As many of you know, I'm a U.S. Army veteran. I joined the Army right out of high school. Starting on August 1, 1985, I began my journey by starting OSUT training (One Station Unit Training, i.e. Basic and AIT) at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri (a fictionalized account of that day can be found here).
After Ft. Leonard Wood, I was sent to Europe, where I was stationed on top of a mountain, Wildflecken, Federal Republic of Germany, and served in Co. D, 54th Engineer Battalion. In Germany we constantly trained for what we thought was the inevitable war with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations. I spent time at OP Alpha watching the Soviets watch us, watch them, watch us.
After Germany I was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, Co. B, 326th Engineer Battalion, at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Here we trained for multiple scenarios as we were part of the Army's rapid deployment force. I was honorably discharged from the Army in August of 1989. One year after I was discharged from the Army, the first Gulf War began when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The lives of my brothers-in-arms would never be the same. Some came home unscathed, others with physical wounds, mental scars or medical issues (that would ultimately become known as Gulf War Syndrome).
When I first heard that the 101st Airborne was being deployed to the Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Shield, I felt guilty that I was not going with them. I still do feel some guilt to this day. In the intervening years I lost touch with many of the men I served with. Over the last few years, through the wonder of Facebook, we have reconnected. In many cases, we are on different sides of the political spectrum, but one thing we all agree on is that we as a nation need to take better care of those who served.
The video at the top of this diary is from one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch. The video is for their song Wrong Side of Heaven, and it is a powerful and moving video. Follow below the fold to find out what Five Finger Death Punch had to say about why they made this video:
We wanted to do something impactful to help our veterans. We hope to raise awareness for the seriousness of their issues and to donate to the organizations that are making a difference to better the lives of our veterans.”- Five Finger Death PunchI have transcribed some of the points that rolled across the screen during the song for those of you who are unable to watch video, or not into heavy metal.
To coincide with the premiere of the official video for “Wrong Side of Heaven” on Vevo, the band have launched a campaign to support our veterans suffering from PTSD (...) head over to fivefingerdeathpunch.com to find out more about the campaign and how you can join the fight.
While you are watching this:Before we spend one dime on more bombs, more missiles, more planes, ships, rifles, or any other thing designed to kill another human being, every single veteran—every single one—should have a home, and should be getting the treatment he or she deserves. I salute Five Finger Death Punch for producing such a powerful video, and it is my sincere hope that it brings more awareness to the plight of homeless veterans in the United States.
- There are 300,000 homeless veterans sleeping on the streets and this number is rising.
- Over 1.4 Million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless
- More than 67 percent of homeless veterans served our country for at least three years.
- The divorce rate amongst military couples has increased 42 percent.
- An estimated 460,000 veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Homeless vets spend an average of six years on the streets.
- Nearly 5,000 veterans die by their own hands every year. That is one veteran every two hours.