The Post and Courier
Natalie Caula Hauff
Aug 20 2016
Bernard Smith spent 22 days face-to-face with death. The stench surrounded him as bodies of men, both young and old, were carted into a mortuary for him to process in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
Smith, 77, of Myrtle Beach, survived the war that took the lives of more than 50,000 Americans, but he is still haunted by hundreds of those souls.
“In the middle of the night, I would scream sometimes,” he said about the nightmares that he still has to this day. “One night, the Grim Reaper appeared in my dream and looked right at me and turned and said, ‘You’re next.’”
With no warning or the proper training to prepare for it, Smith was called on periodically to assist in processing the dead military members over a four-month stretch. He was 23 at the time and serving in the Air Force on the flight line.
The shock of that experience, even 50 years later, has embedded a deep inner turmoil within Smith that officials at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston have been working to treat.
“Military and VA chaplains have understood and worked with moral injury for many years. However, only recently did the broader medical and mental health communities designate a formal definition of the concept,” he said.
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This works and that is why Point Man International Ministries started doing it with veterans and their families WAY BACK IN 1984.