“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. ” ~Milton Freidman
Suicide Claims 14th Marine From a Unit Battered by Loss
Does this provide us with more evidence that our veterans are being failed by the VA Medical system?
Any member of our armed forces is entitled to the best medical care available in the private sector.
Anything less and this article shows the reader the results.
I once had a friend, who committed suicide the same way.
He would go to the VA for help, ask the so-called therapist a few questions.
Have you seen muzzle flashes directed at you?
Do you know the sound of incoming rounds?
Have you ever been shot?
The answer was always no…..
He replied, then you can’t help me.
Michael Yon Online Magazine
07 January 2016
This unit is getting hit hard by suicide. Nobody seems to know what to do. I have a humble idea…
The idea came to me during the wars. Sometimes when I took a break from Iraq or Afghanistan, I just went for a long walk. Not too long, just a couple hundred miles or so, but after finishing the walk, you are ready to go back to one of the wars.
For instance, up in Nepal, in the mountains, you are up there walking all day in the sunlight. There are no televisions, very little communications. Well, you can take a cell these days, and I took a sat-phone that often did not work due to the mountains.
From the New York Times:
LONGMONT, Colo. — Tyler Schlagel slipped out of his parents’ house while they were asleep three weeks ago and drove through the wintry darkness to his favorite fishing lake high in the Rockies.
Mr. Schlagel, a 29-year-old former Marine corporal who was stocking shelves at a sporting goods store, carried with him the eight journals he had filled during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also carried a .40-caliber pistol.
Under the bright mountain stars, he kindled a small campfire. When the flames grew high, he threw the journals into the fire, then shot himself in the head.
Mr. Schlagel’s death Dec. 9 was the 14th suicide in his military unit — the Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment — since the group returned from a bloody tour in Afghanistan in 2008. Many other members have attempted suicide, one just three days after Mr. Schlagel’s death.
Tyler Schlagel, a Marine who reached the rank of corporal during his military service, in Afghanistan in 2008.
Often I walked alone. Other times with someone I met on the trails until our paths split. I hired porters to carry my books and gear. Very cheap, and that left my hands free to practice photography.
And one day it occurred to me. This is what veterans need. A long walk in distant mountains, in the sunshine. When you finish at night, you shower under a bucket and eat fresh foods and read a book and wake up with your face planted in a book.
Eat breakfast and walk all day again. Do this for a couple or a few weeks and you are good to go.
So I thought, imagine if the military did this for returning units. Take the whole unit to Colorado and walk in those mountains for a couple weeks. Let them bring their families. It would be a great time.
For veterans, the VA could set up annual events like this in the Rocky Mountains, or the Appalachian trail. Invite all veterans and active duty during the best month, and just start out on the trail and walk a couple hundred miles. Welcome the public, the cops, firefighters, office people who need some fresh air.
Years ago, I read about a World War II veteran who said he witnessed terrible things in the Pacific war. So he went for a walkabout — the entire Appalachian trail – about 2,000 miles.
As I recall, he said that fixed his spirits. (If anyone remembers where this is written, please say. It may have been in a book about the Appalachian trail.)
I am sure veterans would feel great every day, and make new friends. They would not be sitting around remembering bad things. They would sleep at night because they would be too tired to do much else.
Maybe private citizens could arrange something more effectively. Have a big banquet at the end, speeches, maybe some celebrities, Aerosmith, that sort of thing.
I am no expert, but walking in the mountains made me feel good and fresh to go back to combat. Just a thought.
Postscript: After I first published this on Facebook, many people posted links to organizations who already are doing this.