The Marlboro Marine

#3
RP578 said:
Reminiscent of Ira Hayes.
An interesting comparison.

Sounds to be coping rather better than poor Chief Falling Cloud did. Though the second Falluja was not Iwo Jima- 6,825 killed amongst the allies and 27,909 casualties rather puts the current nastiness in the shade.
...
Miller had hoped to pursue a career in law enforcement, but the PTSD and discharge killed that dream. No one would trust him with a weapon. But at least he didn't have to go back to Iraq. He started to realise he wasn't the only one traumatised by war. 'There's a word for it around here,' Jessica said. 'It's called "vets".' She talked of Miller's grandfather, changed by the Korean War and dead at 35. Her Uncle Hargis, a Vietnam veteran, had it too. He experienced mood swings for years.
...
Over the next 10 days, we awoke late and drove aimlessly in the countryside. He attended meetings at the vet centre. I took more pictures. Winter was upon the mountains. Miller blamed his melancholy on the season. Within weeks, Miller moved back to Kentucky and got an apprenticeship at a custom motorcycle shop, working up to 14 hours a day. The shop's owner presided over the local chapter of the Highwaymen, a Detroit-based motorcycle club under constant scrutiny by law enforcement. Miller acknowledged that the Highwaymen were into 'serious business', but said he joined the club for the camaraderie. The uniforms and codes of conduct reminded him of the Marines.

I worried about this new affiliation. After joining, Miller never went out without his 9mm semi-automatic pistol and he kept a shotgun in his truck. To me, his new friends seemed overly interested in his combat 'kills'. One biker, a Vietnam veteran also plagued by PTSD, promised me he'd get Miller to join the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 'We'll connect veteran to veteran,' the biker told me, his breath tinged with moonshine.

Miller now sees Jessica a couple of times a month. They have not completed their divorce, but remain separated. 'I see him on his good days,' Jessica said, 'and everything is wonderful. We actually have conversations.' But then weeks pass without sight of him. 'He has to get stable,' she said. 'If he was better, we'd be together all the time.'

Miller lives in a refurbished trailer behind his father's house. Two TVs provide constant background chatter. The refrigerator is bare. A hound called Mudbone spends most days tied in the yard.

Miller is estranged from his mother. He talks with his father, Jimmy Miller, 43, about everything except Iraq. 'What am I going to say? Son, I know what you've been through? I know what you're going through now?' the father said. 'Well, the truth is I don't. Maybe it's just better that we leave it alone.'

Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up.

The months go by. One disability check comes and then the next - about $2,500 a month. Miller sees Barringer, the psychologist, but only occasionally.

'Sometimes you just have to look at the culture of small-town eastern Kentucky,' Barringer said. 'Blake graduated from high school and had no future. So he joined the Marines, and now he's home and has a steady income. Things are good. But sometimes that's more of a negative than a positive,' he added. 'Look, every time you go out to that mailbox and get your disability check, it tells you you're sick.'
...
Miller is getting some sort of life together, not sleeping in a box, he's got some family about him, a job that he's good at. The fondness for motorcycles, booze and firearms isn't exactly asocial in Kentucky. It's exactly how a lot of USAF guys coped with the aftermath of WWII. No such thing as a PTSD discharge back then I think.

The confessional talking cures the Yanks are so fond of did not serve the Vietnam generation very well. I've read one study that reckoned it actually increased the occurrence of psychotic incidents. Sometimes it really is better to let memories scab over and accept normality is long gone.
 
#4
"Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up."

His brother seems to be a bit of an unfeeling cunt though !!!!!
 
#5
Saintstone, I read it more as a sort of a bewildered toughlove rather than triumphalism. That said they don't seem to be the most functional of families all round.

I found this passage striking though.

Before he was allowed to leave Iraq, he attended a mandatory 'warrior transitioning' session about PTSD and adjusting to home life. Each Marine received a questionnaire. Were they having trouble sleeping? Did they have thoughts of suicide? Everybody knew the drill. Answer yes and be evaluated further. Say no and go home. Miller said he didn't want to miss his flight. He answered no to every question.
 
#6
saintstone said:
"Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up."

His brother seems to be a bit of an unfeeling cunt though !!!!!
he did have a point, even though it wasn't put across tactfully, it does illustrate the lack of support for vets and no preparatiion for return to Civilian life, all that Military service and what has he got to show for it ?, $2.500 a month Disability is not much beyond basic living, at least he isn't a victim of the Credit crunch with a $250,000 mortage hanging over his head.
 
#7
semper said:
saintstone said:
"Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up."

His brother seems to be a bit of an unfeeling cunt though !!!!!
he did have a point, even though it wasn't put across tactfully, it does illustrate the lack of support for vets and no preparatiion for return to Civilian life, all that Military service and what has he got to show for it ?, $2.500 a month Disability is not much beyond basic living, at least he isn't a victim of the Credit crunch with a $250,000 mortage hanging over his head.
Over here Semper thats more than most people earn a month, it's about £1200 at the current exchange rate. Not begruding him any cent/penny of it but a squaddie over here wouldn't get half that.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
jack-daniels said:
semper said:
saintstone said:
"Miller's brother Todd, a 21-year-old diesel mechanic, doesn't pretend to understand. 'I'm glad I didn't join the Marines,' Todd said one day. 'I got a nice house, a wife and twin baby daughters and I drive a Durango that's used but damn near new. You're divorced, drive a beat-up pickup and live in a trailer.' On top of that, Todd told his brother, your head is screwed up."

His brother seems to be a bit of an unfeeling cunt though !!!!!
he did have a point, even though it wasn't put across tactfully, it does illustrate the lack of support for vets and no preparatiion for return to Civilian life, all that Military service and what has he got to show for it ?, $2.500 a month Disability is not much beyond basic living, at least he isn't a victim of the Credit crunch with a $250,000 mortage hanging over his head.
Over here Semper thats more than most people earn a month, it's about £1200 at the current exchange rate. Not begruding him any cent/penny of it but a squaddie over here wouldn't get half that.
Exactly what I was thinking JD
Dosen't seem a bad pay out to me I'm sure over here he would still be waiting to be assessed whilst MOD tried to wriggle out of paying a penny

$2500 plus civvy job earnings say $4000 a month is that bad?
IHow much would he have earned as a private in the USMC?
 

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