if Bruce skips his Prozac for two days. Why? He’s not gonna p--- it all out, is he? It’s gonna stay in the system. So I don’t have to worry. It’s another buffer. Right? Okay. So TBI [trauma c brain injury] is going to result from what? Any blunt injury to the head by external force. Sports injury, heavy object, explosion, mortar a ack, and improvised explosive device, okay? And what are the symptoms that are going to overlap with PTSD. Well, the main symptoms for TBI are going to feel like your bell has been rung, nausea, light-headedness, wobbliness while standing, headaches, sensi vity to light and noise, and increased irritability. These are the symptoms that are generally going to overlap with PTSD. And that’s gonna be irritability. That’s also gonna be the social isola on. It’s gonna be the startle response. It’s gonna be the psychic numbing. And I encourage you to ask how frequent the headaches are going. I encourage you to score how bad they are on the pain scale of zero to ten and also what type are they. Are they migraine or are they just, you know, generalized headaches and how frequently they’re going on. And finally the hyper vigilance. ANAM4. Some of you may have heard of

PENQUIS Review

this. Some of you may have not. You can go Google this as well. And that’s called the Automa c Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics [Version 4]. Camp Shelby where I used to be, was the pilot site for ANAM4. It’s basically at 20-minute computerized instrument that, now, every soldier, whose going to be outbound and deployed, will sit and complete. It automa cally will score and give you a baseline measurement. If the score goes below a certain ordinal measurement [he snaps his fingers] a red flag will be generated in the computer which will be followed up with what? A neuropsychological assessment followed by what? Review by a neurologist, okay? This is ongoing. But there’s a lot of debate about his monster. The idea was we were ini ally going to be collec ng all this data. It was going to be held in computer servers. It was then gonna be transferred to the mother of all servers out at Fort Sam Houston for research purposes, etc. That looked like it was all going to be going according to speed un l our buddy, our good buddy, Colonel Charles Hogue decided to make some more commentary about this. Hoge is the godfather of WRAIR, the Walter Reed [Army Ins tute of Research]. Now it’s interes ng, Hoge is an epidemiologist by professional prac ce. He’s not a psychiatrist. He’s not behavioral health. He’s a damn good researcher. But he’s an epidemiologist. Hoge decided in midstream guess what? In his humble opinion, ANAM4 wasn’t a reliable measurement, meaning he would say, at best, it’s okay if we administer it to Liz one month a er she has her IED explosive injury. If we administer it to her then on a one- me basis, one month later, we might get a good snapshot on a one- me basis in terms of what’s going on. But he says its not efficacious if we’re going to do a pre-measure and then do a post-measure and this whole project was designed to do what? Pre-test, posttest. So it’s now all up in the air as to whether or not this is gonna be efficacious at all.


PENQUIS Review

2010 Veterans Day

But we’re s ll doing it at Shelby. We’re s ll collec ng the data there. [A friend of mine] took over my job for me a er I le in 2009 and is s ll administra ng and coordina ng all of that. But, as a result of that immediate medical interven on with someone with a concussion and here we’re talking postconcussive syndrome if you get immediate medical interven on, you stand an 85 percent chance of that injury resolving within six months. Its when you delay and don’t do anything that you run the risk that 15 percent will go on to develop trauma c brain injury. So, as we say with all medical disorders, the key is early interven on. Other appropriate protocols you could use involve a neuropsychological assessment with having it be reviewed by an neurologist. [Audience: Can I ask you a silly ques on?] Yes. [Would someone in theatre know whether they were ge ng appropriate medical care? Like, what’s the appropriate medical care?] Most of the me they’re not going to know. Why? Because they’re going to be so in the throes of what? Being in the fight. [Exchange among audience members inaudible.] …I can dial up in ALTA, which is what? The automated documenta on system for the U.S. Army. And if I’m lucky, Ron will have done a wonderful, detailed note in ALTA. Even if he’s in the field, we’ve got the technology to do that. If that’s in there, then I at Fort Hood or I at Fort Sam Houston can pull it up in ALTA and see Ron’s note. If I see that [something] has already been done, what? That’s one less thing I have to do. If I see the soldier a er that, and if symptoms are s ll persis ng, then I can what? I can entertain the no on of what? Perhaps consider a neuropsychological assessment and a neurology follow-up, okay? Now that’s good if it’s there. It’s more of a hunt in the forest if I don’t have that documenta on there and I’m just going, what?, anecdotally with what the

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soldier’s telling me. So you see the dilemma. You see the dilemma in terms of trying to provide good, quality con nuity of care. Let me say another thing about records. This is a huge thing as well because people understandably are concerned about confiden ality. Ron, correct me if I’m wrong with this, but as of today, ALTA, the computer system for the DoD which is inclusive, now, of the Army and the Navy and the Air Force is ed in with CPRS [Computerized Pa ent Record System] which is the computer documenta on for the VA, which is extremely important. Why? Let’s say I see Ron where he works at Togus, right? Let’s say I get an evalua on done. But let’s say he says, Peter, you’ve got postconcussive syndrome. Alright? Let’s say he diagnoses that. Let’s say I go back, I go back, to San Antonio and I’m seen at BAMC [Brooke Army Medical Center] and I’m seen by the doctor here and she puts my name and Social in the computer at BAMC she’s able to pull up the record and she says, I see that you were seen by Dr. Oldfield, okay, at Togus and blah, blah, blah, you got a diagnosis of post-concussive syndrome. As with all things. There’s blessings and there’s curses, isn’t there? If I’ve got a really wonderful, ethical medical provider, that’s a good thing, right? It benefits me and I have great con nuity of care. However, if I have a slime ball, right? If the roll of the dice comes up and I have a slime ball, I might what? Be in a compromising posi on. For people who are understandably concerned about confiden ality and sensi ve informa on, I always say the following: you can be treated at the Department of Veterans Affairs, you can be treated at the Department of Defense. Know, however, that even if stuff is in an electronic form, it may not necessarily be totally protected from certain people ge ng their hands on it, alright? Even though we’ve go HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] regula ons, even though we’ve got everything else. If you’re really concerned about


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2010 Veterans Day

your confiden ality, however, and if you’re ac ve duty and you can’t get services elsewhere, there is always the Vet Center. You can always go to the Vet Center. Now why is that salient in importance? The Vet Center has their own computerized system which is separate from what? The Department of Veterans Affairs. So that means if I’m seen at the Vet Center and Colonel Jackie wants to get the data because she hates my guts and she’s really gonna crucify me on the O6 [pay grade] board coming up, right? Jackie can’t get to it, right? She can’t get it. She can’t pull it up. Even if she’s so bold [as] to write the Vet Center to try to get the notes, what will they tell her? Pack sand, baby. That’s what they’ll tell her. So, it’s what? Another cushion to protect what? Protect pa ent autonomy

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and give people what? Pa ent rights. Full, full protec on as best as possible for confiden ality. Yes? [Audience ques on: Do you think most soldiers understand that there’s that confiden ality, that line (that can’t be crossed) at the Vet Centers?] I always tell them. No, they don’t know. That’s why I go into detail to tell them this. [Audience comment: I’ve met a lot of guys, and I’ve said that before to them, and they’re like, no way am I going go to a Vet Center.] Once again, its informed consent. All you can do is tell ’em what’s out there and what’s currently available as we know of it right now.

Penquis Review contacted Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross to determine whether the inmate popula on in his county jail reflects an increased incarceraon rate among returning military personnel. He reported on November 12, 2010, that: “[t]he way that we record this informa on, an inmate is asked at the me of booking whether they’re a veteran and from what war. That entry gets made in the inmate’s medical file. It does not get kept as a sta s cal record, so I can’t press a bu on and say how many people have come through. But every inmate is asked that ques on. And there are issues in the facility in the mental health—which is Acadia Hospital—or of medical—which is our [service]— knows [about that, that] they’re a veteran. So that is something that we started about a year ago. I asked our mental health worker how o en we’re seeing this and she indicated it’s infrequently—not very o en. But that is only from the cases that end up with her seeing them through mental-health requests that arise from inmates that are in the facility that never end up seeing mental health [providers] for one reason or another that could have been flagged as a veteran…. It is something that we take very seriously, par cularly with the suicide risks in the jails. We want to make sure that we do everything we can, have as much informa on as we can, so that we’re prepared. And we have extensive services through Acadia Hospital right here on site.”


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One of the people who bought a DVD of the 2009 veterans’ tribute conducted in Guilford last year was Maureen “Reenie” Doore, now of Dover-Foxcro . She sent copies to her son, Joseph “Joey” Doore, who was then in Afghanistan. He remained there un l July 2010 before returning to the United States via Bangor Interna onal Airport. She was in the hospital at the me from two broken arms. The doctor allowed her to be discharged so she could greet her son at the airport. As of November 11, 2010, he is in Virginia for two months and will then go to Washington state. He has been in the Army for 14 years and is a Staff Sergeant studying to be a Chief Warrant Officer. Prior to Afghanistan, he had been to Iraq three mes. “Afghanistan was horrible. It really was. He lost 90 lbs.” He also did not see a lot of local support for the U.S. presence. He a ended Foxcro Academy, was on a state championship team and graduated in 1995. Reenie’s daughter, Erin (Doore) Bridges of Guilford, graduated from Piscataquis Community High School.

2010 Veterans Day

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2010 Veterans Day

PENQUIS Review

Flags were ordered by Maine Governor John Baldacci to be flown half-sta Thursday, November 11, 2010 in honor of U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. James R. Zimmerman, 25, who died Nov. 2 while serving in Afghanistan.

Penquis Review  

2010 Veterans Day

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