Marine veteran and intelligence officer Elliot Ackerman served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and won the Silver Star Medal for leading a platoon in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. For him, Veterans Day is a time for reconnection.
Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.'s "Resistance" podcast explores different aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement. The podcast has been mostly devoted to the protests that started last summer after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but it also chronicles Tejan-Thomas Jr.'s personal history.
A Marine Sergeant and a war correspondent reflect on the physical and psychic cost of war. Marine sergeant TJ Brennan was hit by the blast from a rocket-propelled grenade and suffered traumatic brain injury. Photographer Finbarr O'Reilly was embedded with Brennan's unit in Afghanistan.
Kayla Williams and Brian McGough met in Iraq in 2003. Williams' new memoir, Plenty of Time When We Get Home, describes their homecoming after McGough suffered physical and cognitive injuries in an IED explosion.
Before it was called PTSD, soldiers traumatized in war were described as "shell-shocked" or "battle-fatigued." The new HBO documentary Wartorn, directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Jon Alpert, chronicles the history of PTSD on the American battlefield from the Civil War to the present.
The rate of Army suicides has doubled since 2004. But treating suicidal soldiers is difficult because many don't seek help. Psychologist Craig Bryan, who works with returning vets, discusses the combat stresses that lead to PTSD and suicide -- and what the military is doing to help.
A staff writer for The New Yorker, Jane Mayer joins Fresh Air host Terry Gross to talk about what she discovered while researching her upcoming article "The Predator War." The story explores the ethics and controversies surrounding the CIA's covert drone program, in which remote-controlled airplanes target and kill terror suspects within Pakistan — a country that's a U.S. ally, not an adversary.
Puppies Behind Bars is a canine training program that enlists prison inmates to train puppies as bomb-sniffing dogs or as service animals. Many of the dogs are then paired with wounded or disabled veterans.
With such a high-stakes, high-stress lifestyle, many journalists return from war zones with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Anthony Feinstein is one of those working to help them overcome the emotional aftereffects of covering conflict.
Army Major General Mark Graham lost two sons who were serving in the military, one by suicide, and the other died when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq. Graham was struck by the different ways his sons' deaths were regarded. He has since enacted measures to ensure that all soldiers from the base he commands in Fort Carson, Colo. receive full military funerals and memorial services, regardless of whether they died in combat or by their own hand.
Dr. Michael Grodin discusses his experiences treating Tibetan monks who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Many of the monks were imprisoned or tortured because of their resistance to the Chinese presence in Tibet, and now some of them experience "flashbacks" while meditating.
Dr. Francis DuFrayne is a gastroenterologist in his 50s at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He is also a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in Iraq, where he was called up to treat wounded soldiers. While he was in Iraq, his son was also serving there in the Marines.
Psychiatric-social worker Raymond M. Scurfield is the Director of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Program at the American Lake V.A. Center in Washington State. He served in Vietnam, treating psychiatric casualties. He talks about the typical problems found in combat, the dilemma of sending G.I.'s back into battle, and he speculates on the difficulties G.I.s will face in the Gulf.