New York Times investigation reveals that Marines who fired artillery in Syria returned home with mental illness, hallucinations, and sadly cases of suicide. After prolonged exposure to firing weapons, not in ground-level fighting but far away -drug addiction, mental illness, and attempted suicide have become the new norm for veterans.
In return for a life of service, these soldiers were ignored and treated as if they had a mental illness, disregarded over and over again. No one in the military had been keeping a score of their mental illnesses before and the science is still developing. Without something known as evidence and the lack of therapy to cure the possibly scarred brain, troops were not only being left behind at war but also when they came back home.
Javier Ortiz, 21, a Marine corp, returned home from a secret mission in Syria. He found the ghost of a dead girl waiting for him in his kitchen, eyes glaring darker as oil. Of course, he tried to reason out the anxiety of living in a basement apartment near Camp Pendleton but ‘she’ was still there even a couple of days after the first sighting. The trouble at rest was Ortiz’s hallucinations of coffins stacking high. If not for an article over a sudden abnormal surge all through the Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, Ortiz might still have been in a spiral of futile yet real ‘visions’.
Further inquiry reveals the trouble so to speak came from something as regular as working in the line of duty. After all research and no experiments into blast exposure such as when in close proximity to sources applicable to causing concussions, studies have unraveled something new. Repeated exposure to such can be the reason behind the common symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Even Richard Blumenthal, the Senate’s National Security Chair, fears the Marine Corps’ blaming of unwarranted ‘personal misconduct’ or misdiagnosis of A.D.D., undervaluing of soldiers’ mental, physical, and emotional injuries. Then the question that arises is why in response to the incident, the corps didn’t support Ortiz and allow him to be discharged.
The code: blasts that don’t show any signs are deemed fit. On the lookout for symptoms besides obvious concussions, they have come too far. With no way to tell if living people are hurt, the government is trying to put matters into perspective by examining the brain and coming up with regulations that limit blast exposure. Saving soldiers’ mental health with the Warfighter Brain Health Initiative came quite later and according to a Marine officer working in an artillery battery, having never heard of it, doubts its effectiveness where his case is concerned.
The science is still new and as of such, there remain no brain tests to diagnose brain injury-like symptoms. What’s fundamental to know is any service person who has borne high numbers of blast exposures can fall prey to any of the symptoms or maybe have an even more troubled life. The discharge of evident cases serves as evidence of that.