Tag: iraq

“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. Heidi was frightened yet proud. David, an infantryman, returned from his first deployment to  Iraq in good spirit and  health. When meeting David at the airport returning from his second tour she immediately noticed, as a mother would, that his eyes were different and evasive. While hugging her son he said to her, “your son did not come home this time.” Heartbroken and afraid, what waited for them both were many years of suffering, substance abuse, severe mental health issues and prison punished them, but a mothers love would never surrender.


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 and Erin Schraufnagel 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, Erin Schraufnagel 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.

Introducing SFVZ’s Newest Host: Erin Schraufnagel

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.

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.

Years of physical and psychological challenges — and of the the haunting guilt of leaving his command post and company behind in Iraq — would strain Lee’s wife and children. They would be the real casualties of his war — suffering the effects of a husband and father emotionally detached from the family.

“You don’t smile anymore,” said Lee’s daughter — then he sought help.

After recognizing the need to take responsibility, he is determined to maintain the health of his family as the primary health care unit. His passion to help veterans is shown through his devotion to the adaptive sports community.

“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,
Heidi was frightened yet proud. David, an infantryman, returned from his first deployment to Iraq in good spirit and health.

When Meeting David at the airport returning from his second tour she immediately noticed, as a mother would, that his eyes were different and evasive.

While hugging her son he said to her, “your son did not come home this time.”

Heartbroken and afraid, what waited for them both were many years of suffering, substance abuse, severe mental health issues and prison punished them, but a mothers love would never surrender.

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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Balancing Compassion with Emotional Control as an AirEvac Medic with Bill Austin Part 2

Bill joins us again today to share his experience of returning home from the military after serving his country, the rollercoaster of emotions he experienced, and the struggles of sharing the intimate details of his experiences while in combat with others. He explains why he didn’t want to participate in group therapy after returning home from war and how the trauma he experienced impacted his relationships and sleep patterns. He discusses his late, beloved service dog, J.P., and how he helped Bill through his PTSD treatment. Bill discusses why many combat veterans use humor as a way to cope with traumatic experiences and the challenges of tying your beliefs of patriotism and honor to the realistic aspects of war. He also shares how he realized that his PTSD symptoms and post-war trauma affected his wife and those around him and his advice to military men and women currently returning home to their loved ones.

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.