My dad joined the Army in World War II, age 39. He was on the bomb disposal team. I remember him returning home with bomb fragments in his body from disarming bombs. These were removed, except from his hands. He didn’t seem to mind and his family said he was still the man that went to war. Years later, Dad said R&R helped resolve the stress of duty. Plus the long ship voyage home.

Vietnam was a war of constant stress. No real R&R. Troops never knew who was going to shoot them in the back. Many ended up homeless or living apart from everyone in the wilds.

The Middle East wars ended up like Vietnam: stress 24 hours a day, no relief. The result was PTSD, rage, nightmares, the urge to self destruct. As a 17-year-old hospital corpsman, I treated people for gunshot wounds and dealt with hyperactivity, depression and rage.

I know of an ex-Marine today who was falsely accused of murder by arson. His court-appointed attorney did not have the funds or the time to mount a fair defense. Evidence later showed the charge to be false.

The ex-Marine spent 21 years on Death Row. The prosecutor falsely stated the man had disconnected a smoke detector showing premeditation, even though the prosecutor had been told by his own state witness that the lady renter had unhooked the detector a day earlier for a pot party.

At his last hearing, the ex-Marine pleaded guilty at not babysitting or not being in the area when the fire broke out. He pleaded guilty for threats at the prosecutor due to the false charges. After this hearing, prosecutor Lammers stated there was no forensic evidence of arson.

This ex-Marine is Kenny Richey. He was offered but refused mental health assistance for PTSD.

Larry Phalen, Kalida

Post navigation