The stress of combat is real, I’ve lost friends in the Teams due to it.

I remember being in Iraq and looking at the tackle box (yes a tackle box) full of prescription medication a retired Army E-9 was in possession of. He laughed, and said the VA was trying to kill him. It was unbelievable to me that they would basically medicate this guy into darkness. It’s true, I experienced it years later myself. Chris Kyle’s killer was also medicated instead of being hospitalized (at the repeated request of his family). The VA needs new leadership but part two to that story will come soon. 

PTSD can be overcome but it takes more than medication, it takes positive action, good mental health support (PHD level…accept no less) and support from a community. This is my opinion anyway. I’m pleased to share this short story and others coming soon with the Team Room.  We’ve had a ton of veterans come forward, and share their experiences after our PTSD radio show with the Spooner brothers discussing their experiences candidly.  Below is one that was shared, l>et us know what you think.


I don’t think PTSD ever goes away.  It does however ebb and flow and 2010 had been a relatively good year for me.  Working at a company comprised of mostly former Special Operations combat veterans had played a large role in the disappearance of my PTSD symptoms; they seemed to become less and less every day.  I was around other veterans, and had a purpose. I was helping teach Special Operations personnel the skills that they would need to survive on the battlefield and to catch terrorists.   I felt needed again. I felt the comradery again that I had been missing since my exit from the Army.  I felt like my life had taken a turn for the better for the first time in about 7 years, until the accident.

In the spring of 2011 our instructional team travelled to Tampa, Florida for a month.  We would be teaching in a small suburb of the city at a non-descript government location.  I had decided to drive to Tampa from Richmond so I could take numerous books I needed for the online courses I taught, numerous books I was currently reading, and several other things like a blender, and a few bags of organic fruits and vegetables so i could maintain some semblance of a healthy diet; at least until I found a place in Tampa where I could buy similar items.

I left my house early on a Saturday morning and began the 11-hour journey.  My Ipod, filled with music and three or four audio books that I was trying to finish, kept me entertained during the monotonous highway driving.  Everything was going well; Virginia state line, North Carolina, South Carolina; the day progressed as any other and I was enjoying the audiobook version of What the Bleep Do We Know  when I decided to pull off the highway to get gas and use the restroom in Dillon, South Carolina.  The weather was beautiful; sparkling blue sky, the occasional wispy cloud, and a refreshing spring breeze that reminded me of the air in Iraq that preceded the terrible summer heat.  I finished pumping my gas and ran to the rear of the building to take a piss.  Either a smell or a sound reminded me of how long it had been since I had journeyed in the misty underworld of nightmares from Iraq.  I felt clean now; almost like a person who had come through a bad addiction and was sober.  I too was now sober: no more poison making its way through my mind.           

I left the gas station that afternoon and got back onto 95S, heading towards Savannah.  About 9 miles south of Dillon, I noticed a white van about 300 meters in front of me in the slow lane.  I always tried to look as far ahead as possible when driving in order to react if something happened.  For a split second, I thought I saw the van slightly veer left, then right.  I thought it a bit strange but continued to listen to my book and watch the road.  Moments later, the van appeared to strike the vehicle in front of it, crossed the center line into the left lane, and then disappear into the tree-infested center ditch that often separates major highways.  I paused for a second and wondered why someone would pull off into the median after they had just run into the car in front of them.  Then I felt that feeling; the adrenaline poured into me and sparked something indescribable.  I finally realized that he hadn’t pulled over and driven into the median, he had lost control and driven off the highway into the swampy area of trees.