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Old March 15, 2009, 08:06 AM   #1
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I'm Back

So I am back from my tour of duty in Afghanistan. First I want to say thanks to everyone who helped me out with my situation while I was gone. You know who you are. Well last night I was outside walking my dog because I always take her out one last time before I go to bed. I always grab my Sig P226 .40S&W and put it in my coat pocket before going out after hours. I am walking her around a dark lit part of our gated community and then walk back into the well lit part with several lights around me. I forgot that when you have several lights shining on you from different directions that you cast several shadows. I see the shadow to my side and then out of my peripheral and then I see another one coming up fast behind me. Thinking that I had someone coming up on me from behind I drew my pistol and swung around only to find out that it was only my own shadow. I laughed and went on about my business. Thinking about it later on I guess 6 months in Afghanistan has kinda put me on edge. I've noticed my internal alerts are at an all time high. I seem to have my guard up all the time which I guess is a good thing. Anyone else ever experience anything like that? Shooting at ghosts so to speak?
Sig P226 .40, Mossberg 500 Persuader, Springfield 1911 GI, M91/30

Last edited by GetYerShells; March 15, 2009 at 08:25 AM.
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Old March 15, 2009, 08:12 AM   #2
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First of all I would like to say thank you and God bless you for your service. I appreciate men and women alike who fight for us back here. I don't carry, yet, but I do have my CCW and am soon going to be purchasing a gun and occasionally while I'm out with my girlfriend I tend to freak myself out while we are walking out of a wal-mart when I see people who look suspicious my heart beat builds up and I'm soon watching every angle around me like opening day of deer season. I guess its always good to just be prepared and if you think you're paranoid or anything just remember you aren't the only one. I'd rather be wrong and pull then to ignore it and have a knife in my back.
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Old March 15, 2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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Welcome back. Being back in the States after a deployment like that can be quite the roller coaster. I know that it felt very strange for a little while.

As you may already know the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA) Program (DD Form 2900) is a program mandated by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in March 2005. The reassessment is scheduled for completion before the end of 180 days after return. There are service specific wickets that must be completed. This assesment is crucial to identifying any issues that can become problems in the short and long term.

I also suggest getting the book "Downrange. To Iraq And Back". The book is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and for veterans returning from Iraq & Afghanistan. The book is free of charge to Vets & their families as a service of The Veteran's Action Project (

This book helped me out a lot.

Last edited by Creature; March 15, 2009 at 08:40 AM. Reason: added links
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Old March 15, 2009, 09:41 PM   #4
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Thank you for your service sir. I cannot express my gratitude enough. I've found that my internal alarm is to instictively reach for my gun. It happens often, most of the time for no reason. Better to have the reaction and not need it, than need it and not have the reaction. Welcome home!
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Old March 15, 2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Welcome Home and thank you for your service. Yes, I have experienced it and it is hard to deal with. " Walking it off" by Doug Pecock is good too. Again, welcome home.
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Old March 15, 2009, 11:05 PM   #6
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Welcome home. Alot of people would call that "reckless" and it probably is, but I know how it is, on deployment you are going 100 miles an hour, when you come home, it takes a few weeks to get back in the swing of things. When I got back from Iraq, I was on my way back from visiting family a few hours away, a car cut me off and I freaked the hell out; hell, I suddenly felt the need for my M240. Hang in there buddy.
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Old March 16, 2009, 01:16 AM   #7
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i still remember eyeballing cars/trash on the side of the road, and almost caused a few wrecks changing lanes abruptly under overpasses.

you will gradually slow back down to "normal". its been 4yrs and sudden loud noises still get me.
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
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Old March 16, 2009, 01:41 AM   #8
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You need to get back to normal and decompress. That decompression thing was easy for my Dad, Uncle, and other family as they took about a month to get home after being in combat. Oops, I forgot, they were in WWII and not this rapid deployment war.

What I'm trying to say is, that long boat ride helped them to leave combat behind and return to normal. It sounds to me like you need to go talk with a support group of vets that have returned under similar circumstances. I know it took me about a year to become a human being again after three years behind the walls as a CO.

Don't think you can return to being the same person you were, you can't. Your life expiriences have changed you. What you can do however is deal with them and I beg you to do that before you hurt yourself or someone else. Pulling your gun because you're "jumpy" is a sign to me that you need to "decompress".

Give me a PM if I can help in any way.

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Old March 16, 2009, 11:26 AM   #9
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Thank you for your service!

I got up to walk out of my bedroom one night to use the restroom a few years ago. Just as I cleared the door frame I saw someone standing right next to me in the dark. I turned and threw the hardest punch of my life. Turns out my mother had stacked a few boxes up about 6ft tall right outside my bedroom door after i had gone to sleep. She wasnt very happy about having to pick all of the scattered stuff up
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Old March 16, 2009, 11:54 AM   #10
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Funny you mention shadows. One of the things that was the hardest things for me to re-adjust to when I got back were the street lights that are all around where I live. While walking at night, the constantly shifting shadows that were cast at differingt angles from differing objects was a bear for me to get used to again. There weren't many lights on the streets and roads that we had to travel where I was deployed as an IA.
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Old March 16, 2009, 05:10 PM   #11
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My Dad is still funny sometimes 40 years later.

Therapy is a great idea, imo.

Thank you for your service.
J.M. Johnston
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Old March 17, 2009, 02:57 PM   #12
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I don't have anything to add, except to thank you and welcome you back. It's good to have you back again.

BTW, I don't think you need a support group. You sound like you're just being cautious. Maybe a bit overly so, but that will ease off in time, JMO. Again, welcome home!
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Old March 17, 2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry about it. I'm like that all the time and I've never been in the military or any kind of combat. Maybe I've just read too many books and see too many movies though...
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Old March 17, 2009, 04:19 PM   #14
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I have been in the Army (Brit, you guessed aye?) calm service.

Five years as a "Doorman" in the Clubs in Liverpool UK, 1960 till 65, that wound me up like a drum, being stabbed twice helped as well.

What has never gone away, the reaction to threat (sometimes not even real) that was developed in those five years. A good thing.

Glad to have you back.
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Old March 17, 2009, 05:36 PM   #15
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Thank You & God Bless
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Old March 17, 2009, 07:39 PM   #16
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Welcome Home!

Thank you for your service.
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Old March 20, 2009, 09:47 PM   #17
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Thank you for your service
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Old March 20, 2009, 10:06 PM   #18
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Another "thank you." Take care of yourself and live your dreams. - Erik
Meriam Webster's: Main Entry: ci·vil·ian Pronunciation: \sə-ˈvil-yən also -ˈvi-yən\, Function: noun, Date: 14th century, 1: a specialist in Roman or modern civil law, 2 a: one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force b: outsider 1, — civilian adjective
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