Erin Schraufnagel is joining Mike Orban and Bob Bach as an interview host for the Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast. Erin logged 12 years with the Marines and two tours of duty to Iraq. Upon return she faced her demons and won. Erin will undoubtedly ask good questions and bring insight to the sometimes not pretty process of reintegration into civilian society after years in a war zone. Listen to Bob and Mike introduce and welcome SFVZ’s newest host, Erin Schraufnagel.
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.
Being a veteran and being hired, means you are a liability, right? Wrong. Michael Kirchner is the director of Military Student Services at Purdue University Fort Wayne and an Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership where he teaches courses in leadership, training and human resource development geared towards veterans entering the workforce and the challenges they face.Continue reading “The Liability of Being a Veteran | Michael Kirchner”
Jim Hackbarth grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was drafted into the Army shortly after graduating from high school. Hackbarth was trained first as a helicopter maintenance specialist and later as the door gunner on a UH-1 (Huey) helicopter.
Hackbarth arrived in Vietnam in October of 1968 and served a one-year tour of duty as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division. Although not wounded physically, Jim suffered other forms of anguish. For example, pain and isolation stemming from his combat experiences interfered with his ability to make and keep close friends and relationships.
However, decades after returning home from the war, Jim sought counseling and started writing poetry. He re-connected with former comrades and sought to share his message of hope and reconciliation with other veterans. His mission of outreach continues today.
A childhood with many emotional and psychological challenges, Deeatra Kajfosz entered the military to find a place to live. At first, the Idaho National Guard offered her this safe home, but a move to Wisconsin, a change in military occupation and an introduction to a culture she was unfamiliar with unraveled her military experience.Continue reading “The LiFE OF HOPE | Deeatra Kajfosz”
Kenneth Lee immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The son of a South Korean Army career soldier and Vietnam War Veteran, Lee developed a sense of duty to his new country. Completing medical school and determined to serve and “give back” he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
There, as a commander of the Company Bravo of the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a suicide car bombing while on a combat tour to Iraq in 2003.Continue reading “When your family fights your war | Ken Lee”
Heidi Carlson’s father was a Marine, her family had a history of substance abuse and addiction. Her marriage to a Vietnam War veteran — scarred by abuse — ended in divorce.
The loves of her life would be her two sons and her six grandchildren.
When her son David announced his decision to enlist in the US Army.Continue reading ““Your son didn’t come home” | Heidi Carlson”
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”
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”
Watch the full story here: https://spectrumnews1.com/wi/milwaukee/news/2020/11/12/veterans-podcast.