By Bradley J. Burt
September 10th, 1994-Orders to Deploy to Port au Prince Four Months After Operation Restore Hope Mission Ends:
The world in 1994 was in a state of crisis. Growing up as a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s was spent watching Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan address our nation regarding the Islamic state and its hostage-taking of U.S. Embassies and airline hijacking.
The summer of 1993 was a blur for me. I was newly graduated from high school and college quickly passed me by. November of 1993 looked hopeless for ever finding a path I thought would point me in the right direction. That was until I watched soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. My sense of duty became paramount to join the 10th Mountain Division and take up arms to defend this nation.
23 December 1993–10th Mountain Division COHORT enlistment as a 13 Bravo:
My decision to enlist in the U.S. Army was clear. I knew the minute I raised my hand I would be assigned to a division who directly supports the Pentagon through the 18th Airborne Corps. After swearing an oath to protect our nation from all enemies foreign and domestic, I was hoping to go straight to Somalia to find those responsible for dragging our soldiers through the streets and hold them accountable. There was only one problem—complete sixteen weeks of basic training first. Shipping off to basic and facing the reality of joining the Army did not bother me one bit. My life mission was to search and rescue those in combat who were now my Battle Buddies for life. Joining the Army became a call of duty to follow in the footsteps of those who gave their life for our nation knowing there was a possibility of becoming one of them.
08 February to 06 June 1994–Basic Training:
The hardest pill to swallow is the Pentagon and 10th Mountain Division loss of our SRC records from our deployment. Somalia era veterans were given a double-dosage of Malaria Pills to survive the third-world conditions of Haiti. We survived monsoons, hostile fire, along with the same conditions Post 9/11 Combat QRF veterans share their experience who receive unlimited support. But what about us America? We received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Award, yet we are called “Soft War Veterans.” Please take a moment to check out the footage of our “Soft War.” We are rallying through Congress to search and rescue documentation from our conflict in Haiti and hope to achieve a Congressional recognition of our combat service to this nation. We are the first Air Assault Invasion in U.S. History. We took back the Haitian Embassy. There has to be some value with that.
Being 19, sitting in a hangar waiting to fight, only to seek treatment 20 years later and be denied into appeal is not how we solve the 22 Veteran Per Day and VA Parking Lot Suicide Statistic. Reaching out to 1-800-273-8255 and Pressing 1 through the Veterans Crisis Line helped me sort through this mess and will help you too.
Outpost 422–Strafing Fire in the Light Industrial Compound Guard Towers—PTSD VA Claims Denial
My Veterans Crisis Line story starts out with manning Outposts in Port au Prince. Being a low-ranking E-1 had me stuck on all the danger close missions. After having my guard tower gunned down one night, I did everything I could to downplay my fight. Returning home was harsh. All we did was fight and argue with each other. We were all suffering from untreated combat fatigue and the 10th Mountain Division did not want to hear “PTSD weak stories.” We were doomed from the start. I am asking 10th Mountain to acknowledge our mission and to join us in the fight to end veteran suicide by giving us our SRC records and accommodations when we seek to file our VA claims.
The Sitrep: The biggest obstacle I face with the VA is the Post 9/11 dilemma. The Madison VA Hospital openly acknowledges pre-9/11 are automatically sent to appeal due to being so overwhelmed. So who is paying the bill for the 22 Veteran Per Day Suicide Statistic? We are. America harasses us in the workplace through stigma claiming PTSD is a myth. I am calling all of you to stop this insanity. When a veteran is restricted from calling the Veterans Crisis Line at work and has to ask for a Cell Phone Permission Card, America becomes the problem. No employer should restrict a veteran from reaching out to the Veterans Crisis Line.
The Solution: The USERAA Act of 1994 and The Wounded Warrior Act of 2015 were designed to assist veterans with needing time off from work. Before you accept a job as a new hire you must ask your employer to see these documents. I am calling for a nationwide end for the 22 starting in the workplace. We cannot afford to tolerate veterans getting harassed for needing time off to use the VA. The result is catastrophic. Being a workplace survivor of hazing has led to the creation of Outpost 422 to search and rescue lost warriors through undergraduate VA applied research. We start by reaching out for help. Although there will be consequences for a PTSD diagnosis, you will at least provide our future 22 with solutions through PTSD Coach app and the Veterans Crisis Line. We cannot afford to be confused about untreated PTSD. Untreated PTSD becomes Complex PTSD and once CPTSD sets in, there is a very slim chance there will ever be a full recovery.
If you are having transitional struggles, download PTSD Coach app. You can find more information here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n345eAH6Y4A