The Untold Story Of War With Ann Jones

Apr 10, 2014
Ann Jones' book, "They Were Soldiers."

Battle scars are not always visible.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects almost 30 percent of soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Journalist Ann Jones researched how war affects people’s minds by following troops in the Middle East. Her new book is called “They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars: The Untold Story.”

In it, Jones also looks at how war touches those close to soldiers: spouses, children, doctors and friends. She spoke at Town Hall on March 18, 2014.

Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Re-experiencing, avoidance, hyperarousal: these are the three categories of post-traumatic stress disorder as laid out by the National Institute of Mental Health. They commonly go by more common names: nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, social isolation, poor concentration, insomnia and startling.

Hypervigilance And Crowds Complicate Holidays And Life Back Home For Veterans

Dec 31, 2013
Flickr Photo/United States Air Forces - Iraq

Steve Scher gets tips from licensed mental health counselor and suicidologist Randi Jensen on how to help combat war veterans get through the holiday season and beyond.

When Michael Hartnett was getting kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was too deep into post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and alcohol to care as his battalion commander explained to the young man that his career was ending, and ending badly.

"Do you understand what I'm saying to you, son? It's going to be six and a kick," Hartnett recalls the commander telling him.

The "six" was an expected six months of hard labor in the brig. The kick happened at Hartnett's court-martial, and finally woke him up out of the haze.



In many ways, military veterans hold a privileged place in American society, but not all vets have access to what goes along with that privilege. In the past decade of war, more than 100,000 men and women left the military with less than honorable discharges, many due to bad conduct related to post traumatic stress disorder. Once they're kicked out of the military, they lose access to benefits like treatment for PTSD.

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.

None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."



Flickr Photo/Kris Krug

 Photographing Midway Island
Seattle-based photographer Chris Jordan has traveled around the world to document mass consumption and the waste that results from it. His most recent work is focused on Midway Island, an atoll thousands of miles from the nearest land mass. Jordan documented the impact of ocean detritus on Midway’s native albatross species. The result is Jordan’s first film, to be released later this year. But “Midway” is about more than birds.  How did this work affect the photographer himself?

Understanding Post Traumatic Stress And Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are many invisible wounds soldiers in combat face. Thirty-six percent of soldiers have traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress as a result of their time in the military. General Peter Chiarelli retired from his position as Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army after serving as a combat commander in Iraq for two tours. He is now the CEO of One Mind for Research, where he works to get rid of the stigma service members and veterans face when they seek assistance for PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Madigan Army Medical Center PA

An investigation into improper leadership involvement in diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder at Madigan Army Medical Center has cleared Hospital Commander Col. Dallas Homas of any wrongdoing.

The Army has more than doubled its number of military and civilian behavioral health workers in the past five years, however, a newly released report that examines how the Army evaluates soldiers for mental health issues finds that the system is riddled with problems. 

For years, PTSD — or post-traumatic stress disorder — has been an issue for military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But humans aren't the only ones with problems. Military dogs returning from war zones are also showing signs of PTSD. And there's evidence that these canines need some extra tender loving care after their tours of duty.

Patricia Murphy

The Army says it won’t release the investigation into how Madigan Army Medical Center handled some soldiers' diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder. The denial comes one week after the Secretary of the Army visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma, to announce the completion of an Army-wide review on the same subject.

Photo courtesy US Marine Corp

Army Secretary John McHugh will be at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Monday. He’ll be briefing reporters on the results of an Army-wide review of soldier behavioral health evaluations for post-traumatic stress disorder. The comprehensive review was the result of a smaller investigation that began after a forensic psychiatry team at Madigan Army Medical Center in Lakewood was found to have reversed some soldiers' PTSD diagnoses.