The contents of this page may be graphic. The following are actual letters we have received.
Some names have been crossed out for privacy purposes, but otherwise the content has not been edited or censored in any way.
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This is email is more for the parents of the fallen marine…
To start off I would like to say thank you to your son for his service to our country, he is a hero and always be.
I myself served in the Marines from 01-05, during that time I was with the 2nd bat 1st marine div CAAT PLT. I suffer from PTSD, I know what it is like to have the nightmares, the uncontrollable thoughts, and the suicidal urges. They all come from people not understanding us; we all have a story but can’t tell it because no matter who we tell, no one will understand. I got diagnosed with PTSD, they put me on pills, they told me what I needed to do, and I was pretty much their puppet.
I got fed up with them talking to me like a child; they gave me a doctor who was Arabic. They sent me to doctors who were Arabic to be tested. not once did I feel comfortable, I would only speak of some problems so I could get their educated guidance.
I didn’t want someone who didn’t know me, to know things about me that I wouldn’t tell my own parents, wife, or closes friends. I have come to believe that there is no help out there for us. I have been doing this all on my own. I am not racist by any means; it is just hard for me to deal with people of that nature. I got tired of taking pills, there has to be something other than pills to help/shut us up.
The way I have been dealing with it is by blowing it off and laughing about it. the same way I use to blow off the close calls while in combat. that’s all you could do is laugh it off so no one would know you were scared or that you have that feeling of just wanting out. I live my life like I am still in combat and so far it has been working. I just don’t know how long I can live a life like that. Don’t get me wrong, I am a happy person, I have a wonderful daughter and fiancé. I am happy when they are near me and when we are together. Most of the time the random thoughts are because I am alone and have nothing else to think about. Just as I type this email, and all morning at work, I have thought about nothing but Iraq and all the brothers I lost and never see anymore. Woke up this morning in a cold sweat, I had a dream last night that I shot my best friends son in the face 30 times with an m-16, my best friends son is four years old. Damn near made me cry because I am capable of having dreams like that.
There is no help for the Marines like us; all we have is each other. It wasn’t the cops, shrinks, or doctors my brother’s wife would call if they were getting into it or he woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, it was me. I could help him; I knew what he was going through.
I like what you have going, it needs to be talked about and people need to be aware of what a hero comes home with. They are not the person you use to know. As much as you loved your son, you didn’t know him like this. He would never tell you. The same reason I don’t want to talk to my parents about anything, we all do things we regret, taking a life is something you regret, especially when they are trying to take yours in the process.we are survivors by luck, we should have died with the rest of them. You remember every little moment, what bird just landed on the truck next you before that first shot was fired, the grain of sand that hit you in the eye from a stray bullet, to the screams of wounded marines and the last word you hear them say.
I sent this email with all respect for your son and family; you had nothing to do with his death. Never blame yourself for that. You probably haven’t found your answer of what happened and that’s probably how he wanted it. he wouldn’t want you to know him this way. He will always be a marine, a hero and most importantly your son.
Never forget that, he made a decision that he thought was right for his own good. I have been in those shoes, and know what it is like to hold that pistol to your head, or the cold blade from a knife on your wrist.
I could have made life easier for myself, I chose different. I could have made a mistake by not pulling the trigger, or pulling down on the knife handle, I don’t know what my next step will be. You never know with people like us, our thoughts have no limit. I have woken up thinking the enemy was in the house and low crawled looking for someone with my pistol in hand. I have woken up to getting my clothes on so I could go find my platoon.
We are an incredible, unpredictable breed.
It’s a life we would rather forget, a bad dream that doesn’t go away. What’s the easiest way to get away from it all? You already know, it’s the wrong way, but it seems to be working.
Good luck with your search for answers, the only person that can tell you the answers that you seek is your son. Sometimes an unturned stone is better left unturned.
Good luck in life, may god heal your wounds, give you health, and let you live a long adventurous life.
XXXX Lcpl United States Marine Corps