Our issues and our authors continue to be unsurpassed. It is high time to toot the horns of all those who are willing to write for Combat Stress many times over. That such gifted writers continue to seek us out or to respond to our requests to pen their incredible pieces of their written word is very clearly a blessing that keeps on giving. Thanks are most likely insufficient here.
That our Armed Forces have become quintessential in their quest for social experimentation, more so than combat lethality, has everything to do with rapidly declining recruitment and dangers that continue to multiple geometrically to the safety and security of this great nation. What is occurring in Israel as this issue readies for publication have placed the entire planet at its greatest risk since 9/11. The threat has evolved to an explosive point, as both domestic and international terrorism have humanity hovering at the brink of unimaginable disaster.
In this endeavor, MAJ (RET) Alan Hopewell and Dr. Robert Klein, nationally renowned psychologists for their celebrated work with traumatic brain injuries in the wartime theater and their recent distinguished work regarding gender-modifying medications as this applies to psychological fitness for duty, will leave the reader as riveted as the editorial staff. We are treading on very dangerous territory here as this applies to military readiness. There is every good reason to closely attend to their research, which necessarily takes the lead in our fall issue as the featured article and cover story.
Dr. Robert Rail and Janet L. Rail are new to our conglomerate of remarkable authors and hopefully, will become long-term contributors. Dr. Rail has chronicled the impact of returning from war like none other in his riveting piece, Coming Home Alone. This has wide applicability to generations of warriors and the tormented souls that must bear the terrible burdens and deep scars of the wartime theater. Janet Rail has also graced us with her tremendously insightful expose’ that tells of the means by which war repeats itself throughout the life cycle, invading our dreams as we work through all that has been left behind in the deepest recesses of the psyche.
Officer (RET) Tom McMurtry has never failed to delight our readers with his most unique perspective on everything that nobody else ever thinks about. All things cringeworthy is the subject of Boom Fall Down. His uncanny ability to call forth dark humor as a human survival skill will undoubtedly result in chuckles and groans, as he takes our readers by his latest surprise. We sincerely hope that a book deal is on the front burner as he compiles and delivers the ultimate forms of stress relief to the masses.
COL (RET) DJ Reyes, now on the national stage for his undying efforts to federalize the Veterans Treatment Court mission, has focused his post-military career on the most noble of enterprises found in community service – as a volunteer within the State of Florida VTC system and now as an advocate for a proposed federal level VTC system. This full-time endeavor has given him entrée to where no Soldier has gone before; to save the souls and the very lives of countless returning Veterans who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law on a national scale, from the time they enter the criminal justice system until they become fully functioning members of society at large, with a return on their investment to once again, feel pride for having served by performing the most noble of deeds. COL Reyes represents an enormous number of Veteran advocates found throughout our nation today; those who have shed the uniform, but not the need to pay if forward daily in order to ensure that we “leave no Veteran behind.”
A call to service has led attorney Colleen Miller to serve as Deputy Director of Volunteer Outreach, Education, and Placement for the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, once again demonstrating that one does not require a uniform to serve one of this country’s most precious resources. As her article details, this exceptional forum exists in order to train attorneys to represent Veterans in desperate need of services for appeals of denials, reduction, or termination of disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, all on a pro bono basis. These issues continue to be an enormous problem for countless Veterans who went to war, served this nation, but who have been terribly failed by a system fraught with incompetence and wrongdoing.
The exceedingly poignant piece by SGT (RET) Caleb Payne makes for the most fitting ending for any issue, as it narrates the heart-searing nature of one’s decision to depart the law enforcement profession, one not of personal choice. The raw courage required to make this decision and the struggle to come to terms with this necessary exit strategy will leave the reader stunned with its agonizing truthfulness, as much as its optimism and the ability to adapt and overcome. This resignation letter embodies bona fide moral fiber and resilience on an entirely new level.
As always, profuse thanks to our authors and our exceptional editorial staff for a job magnificently done and to our readers who add immeasurable value to what it is that comprises our efforts to put forth this publication by the simple act of reading it.
Kathy Platoni, PsyD, DAAPM, FAIS
COL (RET), US Army – Veteran, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom (JTF-GTMO and Afghanistan)
Member, Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
Member, Greene County Veterans Hall of Fame