I am in the final stages of recording a new CD titled "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Blues." I need to cover the cost of CD production. My first CD "Vietnam Blues - Combat Tested Blues... for Peace" has been used to treat PTSD combat veterans at the Phoenix VA Hospital. I wrote my songs on the first CD to help myself with my own PTSD. This new CD I have written explicitly to help the staggering number of returning vets with PTSD. My wife and I have run a PTSD help site for many years so I understand veterans with PTSD and I am very good at helping them. The exciting news is that Lee Oskar, owner of Lee Oskar Harmonicas and master harmonica player from the 70s group WAR, plays harmonica on two tracks on my new CD! The new CD also features Chicago Bluesman Barrelhouse Chuck on piano. Because the veterans I am trying to help are so diverse, I have used many styles of music on this CD -- not only blues and beat poetry, (that's my thing), but also country-western, rock, '40s style, jazz and even a Cajun style song. The song at this site is, "PTSD Love" from the new CD.
Thanks for your consideration. ~ Sarge ~
very helpfull thanks to all
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Poem)
I love you through my anger, In between my fits of rage. I want us to be happy, But I just can't turn the page.
I see in you the answer To every time I've prayed. Then I get mad; you leave the room; I wish that you had stayed.
My love just wants to hold your hand, But my anger doesn't care. I feel the weight you carry. It really isn't fair.
I gave our country everything The day I went to war. I thought the cost would be my life, But it turned out to be much more.
I look into my child's eyes, And I see a child burned By Napalm lying on the ground, Without a lesson learned.
So now they send the young folks To act like war is fun, Without a thought of how they'll feel When their killing job is done.
When folks go fill their gas tanks I think they all should know, A veteran's future happiness Is drowning in the flow.
THE WARRIORS CODE OF HONOR
The Warriors Code of Honor has come to the
attention of the Idaho Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Its
author wishes to remain anonymous. We know this about him though his
experiences in the U.S Army and his coming home experiences led him to write
this Code. He is a Purple Heart Medal recipient and a life time member of both
the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) and the Disabled
American Veterans (DAV).
The reason the Warriors Code of Honor is so
important is because it needs to get out to as many Veterans as possible
especially those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It has
prevented a number of suicides. Currently 30 Purple Heart Medal Recipient, plus
PTSD experts, testify that it helps combat veterans, Warriors currently
serving, and their loved ones to read it. Currently the Code is now being
routinely handed out by the Veterans Administration in the greater Augusta
Georgia area to Vets diagnosed with PTSD, with the National VA being petitioned
to do so nation-wide. The same is true for the Augusta Wounded Warriors Care
Project. At Fort Gordon near Augusta the Code is being handed out to those
awaiting discharge and to new recruits etc. with the Department of Defense (DOD)
being petitioned to adopt it world-wide.
To verify the truth of these
statements you are invited to visit the COMMENTS/FEEDBACK FROM COMBAT VETERANS
section immediately following the Warriors Code at www.militarycodeofhonor.com. The authors reasons for writing
the Code are as follows and in his own words and ought to sound very familiar to
those of us who are Combat Veterans no matter what war we fought in. His reasons
for writing it are as pertinent as the Code itself.
"My experiences as an
18 year-old soldier in a U.S Army Infantry Division, and my disastrous coming
home experiences led me to write the Code. It is my hope that my words will
forewarn my fellow combat veterans about the dangers of coming home with
un-realistic expectations and denied PTSD.
My coming home expectations
were not only wrong but upside down and backwards too. I expected that things
would be much the same as when I left for war, and expected to resume my life
pretty much as before. These expectations were based on my ignorance of what
struggling and fighting in deadly earnest amidst bodies, blood, pain, and
violent death does to those who do the fighting. I now know that I was also
wounded in a secret, bloodless way called PTSD but did not realize it at the
When I came home I had no idea that combat had aged me far beyond
my years, changing me from an immature teenager into a man old enough in the
head to be my own father. This is why I was so surprised and disappointed to
discover that I had nothing in common with the High School
friends I expected to resume hanging out with. It was if I had become their
responsible, trustworthy parent and they were still irresponsible, untrustworthy
adolescents. After friends died in combat keeping their word to me, they seemed
too un-tested to be trusted and were now, very sadly, mere acquaintances to be
I had no idea that I came home thrill-crazy, which made me
consider those who were not willing to engage in dangerous but thrilling
activities not OK people. For example, going blast fishing to see who could
hold a burning stick of dynamite the longest before throwing it into the water
to blast fish to the surface. I always won those contests, holding the
dynamite much longer than anyone else so that when I did throw it into the
water, it only sank an inch or so before exploding and wetting everyone in the
boat. As a result nobody wanted to go fishing with me anymore.
This is just
one example of my thrill-crazy adrenaline junky behaviors. There are others,
like driving cars like a Hollywood stunt-car driver, riding motorcycles like a
mad maniac, etc. I was disappointed to discover that nobody wanted to risk doing
things with me anymore. I felt lonely and alone, a stranger in my own home town.
I, of course, felt blameless for this sad state of affairs Im OK, its them,
they are not OK cowards!
One crashed expectation followed another in a
long line of disappointments. Home was OK like it had always been, but in my
battle-rattled mind it had turned into a place peopled by phantoms from a
long-ago world that was no more, and I was but the grim ghost of the happy
teenager I had been just a year before -- an alien visitor from the Warriors
World, far beyond the sun.
In short, due to unrealistic expectations and
denied PTSD coming home was hell for me. Broken, dispirited, and heart-busted, I
left town and never went back.
Thanks to the G.I. Bill and multiple,
simultaneous part-time jobs, I graduated from university and became a successful
professional by day, and a thrill-crazy alcoholic and junkie by night. I was in
denial that I was behaving in this self-destructive way because I had cancer of
the soul, that is, PTSD. What, a real tough guy like me suffering from some
sissy mental mumbo jumbo like PTSD? Not only no, but hell no! Im OK!
was so happy being a "cool dude" slyly getting away with burning the candle of
my life at both ends that it was a real shock to discover in a rare moment of
self-honesty/self-awareness that I had a secret death wish inching my
thrill-crazy adrenaline junky behaviors ever-more dangerous. I was stunned. What
a wakeup call. Suddenly I realized that I had to change my life or die.
abandoned my profession and went native. I spent a year alone in the wilderness
of Honey Island Swamp vowing to stop stumbling thru life thrill-crazy, drinking
and drugging to numb my guilt for living while friends died, and so on. I kicked
cold turkey alcohol and drugs and came out clean as a whistle. I have been
that way ever since.
Over the years I often wished that I had read
something like the Code to forewarn me about the danger of coming home with
un-realistic expectations and denied PTSD. It would have saved me enormous
mental pain and suffering. I made a life-changing decision. I gave my word of
honor to spend the rest of my life trying to warn my fellow combat veterans what
coming home might really be like, why this was so, and what they could do about
So I sat down and deliberately allowed repressed painful coming home
disappointments, and repressed terrible combat memories hiding in the darkness
of my gut to come out into the healing sunlight of awareness and be re-lived and
tearfully suffered thru so I could write about them.
Each time I gritted my
teeth and repeated this dreaded but necessary act, the resulting emotional pain
was less than the time before. Meanwhile something wondrous was slowly,
imperceptibly happening to me inside. Calmness and tranquility increased,
inversely proportional to the decrease in emotional pain. The more pain I
deliberately suffered thru thereby disappearing it, the less pain remained,
making more room for the infilling of more blessed serenity.
In sum, my
self-inflicted pain and suffering enabled me to not only write the Code, but
also to earn an ever-increasing degree of peace of mind. This increase is still
going on to this day, thus I can testify from personal experience that there is
no top to the mountain of serenity.
It is my life desire that my words
will forewarn combat veterans about the coming home dangers. If they come home
with realistic expectations and admitted PTSD, all will be well. If they do not,
they will be in hell.
Ancient wisdom teaches that to be forewarned is to
I came home un-forewarned, was thus unarmed, in hell, and
bleeding shot thru the heart by un-realistic expectations and denied PTSD. And
on that bloody hook, thereby hangs this tale.
THE WARRIORS CODE OF
As a combat veteran wounded in one of Americas wars, I offer
to speak for those who cannot. Were the mouths of my fallen front-line friends
not stopped with dust, they would testify that life revolves around honor.
war, it is understood that you give your word of honor to do your duty that is
stand and fight instead of running away and deserting your friends.
you keep your word despite desperately desiring to flee the screaming hell all
around, you earn honor.
Earning honor under fire changes who you
The blast furnace of battle burns away impurities encrusting your
The white-hot forge of combat hammers you into a hardened, purified
warrior willing to die rather than break your word to friends your
Combat is scary but exciting.
You never feel so alive as when
being shot at without result
You never feel so triumphant as when shooting
back with result.
You never feel love so pure as that burned into your
heart by friends willing to die to keep their word to you.
The biggest sadness of your life is to see friends falling.
biggest surprise of your life is to survive the war.
Although still alive on
the outside, you are dead inside shot thru the heart with nonsensical guilt
for living while friends died.
The biggest lie of your life torments you that
you could have done something more, different, to save them.
Their faces are
the tombstones in your weeping eyes, their souls shine the true camaraderie you
search for the rest of your life but never find.
You live a different
world now. You always will.
Your world is about waking up night after night
silently screaming, back in battle.
Your world is about your best friend
bleeding to death in your arms, howling in pain for you to kill him.
world is about shooting so many enemies the gun turns red and jams, letting the
enemy grab you.
Your world is about struggling hand-to-hand for one more
breath of life.
You never speak of your world.
Those who have seen
combat do not talk about it.
Those who talk about it have not seen
You come home but a grim ghost of he who so lightheartedly went
off to war.
But home no longer exists.
That world shattered like a mirror
the first time you were shot at.
The splintering glass of everything you knew
fell at your feet, revealing what was standing behind it grinning death and
you are face to face, nose to nose with it!
The shock was so great that the
boy you were died of fright.
He was replaced by a stranger who slipped into
your body, a MAN from the Warriors World.
In that savage place, you give
your word of honor to dance with death instead of run away from it.
suicidal waltz is known as: doing your duty.
You did your duty,
survived the dance, and returned home. But not all of you came back to the
Your heart and mind are still in the Warriors World, far
beyond the Sun. They will always be in the Warriors World. They will never
leave, they are buried there.
In that hallowed home of honor, life is about
keeping your word.
People in the civilian world, however, have no idea
that life is about keeping your word.
They think life is about ballgames,
backyards, barbecues, babies and business.
The distance between the two
worlds is as far as Mars from Earth.
This is why, when you come home, you
feel like an outsider, a visitor from another planet.
try to bridge the gaping gap.
It is useless. They may as well look up at the
sky and try to talk to a Martian as talk to you. Words fall like bricks between
Serving with Warriors who died proving their word has made prewar
friends seem too un-tested to be trusted thus they are now mere
The hard truth is that earning honor under fire makes you a
stranger in your own home town, an alien visitor from a different world, alone
in a crowd.
The only time you are not alone is when with another combat
Only he understands that keeping your word, your honor, whilst
standing face to face with death gives meaning and purpose to life.
understands that your terrifying but thrilling dance with death has made
your old world of backyards, barbecues and ballgames seem deadly dull.
he understands that your way of being due to combat damaged emotions is not
un-usual, but the usual, and you are OK.
A common consequence of combat
is adrenaline addiction. Many combat veterans including this writer feel
that war was the high point of our lives, and emotionally, life has been
downhill ever since.
This is because we came home adrenaline junkies. We got
that way doing our duty in combat situations such as:
crouching in a foxhole
waiting for attacking enemy soldiers to get close enough for you to start
hugging the ground, waiting for the signal to leap up and attack
sneaking along on a combat patrol out in no mans land, seeking a
suddenly realizing that you are walking in the middle of a mine
Circumstances like these skyrocket your feelings of aliveness far
above and beyond civilian life:
never have you felt so terrified yet so
never have you seen sky so blue, grass so green, breathed air so
sweet, etc.; because dancing with death makes you feel stratospheric
This unforgettable experience of being sky-high on adrenaline
is why you come home basically thrill-crazy that is: crazy for thrills. But
do you know that you are an adrenaline junky? No you do not because being
wacked-out on it 24/7, day after day, month after month becomes the new
normal. You do not think anything is wrong with being constantly high as a kite
on adrenaline because it is not un-usual but the usual the common, everyday
condition of combat.
Then you come home where the addictive, euphoric
rush of aliveness/adrenaline hardly ever happens in the normal course of events.
You miss being sky-high on it and find normal boring. You hunger for your fix
of thrills/danger like an addict hungers for his fix of heroin. So what often
happens? Quick, pass me the motorcycle and /or fast car, thrill-driving, drag
race, speedboat, airplane, parachute, extreme sport, rock climbing, big game
hunt, fist fight, knife fight, gun fight, etc.
Another reason Warriors
may find the rush of adrenaline attractive is because it lets them feel
something rather than nothing. The dirty little secret no one talks about is
that many combat veterans come home unable to feel their feelings. It works like
In battle, it is understood that you give your word of honor to not let
your fear stop you from doing your duty. To keep your word, you must numb
up/shut down your fear.
But the numb-up/shut-down mechanism does not work
like a tight, narrow rifle shot; it works like a broad, spreading shot gun
blast. Thus when you numb up your fear, you numb up virtually all your other
feelings as well.
The more combat, the more fear you must not feel. You may
get so numbed up/shut down inside that you cannot feel much of anything. You
become an emotionally dead man walking, feeling virtually nothing for nobody (if
you let yourself be stopped in the flow of combat by feelings of grief for
fallen friends you may join them). This condition is known as battle-hardened,
meaning that you can feel hard feelings like hate and anger, but not soft,
tender feelings (which is bad news for loved ones).
The reason that the rush
of adrenaline, alcohol, drugs, dangerous life style, etc. is so attractive is
because you get to feel something, which is a step up from the awful deadness of
Although you walk thru life alone, you are not
You have a constant companion from combat Death.
It stands close
behind, a little to the left.
Death whispers in your ear; Nothing matters
outside my touch, and I have not touched you
Death never leaves
you it is your best friend, your most trusted advisor, your wisest
Death teaches you that every day above ground is a fine
Death teaches you to feel fortunate on good days, and bad days well,
they do not exist.
Death teaches you that each day alive is sufficient unto
Death teaches you that you can postpone its touch by earning
Serenity is earned by a lot of prayer and
Acceptance is taking one step out of denial and
accepting/allowing your repressed painful combat memories, and repressed coming
home disappointments to be re-lived/suffered thru/shared with other combat vets
and thus de-fused.
Each time you accomplish this dreaded but necessary
act of courage/desperation:
the pain gets less;
more tormenting combat
demons hiding in the darkness of your gut which you cannot language because they
are out of sight down below the level of your consciousness --- are thrown out
into the healing sunlight of awareness, thereby disappearing them;
bedeviling combat demons, the more serenity earned.
regretfully, rather an indistinct quality, but it manifests as an immense
feeling deep inside of fulfillment/satisfaction:
from having proven your
honor under fire;
from having demonstrated to be a fact that you did your
duty no matter what;
and from being grateful to Higher Power/your Creator for
It is an iron law of nature that such serenity lengthens life
span to the max.
Down thru the dusty centuries it has always been
It always will be, for what is seared into a mans soul who stands face
to face with death never changes.
WRITERS NOTE (1) TOWARDS ACCEPTING
A COMBAT VET'S WAY OF BEING
This work attempts to describe the world as
seen thru the eyes of a combat veteran.
It is a world virtually unknown to
civilians and unknown even within the Warrior culture because few veterans can
talk about it. My purpose in writing the Warriors Code is three-fold:
let my fellow combat veterans know why they feel like they do, and that they are
not alone in this world because there are many others who feel the same way they
(2) to explain to the loved ones of combat vets and civilians why
veterans are like they are;
(3) to show how to connect with a combat
The first two purposes are hopefully fulfilled by the Code
I will attempt to fulfill the third purpose. People who are
trying to make meaningful contact with a combat veteran can do so if they keep
one thing in mind his whole life is about keeping his word of honor. Therefore
to connect with him you must demonstrate/prove to him out in the open in front
of God and everybody that you too have a Code of Honor that is, you also keep
your word no matter what!
Do it and you will forge a bond between
Do it not and you will not. This goes for everyone especially wives
and children repeat: wives.
End of story. Case closed.
I offer these
poor, inadequate words bought not taught in the hope that they may shed some
small light on why combat veterans are like they are, and how they can fix
It is my life desire that this tortured work, despite its many
defects, may yet still provide some tiny sliver of understanding which may
blossom into tolerance nay, acceptance of a Warriors perhaps unconventional
way of being due to combat-damaged emotions from doing his duty under
Signed, a Purple Heart Medal recipient who wishes to remain
Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH)
member number L63550
Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans
Dedicated to absent friends in unmarked graves
written and submitted by;
Pete Oakander, Purple Heart Medal recipient
Commander of Chief Joseph Chapter 509 of the Military
Order of the Purple Heart Boise, Idaho
Charter Member of American Legion
Post 39 Middleton, Idaho
Yours in Patriotism. You are invited to help
spread the word about the Warriors Code of Honor
invites the reader's comments/feedback re: this email which may be emailed to
The writer also invites the reader to visit the Warrior's
Code website at [militarycodeofhonor.com] and see what 30 Purple Heart Medal
recipients, their loved ones and PTSD experts say about the Code and the
writer's notes (2) (3) and (4) helping them.