Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Maine Veteran Family Warns of "Silent Tidal Wave" of PTSD

War won’t let go: PTSD bedevils Maine family 
Bangor Daily News 
Midcoast 
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff Posted 
Feb. 16, 2016
The 94th Military Police Company in Ramadi, Iraq, Christmas 2003.
Darcie said she worries that Scott is one drop in “a silent tidal wave” of Mainers who served in Iraq, then came home to find that the services they need aren’t there. “I don’t think people recognize the full measure of the cost that veterans have paid and their families and us,” she said. 
BRUNSWICK, Maine — Scott Couture joined the Army Reserves in 1999 because it was the right thing to do for his country — and for his family. 

With one young son and another on the way, enlisting in a military police unit seemed like both “a good deal” and a relatively safe way to get serious about supporting a growing family. At the time, the 94th Military Police Company hadn’t been deployed since the first Gulf War. 

But after the fall of Baghdad three years later, everything changed. Scott, a Maine Marine Patrol officer, kissed his wife, Darcie, and their two boys, then headed for war. 

The 94th arrived in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, in April 2003 for what would become the second-longest deployment of any unit since World War II, including 15 months in combat zones such as the notoriously violent “Sunni Triangle.” 

After returning from Iraq, Scott suffered from irritability, depression and insomnia and was eventually diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. It cost him his job as an officer for the Maine Marine Patrol, which enforces laws and leads search-and-rescue missions on the state’s waters. 

PTSD also has caused perhaps irreparable damage to Scott’s relationship with Darcie and their two teenage sons. It may still cost the family their beloved farmhouse on the outskirts of Brunswick — depending on whether the Maine Public Employees Retirement System overturns an initial decision to deny Scott disability retirement benefits
They battled dysentery from open latrines, dehydration because of rationed water, 132-degree heat and the maddening sandflies. Reservists drove unarmored Humvees and wore regular flak vests rather than full ballistic vests issued to special forces soldiers. read more here