Losing the present to the past | Joe Pospichal

A native of Grafton, Wisconsin, Joe Pospichal graduated high school in 1984. The events of 9/11 — along with other incentives — made his military enlistment an easy decision. Joe deployed to Iraq leaving behind a pregnant wife. Working the roads outside the wire would profoundly alter Pospichal’s outlook on life with many nights the longing to be home with the love of his wife gave soothing sanity to life. 

Punishing challenges to life, with his wife and two children, would lead to divorce and many regrets for Pospichal. A still-present battle with cancer arose which has gone into remission, but not without trailing health issues — including total double-hip replacement at 36. 

From the glorious invisibility of a 20 year old soldier in a combat tanker division, through events leaving scars he could never not have foreseen: today, Pospichal is of positive mind and spirit.

His determination and introspection have him in control of how he views the world and responds. He is certainly a hero of mind and spirit.

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.

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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.

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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.

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