Medal of Honor Recipients Promote Mental-Health Support

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (June 7, 2010)—Twenty-eight Medal of Honor recipients recently launched the “Medal of Honor – Speak Out” campaign to encourage troops struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other health problems to take advantage of services to help them.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients dating back to World War II echo a common theme in video messages for today’s returning combat veterans: Take advantage of the resources now available to treat the unseen scars of war.

“Make use of them,” they encourage today’s troops. “Stay strong, and don’t let the enemy defeat you at home.”

The Medal of Honor recipients, many who have endured harrowing wartime experiences, acknowledge in individual videos the emotional challenges many returning combat veterans experience.

“I know firsthand the challenges of war,” said former Army Staff Sgt. Drew Dix, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions as a Special Forces adviser in Vietnam. “Your experiences in combat are so powerful that very few will or can understand what you went through.”

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, a helicopter ambulance pilot who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam, said he and his crewmembers treated the physical wounds of the warriors they rescued, but recognized that their unseen scars of combat ran deeper.

“There were other wounds – wounds that went beyond flesh and blood; wounds that could not be rescued by helicopters,” Brady said. “Those enemy scars followed our troops home.”

George E. “Bud” Day, an Air Force forward air controller in Vietnam, encouraged today’s troops to seek help that wasn’t available when he returned from combat.

“Back in those days, they didn’t have the services, resources and tools that are available today to help servicemembers and their families deal with the challenges of adjusting after deployment,” Day said. “The tools and resources are there now. Please make use of them.”

The Medal of Honor recipients expressed pride in today’s servicemembers who are following in their footsteps.

“Thank you for your service to our country,” said Hershel “Woody” Williams, a former Marine who received a Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II. “We are so proud of you.”
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