Balancing Compassion with Emotional Control as an AirEvac Medic with Bill Austin

Bill Austin joins us today to discuss his drive to join the military and his experiences while serving his country in Grenada, Bosnia, Kosovo as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. He explains why he decided to switch from the Army to the Air National Guard, his experiences while serving in each branch, and the challenges he faced in transitioning and adapting to the Air Guard’s culture. He describes the emotional turmoil military medical personnel experience when they lose a patient, the difficulties of dividing resources in an effort to save as many lives as possible, and the struggles of shutting off your emotions to ensure you’re providing the best care possible. Bill also discusses his medical discharge from the military and his experience of permanently returning home to his wife and son.

Continue reading “Balancing Compassion with Emotional Control as an AirEvac Medic with Bill Austin”

Joe Campbell – Finding Acceptance After the Vietnam War, Pt. I

Joe joins us today to share his experience of serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He explains why he chose to enlist in the Army instead of waiting to be drafted, why he was anxious to fight in the Vietnam War, and how the realities of war compared to his initial expectations. He shares the shocking realities of returning home after serving in Vietnam, how he was treated, and why he felt like an ‘outsider’ even within the U.S borders. He discusses the impact that burying his feelings and emotions about losing battle buddies has had on his life, how it led to his addiction to alcohol, and how the gift of sobriety helped him cope with those buried emotions. Joe also shares his motivation to connect with veteran outreach programs and dedicate himself to helping other combat veterans.

“The greatest gift I have is to live a good life for those guys and gals that gave their life for me. And the only way I can really thank them is by living a good life because of them.”

Joe Campbell

Born and raised in Illinois, Joe Campbell graduated from the Marmion Military Academy in 1965. Shortly after, he enlisted and served four years in the U.S. Army. During his enlistment, Joe served with the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany as well as the 1st Logistical Command in Vietnam. Over the last several decades, Joe has committed himself to serve and help other military veterans. He has served as a Trustee for the Milwaukee County War Memorial Corporation, Inc, a Chaplain with the Vietnam Veterans of America Milwaukee Chapter, and has held executive positions at several veteran-oriented organizations, including his own machinery and welding company. Due to his service and commitment to help his fellow veterans, Joe has received several awards and accolades, including the 2018 Patriot Award from the War Memorial Center and the 2007 Veteran of the Year Award by Milwaukee County.

Guitars for Vets: Healing Invisible Wounds of War Through Music & Pet Companions with Dan Van Buskirk

Dan Van Buskirk is a former Reconnaissance Marine who has served his country during the Vietnam War. For several years, Dan has worked with veteran outreach efforts to help military veterans develop healthy coping skills and heal from post-war trauma, PTSD, and combat-related anxiety. He is the founder of HAVEN – Hounds and Vets Empowered Now – a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing support to veterans in the mutually beneficial relationships forged with dogs. Dan is also an active member of Guitars For Vets, a non-profit organization helping veterans cope with combat-related PTSD through the healing power of music and community.

Continue reading “Guitars for Vets: Healing Invisible Wounds of War Through Music & Pet Companions with Dan Van Buskirk”

David Carlson on Rising Up After a Lifetime of Trauma

David Carlson joins me today to discuss his troubling childhood upbringing – from being raised in chronic toxic environments, acting out and trouble with the law to joining the military and rebuilding his life. He shares his battles with substance abuse, why he chose to join the Army National Guard, and how the structure and discipline he received during basic and infantry training improved his perspective about his self-worth and his sense of identity. He shares his experiences while serving two tours in Iraq and the stark differences in structure and discipline between military life and civilian culture. He also shares his experiences with losing sight of his purpose in life, how CrossFit and what inspired him to dedicate his life to serving and helping others.

Continue reading “David Carlson on Rising Up After a Lifetime of Trauma”

New podcast tomorrow with Joe Campbell!

Be sure to check into tomorrow morning for a new two-part episode of Stigma Free Vet Zone with our friend, Joe Campbell.

In this episode, Joe explains how he met Kim Phuc Phan Thi, a Vietnamese woman who was badly burned from a napalm bomb during the Vietnam War and author of Fire Road, and how meeting Kim helped Joe heal from the emotional trauma he experienced during the war.

He also talks about his spiritual awakening of forgiveness and service of gratitude.

Dr. Michael Dailey on Battling Depression & Expecting the Unexpected

Dr. Michael Dailey is the co-founder of the Infectious Disease Society of Georgia and Co-President of the Infectious Disease Society of America, a foundation on a mission to reduce the burdens of infectious diseases worldwide. He is Board Certified in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and has professional affiliations with multiple organizations, including the American Society of Microbiology. Born and raised in a family of Navy veterans in Oak Harbor, Washington, Dr. Dailey attended Holy Cross College in 1969, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. He earned his Master’s degree in Microbiology from Wayne State University in 1971, and later, earned his medical degree. During his residency, he worked as a resident doctor at the VA hospital, helping veterans suffering from advanced cardio-pulmonary disease. During his free time, Dr. Dailey enjoys golfing, traveling to Ireland, and spending quality time with his wife, Maureen, and their four children.

Dr. Michael joins me today to share his experiences as a doctor treating patients during times when professional experiences go beyond medical expectations. He shares his experiences and emotional turmoil of working in the VA ward as a resident doctor while treating military veterans with advanced cardio-pulmonary disease when CPR was still a new concept. He discusses his battle with depression and taking anti-depression medications, such as lithium. He also shares his thoughts on how the medical field can prepare new doctors to expect the unexpected while working with veteran patients and why creating a support team around you is critical to overcoming depression.

“No man is an island. You have to have a team around you to do everything It’s not a solo deal.” – Dr. Michael Dailey

This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:

  • What inspired Dr. Michael to become a medical doctor
  • Michael’s residency experience while working in a VA ward
  • Michael’s experiences of battling depression and taking anti-depressants such as lithium
  • Preparing new doctors to expect the unexpected
  • Bouncing back from depression
  • Michael’s experience of treating patients through the AIDS pandemic
  • Meeting Mother Theresa and how her ‘do it anyway’ narrative impacted his life and the lives of thousands of patients
  • The importance of viewing depression as a medical failure instead of a personal failure

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.

Bob Bach on The True Lens of War & Keeping the Will to Survive – Pt. II

In part two, Bob Bach joins us to share his journey of seeking help and finding resources to address his combat-related PTSD symptoms and how numbing his emotions after returning home and re-entering civilian life impacted his relationships with his wife, children, and loved ones. He discusses his experience with alcohol abuse, how it added to the distress he was already experiencing after returning home, and how he finally found the help he needed to address his emotions and painful thoughts. Bob also explains why it’s important for veterans and their families to understand that the feelings and emotions they’re experiencing when transitioning from military life to civilian life are normal and why it’s crucial for veterans to ask for help and seeking treatment so they can rebuild a normal, healthy life.

Continue reading “Bob Bach on The True Lens of War & Keeping the Will to Survive – Pt. II”

Bob Bach on The True Lens of War & Keeping the Will to Survive – Pt. I

In part one, Bob Bach joins us today to share his experiences while serving his country through the Vietnam War era. He discusses how television and movies often glamorize the true colors of war, often leading to unrealistic expectations for young military recruits. He shares his experiences of being on patrol while under enemy fire and how coping techniques like controlling fears and anxiety played a role in surviving the Vietnam War. He also shares his experiences of returning home after serving in the military, how his expectations differed from reality, and why he felt disoriented and confused when transitioning back to civilian life.

Continue reading “Bob Bach on The True Lens of War & Keeping the Will to Survive – Pt. I”