Category: 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.

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The Haunting of Blind Kills with John Wesley Fisher Part 1

John Wesley Fisher was conscripted by his country to fight in Vietnam in 1968, in the Tet Offensive. He served on the front lines, of which he never expected to survive, and brought home wounds that could not be seen. John has spent his postwar life traveling, studying for his doctorate and 40-year chiropractic career, and living with his wife of twelve years in Maine. He has penned five books about his experiences and has traveled back to the land of his nightmares on fourteen occasions. John is the director of CORE (Community-Reconciliation Vietnam), a nonprofit organization that supports veterans, civilians, and humanitarian travel to Vietnam. John was raised in San Diego where he dropped out of junior college to pursue his surfing passion and was crowned the 1967 Class A Surfing Champion for the United States. One month later, he was drafted into the Army.

John joins me today to discuss his Vietnam service and the haunting memories of the blind kills that have stayed with him since. John shares how he was drafted, the experiences of basic unit training, and the feelings of fear for what might come as he arrived in Vietnam during the deadliest month of the war. John discusses his selection for the intelligence squad and how this later resulted in his position in the field as a Radio Transmission Office (RTO). He also shares his feelings of responsibility for the deaths caused by his artillery calls and his harrowing final months in Vietnam following his entire gun squad’s deaths while he was pulled out to write a letter home to his family.

“The blind kills from calling in artillery on villages, on forces, on everything just haunted me for years and years and years.” – John Wesley Fisher

This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:

  • How dropping out of junior college made John eligible for the draft, just as big things were about to happen for him in the surfing world
  • John’s basic unit training and the fearful experience of reporting to be shipped out to Vietnam
  • The dilemma of not wanting to kill but also not wanting to be killed
  • How Phase Two of the Tet Offensive put more names on the American Memorial Wall in DC, during May 1968
  • How being picked for an intelligence squad and gaining top-secret clearance resulted in John being sent forward as an RTO (radio transmission office), instead of being positioned on a battery
  • Learning in the field and calling in his first fire emission as a forward observer and RTO
  • The tragic event that took place while John was Surfing in Cameron Bay
  • Why the positions of the RTO and Lieutenant are the most vulnerable roles
  • John’s obsessive actions and counting the bodies and blind kills he was responsible for
  • The realization that it would have been easier not to have come back than deal with the feelings the war left
  • Coping with losing his gun and its entire crew during his final month of service

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 War at Home with Kaitlin Miller

Kaitlin Miller lives in Saint Louis and is the daughter of former guest, marine recon, and Vietnam veteran, Dan Van Buskirk. Dan recounted his war experiences, his participation in Guitars for Vets, and his work with training service dogs for veterans. Kaitlin grew up in Alsey, Illinois and went to school in Saint Louis and has worked in several roles in the service industry. Today she works in accounting with some senior project management responsibilities at Gaus & Associates. Kaitlin has been married for eight years and has two young boys. She has a passion for helping veterans, animals, and people through her volunteer and non-profit skills.

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Building Libraries in Vietnam with Chuck Theusch Part 2

Today, Chuck joins me to discuss going back to Vietnam to build libraries with the motivation to see freedom celebrated within the country. He shares how looking at the past and the Vietnam war should be seen from the perspective of gaining wisdom. Chuck discusses how war’s viewpoints differ between the infantry, special forces, and pilots and shares how rewarding Vietnam veterans find returning to the country. He shares how Vietnamese culture is remarkable and highlights their unique strength in handling and recovering from disasters. Chuck also discusses the continuing problems and risks associated with unexploded bombs and landmines and the projects that are helping the people affected by them.

Community Taskforce on Veteran Suicide Prevention

Follow the progress of Southeast Wisconsin community leaders on the prevention of veteran suicide with the efforts Milwaukee War Memorial, MCW, Rogers Behavioral Health, Vet Center, Aurora, MAVRC, US Dept. of Veterans, CVI, DryHootch, Kubly Foundation, County Veteran Service Officers, WDVA, Center for Suicide Awareness among others task for members.

Building Libraries in Vietnam with Chuck Theusch Part 1

Today, Chuck joins me to discuss going back to Vietnam to build libraries and his experiences of friendly fire. He shares his motive for volunteering for the draft, his feelings, and his curiosity surrounding Vietnam.Chuck discusses how the ‘old-timers’ looked after the new guys, how returning from the war affected him, and how he became an attorney, defending veterans and fighting for VA benefits. Chuck also discusses his passion for building libraries in Vietnam and his belief that knowledge and information creates freedom.

Military Opportunities and Transitioning to Civilian Life with Todd Cochrane

Todd joins me today to discuss how grasping opportunities can put you in your perfect role in the military and how he made a smooth transition back into the civilian world. Todd shares how he landed rewarding roles, first as Lockheed P-3 Orion aircrew and later working on special projects with VPU-2. He discusses the stresses that a military career can put on spouses and family and the support and resources that the military provides at the outset of a military career and retirement. Todd also shares the values of bonds and brotherhood, which can last a lifetime.

The Reckoning: Anger, Depression, and Reconciliation with Carol Sprague

Carol joins me today to discuss the reckoning that occurred a decade after Chuck returned injured from Vietnam. She shares the challenges and emotions associated with being the wife of a Veteran who has seen extensive action. Carol shares how Chuck kept his Vietnam experiences to himself for ten years, before his father’s death caused a day of reckoning. She discusses their reconciliation and finding peace through religion and philosophy. Carol also highlights how communication and counseling can help Veterans and their spouses as well as the importance of avoiding shaming and blame.

The Emotions of War and the Wounded Healer with Chuck Sprague

Chuck joins me today to discuss the emotions of war and healing through work and our relationships. He discusses how working in Navy hospitals is a hard introduction to the reality of war injuries and his feelings of fear as he arrived in Vietnam to serve the regiment nicknamed as “The Walking Dead.” Chuck reveals the toll that his time in Vietnam has had on his body and mind. He highlights how the stigma and treatment of Vietnam veterans affected him and the healing process that required the support of his relatives, finding meaning in his experiences, and how his work became a form of his own therapy.