Operation Puppy Peace

Susan Outward Bound

I woke up this morning thinking about my daughter, Susan’s, project Operation Puppy Peace http://www.razoo.com/story/Operation-Puppy-Peace. It really surprised me that she started this effort to help war veterans that are experiencing the effects of our wars since she is a liberal vegan and not someone who you would think of as supporting our military. However, I think she met and talked to some veterans during her Outward Bound trip that made her realize that our soldiers are also victims of war. Most people across the country, and especially in Congress, that beat the war drums have never heard a shot fired in the heat of combat but they demand that we use our military to enforce our will for God and Country.

The people that fight these wars are our children. No, not the fortunate children of the elite, but the children of the 99%. They think they are immortal and are filled with patriotic rhetoric and passion when they proudly march off to war. When they experience war for themselves, it’s often a different story. I never got shot at or shot at anyone but I do know a little about this since I retired from the military having served from ’59 to ’79 and trained many who got shot at and lived with the survivors of the Vietnam Conflict. I trained in Ground Radio and many Forward Air Controllers wore a PRC 41 (Prick 41) radio on their back and called in air strikes in support of our troops. I often stayed with Marines stationed at embassies in Latin America and remember having a beer with them while they told war stories. I also remember my brother, Pete, when he came home from Korea where he was wounded twice and the stories he told. I think they told those stories as a form of release or of Catholic ‘Confession’ to help them deal with what they had seen and done. In some cases they left home as innocents and became monsters because that is what we asked them to do. A lot of people can’t deal with doing monstrous things.

I don’t think that our soldiers are all ‘heroes’ because I know what motivated me to join the military and stay in for 20 years. Patriotism was a part of it but not a big part. It was a way out. The military made promises to us, having to do with a stable income (at the time I enlisted it was $58 a month), training to better ourselves and medical and retirement benefits.   We assumed that our government would take care of us. I always believed that and I finished my military career as a recruiter and felt good about the opportunities the military offered.   And for the most part, the military fulfilled its promise to me. However, I never woke up with night sweats like my brother or became an alcoholic or drug user to escape the nightmares of things that I had seen and done that most people never experience.  

How do you fit in and cope in a society that has never had to deal with the horrors that bedevil your soul and fill your dreams. A lot of people don’t. In retrospect, I believe my brother had PTSD although we never had a name for it back then. His life was a struggle and he always had demons. He slept with a .357 under his pillow and never had a stable or enduring relationship until he died alone and estranged from his family. Pete was a B.A.R. rifleman in the 1st Cavalry in Korea. I followed the troop movements reported daily on the front page of the Eugene Register Guard and worried about him constantly. He was a hero to me. I like to think that if he had had the opportunity to experience the ‘Defining Moment’ that Susan described in the Boundary Waters Wilderness it might have helped in some way.  

I’m proud of Susan and that she cared enough to take on this project. Please read her description of The Voyageur Outward Bound, a 501c3 non-profit, veteran program specifically designed for OEF/OIF veterans—soldiers at high-risk for PTSD.


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One Comment on “Operation Puppy Peace”

  1. […] 75.  Operation Puppy Peace […]

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