"We need all our soldiers and leaders to approach mental health like we do physical health. No one would ever question or ever even hesitate in seeking a physician to take care of their broken limb or gunshot wound, or shrapnel or something of that order. You know, we need to take the same approach towards mental health," Patton said.
Memory of soldier who died before his eyes stays with one general
Another still questions himself over suicide bomb attack that killed 22
By sharing stories, they hope to ease stigma attached to stress
Military should have different view of post-traumatic stress disorder, they say
By Larry Shaughnessy and Barbara Starr
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Army generals aren't known for talking about their feelings.
But two high-ranking officers are doing just that, hoping that by going public they can remove the stigma that many soldiers say keeps them from getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Brig. General Gary S. Patton and Gen. Carter Ham have both sought counseling for the emotional trauma of their time in the Iraq war.
"One of our soldiers in that unit, Spec. Robert Unruh, took a gunshot wound to the torso, I was involved in medevacing him off the battlefield. And in a short period of time, he died before my eyes," Patton told CNN in an exclusive interview. "That's a memory [that] will stay with me the rest of my life."
Ham was the commander in Mosul when a suicide bomber blew up a mess tent. Twenty-two people died.
"The 21st of December, 2004, worst day of my life. Ever," Ham said. "To this day I still ask myself what should I have done differently, what could I have done as the commander responsible that would have perhaps saved the lives of those soldiers, sailors, civilians."
Both generals have been back from Iraq for years, but still deal with some of the symptoms of the stress they experienced.
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