By Kathy Platoni, PsyD, DAAPM, FAISCOL (RET), US Army, COL, Ohio Military Reserve/State Defense Forces
Editor, Combat Stress Magazine, Dayton SWAT, Member, Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
Our spring issue intends to delight, to educate, and to inspire in unexpected ways.
Chaplain “Mom Bev” Peyton takes the lead in this issue and so very deservedly so. Though I am older than Mom Bev, she really is everyone’s mom in both the military and Veteran communities. In fact, she is my personal salvation. Together with my husband, LtCol (RET) John Hutchinson, Operation Runtbo was created in 2010 by both parties, which saw the arrival of more than 500 care packages at FOB Wilson in the Zhari District of Afghanistan (60 clicks or so from Kandahar Airfield). Thanks to their unstoppable efforts and with complete funding for all postage by the wonderful and generous folks at Irongate Realtors (for whom John has been a realtor since his USAF retirement), we had edible food, toilet paper, books, magazines, personal hygiene supplies, and anything and everything not provided by the U.S. Army. She and John saw to it that we did not go without during times that the food was so revolting, latrines were overflowing, and a salmonella outbreak raged across our forward operating base. They sent enough care packages to supply the 1-12th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, with whom I was embedded. These were the days where we were lucky enough to shower every 6 weeks. Everyone smelled like a goat. Who knew who smelled worse? Thanks to Mom Bev and John, we survived horrific neglect and for many of us, starvation at times when MRE’s were unavailable and food was poisonous in the chow hall. It doesn’t end there. Without exaggeration, Mom Bev is the quintessential and the bona fide American hero. What she offers up to the banquet table of service to humanity is truly, unsurpassed. It is thanks exclusively to her, that I had a retirement ceremony. The U.S. Army did absolutely nothing to retire me after 34 years of military service and 4 deployments. She assured that I had presidential letters of gratitude for both John and me, not to mention all the certificates and retirement documents the Army completely failed to provide. My retirement ceremony, 300 strong, saw guests from all my years of military service, including Dr. Dan and Tracey Kirsch. She arranged for a three-star U.S. Air Force general to retire me. She wrote my Legion of Merit award, pushing it through for approval at the highest levels of the Army. What this incredible individual has done for the masses cannot be sufficiently celebrated by mere words. This is why her article is the first of its kind from the perspective of an Army mom, deserving center stage.
Dr. Gary Jackson’s riveting article on surviving mass attacks will serve as a wakeup call for any reader wise enough to take his recommendations to heart. (Interestingly enough, Dr. Jackson was my boss, the very best of many, 46 years ago at Sunland Training Center in Opa Locka, Florida. While writing his seminal book, Surviving Mass Victim Attacks: What to Do When the Unthinkable Happens, he came across my name as a survivor of the Fort Hood Massacre. More than 4 decades later, we have resumed our friendship as if no time has passed.) There have been more than 147 mass shootings since the first of this year, meaning that there is currently more than one occurrence of mass shootings per day. This stunning piece will increase the likelihood of your survival in a world with the threat of involvement in deadly encounters has become the order of the day.
Our very own Officer Tom McMurtry, U.S. Army (RET), has returned once again, to educate us about the powerful lessons to be gathered from life on the police force. His philosophical bent has given this former Special Forces officer and war Veteran entrée into arenas where others may never tread, with astonishing insights involving the terrible stressors and dilemmas that police officers are forced to face in the course of performing their duties. Our hope is that the law enforcement community will be celebrated instead of maligned, as truly, they are the Peacekeepers.
Our readers are about to receive quite the special treat in this issue, an article written by our very own Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Dan Kirsch. To date, no scientifically proven treatments exist for resistant forms of clinical depression, that often give rise to increasing numbers of completed suicides. The results of this study, demonstrating the exceedingly positive effects of the use of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, have very wide implications for those living with terrible despair, potentially leading to lifesaving interventions for the masses of Service Members and Veterans living in their own private forms of hell.
We welcome to our compliment of distinguished authors, Chris Zaglifa, MSW, LCSW, SAC, who will lead our readers, step-by-step, to the tenets of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Those of us privileged to serve the military, Veteran, and first responder communities would do well to develop a clear understanding of this form of psychological intervention and to seek the training necessary to levy this powerful form of treatment. It is too often, alternative forms of non-evidenced based psychotherapeutic interventions, tailored to the individual and not the place of employment, that make the difference in carving the pathway home from trauma and from war.
This issue will end with another of Dr. Ron Rubenezer’s treatises from his seminal book, How the Best Handle Stress. This time our readers will have the opportunity to engage in an entirely new understanding of right versus left brain functions and learn how to “see eye-to-eye,” despite differing genders and planetary existences for both men and women. His unique perspective will not only enchant our readers but teach them how to conduct their own 5 minute “brain scans” to more effectively combine worlds and overcome brain-based gaps in communication.
May spring descend upon each of you in full bloom!
Kathy Platoni, PsyD, DAAPM, FAIS
COL(RET), U.S. Army
COL, Ohio Military Reserve