Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My personal connection to 9/11

I’ve done enough posts about 9/11 that had to do with me so I might as well tell you guys about someone I know. Back in the early 90, right out of Field Medical Service School (the place where Navy Corpsman learn to play with the Marines and about combat medicine), I was assigned to VMFA (AW)-242 at MCAS El Toro and also assigned to the unit right before we left was a wet behind the ears doctor, Lt David Tarantino. So we went on our wild far east tour and came back and he transferred to a hospital for his residency. 9/11 happens and I drop everything and go back into the military and a couple of months into 2002, I’m in the barracks room of one of my Marines glancing through a Playboy that was sitting there and suddenly there’s picture of Doc standing at a party at the mansion in his dress whites, he had picked up LtCdr since the last time I had see him. Hugh threw a party for the Firefighters and heroes involved in saving lives that day. Doc was at the Pentagon when the plane hit and rushed into a burning room to save a guy. You can find that story here and here and pictures here (they do a great time of telling what happened and I would do a disservice to the tale telling it again). Definitely the stuff heroes are made out of but then again, part of our job is being a hero when the time comes. He was able to answer the call. I’m glad he made it out alright and I'm glad to call him friend. It’s a small world.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

To anyone able to be with thier families, I envy you. To anyone whos overseas fighting for this country this holiday season, I pray that you will return home with honor and are able to have a late Thanksgiving or Christmas with your families at that time. To anyone here in the states serving, yet are not able to return to your families, I relate to you. But to everyone I wish a Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe, Don't drink and Drive, but most of all, be thankful for everything that you have, because the guy next to you may not have much.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Mental problems following war

This is something that I posted at my regular blog because it gets a larger readership then this one but would probably fit here better.

This is an issue that show it’s ugly head after every war, people returning back who are suffering from some sort of mental disorder. A report released in July from The New England Journal of Medicine of Iraq combat veterans showed that at least one in eight - between 15 and 17 percent - seemed to suffer from major depression, generalized anxiety or PTSD. My unit wasn’t at the forefront and we didn’t see heavy combat for which I’m glad but there are small signs in us too. Being at Edwards AFB, there are usually a dozen or so sonic booms a day, for the first couple of weeks after we got back, every time one went off, everybody in the room would duck. Whether we admit it or not most of us suffer from some form of anxiety, mostly mild. It faded fairly quickly for most of us and we went on with life. Not too many people talk about it because of stigma attached to mental illness. Face it being called crazy once most people think you’re crazy for the rest of your life.

This story was pointed out to me by a new addition to my Milblogs list (on Doc in the Box), Eddie from To New Frontiers. 1st Lt Goodrum came back from Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and was turned away from his local medical care facility when he was having a nervous breakdown so he did the next best thing and checked himself into a civilian psychiatric hospital. The problem with mental disorders is that they are internal and mostly a judgment call by the medical staff. We can’t go into the head of the patient, to us they might appear normal and calm but internally they’re one straw from going stark bonkers.The problem with the situation above is that he didn’t put leave papers in, so he’s being charged with being AWOL. I don’t know the facts behind the story other then what is in the Washington Post article printed but it is bothersome that someone who is clearly sick is also being charged with a crime that was clearly caused by his illness. If the charges go through, he could be imprisoned and kicked out and the underlining reason for this all left untreated. Obviously I’m a big supporter of the military but I do think there is a clear need for better psychological counseling available for the returning troops that is easier to get to then the current system. An open door policy that is always available with a minimum of flak or paperwork. These are the people that need the real help when they get back, now while it’s still fresh so they can recover and get on with their lives. I for one don’t want to see them on some street corner in twenty years with a sign that says “Help a Disabled Iraqi Vet-Hungry-need food”.

Monday, October 11, 2004

A Little About Education

Other than healthcare, one issue that keeps me awake at night is K-12 education. This is one area that I took for granted while I was a student in the system and really regret it now. Although I have a lot of great memories from moments that took place within and without the walls of a school while I should have been studying, what are they doing for me now? Absolutely nothing. Notta. Zilch! It took me so long to get caught up. To be honest, I felt like one brilliant dude while I was serving, but then I got out, forced to compete with those who spent there post-K-12 years in college, and realized that I knew a lot about a lot, but not a lot about the basics. Rude awakening, nevertheless. Well, I have worked hard and now feel that I am on a level playing field with my parallels, but I still feel so far behind.

Some time after getting out, I married my wife, a fifth grade public school teacher, and I was confronted with the opportunity to help her to help her students avoid my mistakes. I try to help her as often as I can to make decisions that will push her students a little bit further - and I have found that in order to push them, she has to push herself. A complication that I need to address lightly and lovingly!!!!!!!!

Well, recently I have taken a step into politics and a number of campaigns (presidential and U.S. Senatorial), which has forced me to really look at the issues. FYI: An educated constituent is either a powerful ally or a dreaded foe - depending on what side of the aisle you are on. One of these issues that matches well with my education agenda is No Child Left Behind, or NCLB. To be honest, I have speaking points, but I am not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be. That being said, I am making an effort to become better acquainted with the issue and I am hoping that I can use this venue to share my learnings and learn more from each of you. I am particularly interested in experiences of parents who have noticed a difference, whether good or bad. Let's Roll............

Introducing myself

This is Sean from Doc in the Box, might as well give a little intro about myself for those that haven't read my other blog. I originally joined the Navy in 91, missing the entire first gulf war while at school. Stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station with VMFA (AW)-242 an F/A 18 squadron. Did two 6 month unit deployments with them. With them I went to Iwakuni Japan, Okinawa, Darwin Australia, Guam, Wake Island and Hawaii. Then a 4 year stint at the beautiful Naval Weapons Station China Lake (blah). One good thing about that place they had this thing called flex Fridays where you got every other Friday off. Can’t think of any others. Got out of the Navy in 99 to pursue a different career field, was out for 3 years in school and did something totally different from medicine. I'm one of those that came back in because of 9/11. Figured my skills could better used here. So I'm doing my little bit, saving lives when I can, making sure my guys stay healthy and keeping the families in touch with their loved ones. Blogging gives the rest of the world a snapshot of my mundane life (most days). I also run a photo blog that I started just to share my pictures and adventures which became a nice lifeline for the families of my guys. I look forward to adding my voice to the medical folk we have already gathered here.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The life of a "Doc"

Hey everybody!! I'm Marc, the author of "Corpsman Up!"(link on the sidebar). Im a USN Corpsman, stationed stateside at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. "The Presidents Hospital." I'm not going to use this as a medium to promote my blog in any way shape or form, but go check out everyones blogs. Insights and opinions abound in this unbridled, no-holds barred section of the blogsphere and who knows, you might find a blog in particular that you find amuzing or fun to read.

I'd like to take the time now to thank Sean at "Doc in the Box" for the invite to the group blog. I got this e-mail on the other day and I found myself here. Funny how things work out like that.

Well I gotta get back to my killing and slaughtering my boys at Halo. Take care and nobody be a stranger!!!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Getting Started

Well...I have always been told that you'll never get the answer that you are looking for, unless you ask the right question, so..... Considering the fact that this is my first blog, I have created my profile, but, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to link a photo to the profile. Apparently, you need a URL of sorts and the site even links you to program called Hello that links you to a porgram called Picasa. I have ran through both, but cannot figure out how to locate the URL. Please help.

From Memory to Keystrokes

I would first like to start this entry by extending my gratitude to Sean for giving us this venue to turn our memories into written word and to share our honest thoughts about the present and future state of our country and our faithful who blouse their boots or mount their dixie cup nearly every day for us. I enlisted eighteen days after graduating from high school and served actively between 1991 and 1995 and in the reserves until 1998. During most of that time, I was young and did not appreciate what I was doing and what the Navy was doing for me. It has been six years since my last day of service and I can tell you that I appreciate the military more now than ever before. I look forward to sharing my experiences with each of you.

New group blog for Corpsman

Send me an email at dustmans@hotmail.com if you're interested in joining, I've been thinking about doing something of this sort for a while but Jason T. approached me for permission to post on my blog. Sorry I'm sort of stingy about that (I don't even let my girlfriend fill in for me!) So instead started up a group blog with an open invite to corpsman.