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.
Mike joins me today to dive deeper into discussing his return to civilian life after serving in Vietnam, and the measures he took to maintain a facade of normalcy while fighting his distressing inner battles. Mike discusses his decision to join the Peace Corps, how this experience served as a spiritual awakening for him, and what it was like when he returned home to the United States once more. Mike also highlights his experiences with mental health care and how becoming more educated on his traumatic responses empowered him to move forward.
Mike Orban joins me today to discuss his journey before and during his year of service in the Vietnam War. He shares how serving in Vietnam transformed his worldview, his relationship with fear and courage during his time overseas, and the “thousand-yard stare” Mike witnessed in the troops who left combat. Mike discusses how being in the war completely altered his perspectives on life and the human race, and the guilt and shame he felt around his thoughts. Mike also highlights the overwhelming trauma symptoms he experienced upon returning to civilian life, including intense rage, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and the coping mechanisms he turned to in an effort to manage the intensity.
Dan and Linda join us today to discuss the sacred connection and relationship between veterans and their dogs. Dan shares how dogs were used to detect traps and enemy fire in combat and how they became valuable members of military teams. They discuss how dogs can help veterans take control of their emotions, responses, and expectations. and how dogs help veterans diffuse powerful negative emotions like feeling inadequate and survivor’s guilt. They also discuss the dog selection process that takes place between veterans and their service dogs, how our dogs reflect our feelings and emotions, and how HAVEN helps veterans choose the perfect dog for their needs.
Joe Campbell joins us today to discuss his involvement in the vehicle caravan that transported a remnant piece of steel from the former World Trade Center in New York to Milwaukee. He shares how communities came together and the outpouring of support they received to transport this precious cargo and how this experience served as a spiritual awakening for Joe. He explains how he met Kim Phuc Phan Thi, a Vietnamese woman who was badly burned from a napalm bomb during the Vietnam War and author of Fire Road, and how meeting Kim helped Joe heal from the emotional trauma he experienced during the war. He also explains how forgiveness and service through gratitude have helped him through the darkness and into the light of hope and recovery.
Janet joins us today to share her experience as a military wife while her husband was serving overseas and the emotional turmoil military spouses endure when their husbands or wives are fighting for our country. She explains why military wives often take their spouse’s post-combat PTSD-related outbursts personally and why it’s critical to remember their outbursts have nothing to do with you. She explains why many civilians don’t understand the emotional impact veterans and their families experience and why she felt compelled to avoid discussing these challenges with others. She shares why they chose not to display Bill’s military accomplishments after moving to Montana, the difference between mental health issues and educational issues for military veterans and their spouses, and how post-combat PTSD impacts the children in military families. She also explains how military veterans can benefit from receiving a service dog, the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog, and the legal requirements that must be met to receive one.
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.
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.
Joe joins us today to share his experience of serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He explains why he chose to enlist in the Army instead of waiting to be drafted, why he was anxious to fight in the Vietnam War, and how the realities of war compared to his initial expectations. He shares the shocking realities of returning home after serving in Vietnam, how he was treated, and why he felt like an ‘outsider’ even within the U.S borders. He discusses the impact that burying his feelings and emotions about losing battle buddies has had on his life, how it led to his addiction to alcohol, and how the gift of sobriety helped him cope with those buried emotions. Joe also shares his motivation to connect with veteran outreach programs and dedicate himself to helping other combat veterans.
“The greatest gift I have is to live a good life for those guys and gals that gave their life for me. And the only way I can really thank them is by living a good life because of them.”Joe Campbell
Born and raised in Illinois, Joe Campbell graduated from the Marmion Military Academy in 1965. Shortly after, he enlisted and served four years in the U.S. Army. During his enlistment, Joe served with the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany as well as the 1st Logistical Command in Vietnam. Over the last several decades, Joe has committed himself to serve and help other military veterans. He has served as a Trustee for the Milwaukee County War Memorial Corporation, Inc, a Chaplain with the Vietnam Veterans of America Milwaukee Chapter, and has held executive positions at several veteran-oriented organizations, including his own machinery and welding company. Due to his service and commitment to help his fellow veterans, Joe has received several awards and accolades, including the 2018 Patriot Award from the War Memorial Center and the 2007 Veteran of the Year Award by Milwaukee County.
Guitars for Vets: Healing Invisible Wounds of War Through Music & Pet Companions with Dan Van Buskirk
Dan joins us today to share why he decided to join the military and his experiences while serving in the Vietnam War. He shares his experiences as a child growing up with an abusive mother and how these experiences helped him develop the survival skills he’d need on the battlefield. He shares how his spiritual beliefs and devotion to God helped him cope with trauma. He discusses why it took over two decades to seek help for his post-combat PTSD, why it was challenging to find help sooner, and how reaching out and connecting to other veterans was the turning point in his healing process. He also shares the Guitars for Vets and HAVEN missions and how they help veterans cope with PTSD through the power of music and pet companions.