Losing the present to the past | Joe Pospichal

A native of Grafton, Wisconsin, Joe Pospichal graduated high school in 2020. 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.


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 Liability of Being a Veteran | Michael Kirchner

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”

The Prose of Reconciliation | Jim Hackbarth

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.


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 LiFE OF HOPE | Deeatra Kajfosz

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”

When your family fights your war | Ken Lee

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”

“Your son didn’t come home” | Heidi Carlson

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”

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”

Community Taskforce on Veteran Suicide Prevention

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

Carol Sprague is the wife of Chuck Sprague, a former Vietnam Veteran and retired VA Psychiatrist. Carol and Chuck both grew up on orange groves and met during a Goodbye Picnic when Carol was sixteen years old. Chuck asked Carol’s parents for their permission to take Carol to the Goodbye Dance. A Romeo and Juliet relationship with many arguments along the way, this changed when they married just prior to Chuck going to Vietnam. Carol and Chuck live happily in Muskego, Wisconsin, after working through the trauma, depression, and anger that ensued after Chuck’s return from Vietnam.

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.

“We were two ships passing in the night when it came to his Vietnam experience – until it all came apart.” – Carol Sprague

This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:

  • Carol’s feelings of anger towards the government for joining a war based on oil-related motives
  • Carol’s experience with being questioned about what our government was doing in Vietnam, as a twenty-year-old woman
  • The cold and hard telegram from the government informing Carol that Chuck was injured in Vietnam
  • The Navy and government’s lack of outreach about what to expect from Chuck’s recovery and his reaction to his experiences
  • Why Carol wanted Chuck to share more stories about his experiences
  • How Chuck’s dad dying in the 1980s became the incident that finally caused him to open up about his Vietnam experiences
  • How philosophy and religion helped Chuck work through his anger and depression
  • How Carol and Chuck reconciled the difficulties of their post-Vietnam decade by discussing their emotions and feelings
  • Why you should seek counseling, hold on to your friends, find someone you can talk to, and avoid shaming and blaming

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.