In this hour, President Obama reminds us that he intends to end combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010 as we spend this hour surveying just what the troops are coming home to, and what it has all meant. Major Steve Beck is a Marine Casualty Notification Officer. Journalist Jim Sheeler wrote his book, Final Salute, about him. Sheeler tells Anne Strainchamps that a Marine family's worst fear is seeing Major Beck at their door.
Next, Iraq War veteran Sergeant John McCary reads an e-mail he sent his family in 2004 about the brutal nature of the insurgency.
Then, Kyle Haussmann-Stokes, like many returning Iraq War veterans, struggled alone with his PTSD. Eventually he got help and made a film called Now, After. He talks with Jim Fleming. Stokes is currently a film student at USC.
After that, we hear the Commanding Officer of Fort Campbell, home of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, recorded when the based closed down for three days following a rash of eleven suicides.
Following that, Brigadier General Loree Sutton is the military's top-ranking psychiatrist and Director of the Pentagon's Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. She talks with Steve Paulson about what the military is doing to combat the alarming statistics concerning suicide, alcoholism and PTSD in returning vets.
And finally, Anne Strainchamps talked with Colby Buzzell over 4 years ago after he returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq. At that time, having seen a lot of heavy combat, Buzzell wanted to sort out what had happened, get himself back together and take advantage of the GI bill for college. Now, Buzzell has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and struggles with addiction. He and Anne talked again. A collection of Colby Buzzell's Iraq War blog entries can be found in his book, My War. [Broadcast Date: May 28, 2009]
(P) and ©2010 Wisconsin Public Radio