Forward, march: life with gratitude and hope | Jerry Witt

Jerry Witt was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin and graduated from Milwaukee Custer High School in 1964. After earning an Associate Degree at a local community college, Witt was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to a scout dog training program. He served as a dog handler in Vietnam beginning in May of 1968.

Continue reading “Forward, march: life with gratitude and hope | Jerry Witt”

The Enemies Within | Erin Schraufnagel

With great pride and patriotism Erin Schraufnagel joined the United States Marines Corps after the 9/11 attack in New York City in 2001. Twelve years later, Staff Sergeant Schraufnagel left the military life behind her. She shares her expectations for deployments to Iraq, a marriage strained between deployments, the unexpected enemies in her own ranks, rage, depression, alcohol and the horrifying near-death accident of her two-year-old daughter — which only added to the trauma. The inner strength that made Erin a Marine would now surface again, she took responsibility for life and brought love back to her family.

Continue reading “The Enemies Within | Erin Schraufnagel”

Rage and Reconciliation — Joe Campbell

In this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone, Vietnam veteran Joe Campbell reflects on his family’s experience during his active duty and beyond. We hear how Joe’s family grappled with the fear associated with not knowing where he was, what danger he might be facing, and if and when they might receive word that Joe had been killed.

Continue reading “Rage and Reconciliation — Joe Campbell”

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. III

In the finale of this three-part series, Mark Foreman reflects thirty years later. Now allergic to morphine, osteomyelitis has returned to Foreman’s hip. He has had three major surgeries, all performed without pain killers. The resulting agony caused Mark to desperately search for any instrument within reach to end his pain by ending his existence. That is until once more the power of love saves his life.

To hear the harrowing beginnings of this story, head over to our podcasts page.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. II

In this episode, Mark Foreman’s greatest insight is recognizing his only success in life would come from taking responsibility for his actions and goals. No mental health professional, family member nor university — no one — but he would ever again build his vision of what his life is and his place in that life. This is profoundly courageous and significant thinking. When understood this is the most fulfilling path in life.

The pain of his wound — so severe — he wished only for another bullet to end his life.   

Years of painful surgeries awaited Foreman following his evacuation from a battlefield in Vietnam. There would be months in a body cast, morphine addictions and a lifetime disability. Physical pain would be bookended by devastating emotional and spiritual discomfort often fueled by alcohol and drug use.

Sometimes his constant pain was so severe he contemplated suicide. However, things changed when Foreman reconnected with the love he felt for his mother and family. Over decades he built a new life that brought value to himself and those around him. Years sculpting stone led to a career as an elementary art teacher and he co-founded the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

Today, his life lived in love is a more powerful painkiller than morphine. He continues his quest to make life better where he can and is a member of Veterans for Peace


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. I

Mark Foreman grew up in a patriotic family, but during his teen years developed a strong opposition to the US war in Vietnam. The inevitability of the draft lottery motivated him to avoid combat by enlisting in the US Navy. Unaware the Navy provides medics (corpsmen) to US Marine fighters.

In 1968, Mark arrived in Vietnam as a corpsman. He dedicated himself to his duty and vowed to do everything possible to care for the 82 marines in his company. But no training could have prepared Foreman for the ambush of his brothers-in-arms by 1,500 North Vietnamese Army regulars (NVA).

Eighty percent of his Marine company was killed in the first ten minutes of a battle that lasted six days. Foreman was wounded on the second day and sustained such intense pain he wished only for another bullet to end his life. He laid on the jungle floor for nearly a week with a shattered hip that prevented him from responding to the screams of wounded and dying Marines scattered around him. Foreman’s evacuation from the battlefield marked the end of one war and the beginning of another.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

The Haunting of Blind Kills with John Wesley Fisher Part 4

John Wesley Fisher is the director of CORE (Community-Reconciliation Vietnam), an organization that supports veterans on healing journeys back to Vietnam. John served in the Vietnam War  in 1968, out in the front calling in artillery. He returned home and started a 40-year chiropractic career. Today, he lives with his wife in Maine and is the author of five books. He has returned to Vietnam on eight occasions before departing on a six-week solo adventure to Saigon, the Mekong Delta, Pleiku, the central highlands, and Dak To, where John served during the Vietnam war. Dak To was the scene of massive battles during the Tet Offensive, and this return trip forms the basis for the book DAK TO Rx: A Veteran Returns to the Land of His Nightmares.

John joins me today to describe his new book, its healing story, and Vietnam’s beauty and culture. He discusses how Vietnam veterans brought the war home in their souls and minds and how this differs from the Vietnamese soldiers who leave the war in the past and live in today. He shares the Tet holiday traditions and the philosophy that the Vietnamese people live by, which helps them project love and forgiveness to American vets. John shares a My Lai massacre survivor’s story that demonstrates the teachings of Confucius philosophy and discusses how you can heal your mind, being, and soul. John also shares why American veterans need to remember the health of their families.

“The past was a long time ago. We live today. That is their motto.” – John Wesley Fisher

This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:

  • How the culture of philosophy and acceptance brought Viet Cong soldiers back into the community without the war trauma experienced by American soldiers
  • How John has found nothing but forgiveness in Vietnam
  • How returning to Vietnam and making new memories can lessen the impact of your nightmares
  • The beauty of the caves, mountains, and monasteries of Marble Mountain
  • The traditions of the Tet national holiday and why the 1968 offensive became known as the Tet Offensive
  • A survivor’s story of the My Lai massacre and belief in helping American soldiers with the dishonor of this event
  • How the accepting and forgiving nature of the Vietnamese has helped John and returning veterans
  • How Confucius philosophy teaches the Vietnamese people to be mindful and live in the moment
  • How to treat your mind, soul, and being and why you should recognize that this is not a mental illness
  • Why veterans need to recognize the health of the family

Resources Mentioned:

This episode is brought to you by…

The Orban Foundation for Veterans is dedicated to bringing greater hope, understanding, resolution, and togetherness on issues of civilian readjustment for all military veterans and their families. Orban Foundation for Veterans promotes the importance of education, identification, understanding, acceptance, and resolution of many of the complex and severe responses to war and military life.

Visit our website to learn more about the Orban Foundation for Veterans and to support our mission.

Helping Veterans & Their Families Transition to Civilian Life

Thanks for tuning into this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast, the show dedicated to helping veterans and their families make the transition from the military to civilian life and culture. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe to the show and leave a review. For more stories, insight, and resources on coping with military-related trauma and PTSD, visit our website and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes across social media to help us raise awareness and help our brothers and sisters and their families transition to civilian life.

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

The Haunting of Blind Kills with John Wesley Fisher Part 3

John Wesley Fisher is a Vietnam veteran, serving as an RTO during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. He has since traveled the world on a healing journey visiting places such as Australia, New Zealand, and across the United States. John has returned to Vietnam on 14 occasions and has just released his latest book, DAK TO Rx: A Veteran Returns to the Land of His Nightmares. John is also the director of CORE (Community-Reconciliation Vietnam), an organization that arranges veterans’ trips to return to Vietnam in support of healing their souls.

John joins me today to discuss his experiences of returning to Vietnam for a solo trip, which forms the basis of his latest book. He shares the places he visited while hiking and backpacking with local guides and former Vietnamese soldiers and his companions’ stories and beliefs. He discusses the disconnect he felt from his soul following the war and how the Vietnamese people’s culture better prepares them to leave the war in the past and move on. John also discusses the healing he has found through spending time in nature and beneath the jungle canopy in Vietnam.

“We are not soulless, but we are estranged from our souls.” – John Wesley Fisher

This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:

  • Traveling along the Mekong Delta and hearing Vietnamese views of the American Soldier
  • Coming face-to-face with the skulls of blind kill victims in a Vietnamese memorial
  • Hiking and backpacking through the Jungle and visiting the villages of the Montagnards
  • The cultural mindset of the Montagnards and Vietnamese and why they don’t experience post-war trauma
  • Standing on the graves of villages destroyed by American helicopters
  • How the war and killing leaves you estranged from your own spirit, mind, and being
  • How John finds relief and heals his soul under the jungle canopy and escaping in nature
  • Why John starts his day with yoga and meditation
  • Taking steps to consider the health of your family and spouse
  • Finding peace through forgiveness and love

Resources Mentioned:

This episode is brought to you by…

The Orban Foundation for Veterans is dedicated to bringing greater hope, understanding, resolution, and togetherness on issues of civilian readjustment for all military veterans and their families. Orban Foundation for Veterans promotes the importance of education, identification, understanding, acceptance, and resolution of many of the complex and severe responses to war and military life.

Visit our website to learn more about the Orban Foundation for Veterans and to support our mission.

Helping Veterans & Their Families Transition to Civilian Life

Thanks for tuning into this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast, the show dedicated to helping veterans and their families make the transition from the military to civilian life and culture. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe to the show and leave a review. For more stories, insight, and resources on coping with military-related trauma and PTSD, visit our website and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes across social media to help us raise awareness and help our brothers and sisters and their families transition to civilian life.

DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

The Haunting of Blind Kills with John Wesley Fisher Part 2

John Wesley Fisher served on the front lines during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. He brought home invisible wounds of war and experienced a disconnect with his soul. Following a trigger in later years that left him plagued by jungle nightmares and caused his marriage to break down, he wrote a series of books, including Angels in Vietnam, Not Welcome Home, and The War After The War. Today, John is the director of CORE (Community-Reconciliation Vietnam), a nonprofit organization that supports veterans by organizing trips back to Vietnam.

Continue reading “The Haunting of Blind Kills with John Wesley Fisher Part 2”