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Archive for the ‘World War II’ Category

69 years ago today, LTG George S. Patton slapped a young private who had been hospitalized for psychoneurosis, and accused him of cowardice.

While visiting injured soldiers in Sicily, LTG Patton had been speaking to each of the visibly wounded men in the field hospital when he saw PVT Charles H.  Kuhl.  PVT Kuhl showed no outward wounds, and when asked what ailed him, his response, “It’s my nerves sir…I just can’t take it anymore” drew fury from the infamous General.  LTG Patton slapped him across the face with a pair of gloves and called him a coward.  As he exited the tent, LTG Patton heard PVT Kuhl crying, came back and struck him again, and ordered him out of the tent.

After a similar encounter a week later involving a different soldier, LTG Patton received a personal reprimand from General Dwight Eisenhower, and is widely thought to have lost command of the D-Day invasion as a consequence.

At one time, this attitude was common.  While the negative stigma associated with the invisible wounds of war still lingers today, the tide is changing.

Raymond Chandler, the Sergeant Major of the Army, openly admits to utilizing behavioral health resources at Ft. Bliss, Texas following a difficult deployment to Iraq.  He shows by example that recognizing your struggles and seeking help are acceptable, and even encouraged.

In his interview for SMA, General Casey asked if there was anything in his history that could embarrass the Army.  SMA Chandler shared his experience of seeking mental health counseling at Ft. Bliss. General Casey expressed that part of his history would not be considered a disqualifier, but an asset.

This changing attitude has been a long time coming. Many may not have received the recognition and help they needed, yet, but Operation Homefront applauds the efforts of the military to move towards education and acceptance of all wounds, both visible and invisible.

If you or someone you love is suffering, please encourage them to get help.  No one should have to fight these battles alone, or without the tools they need.

(Article by Rachel O’Hern, military spouse, a recent addition at Operation Homefront and all-around great gal!)

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by Allison Perkins

My son’s due date haunted me.

This was my first baby. A little boy. He was our joy. Then, we learned his due date.
The doctor excitedly told me it was Dec. 7.

I winced.

“That’s a heck of a birthday,” I said. The doctor was unfazed.

December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day,” I said.

“Oh yes, yes that,” he said. Without emotion. Without hesitation. Almost without recognition.

Roosevelt declared it to be a day which would live in infamy.

Just before 8 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941, 181 Japanese bombers and fighters launched an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, home to the U.S. Pacific fleet. A second wave of firepower came nearly 30 minutes later.

When the smoke cleared, 2, 403 people were dead, 21 U.S. ships were sunk or damaged, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed and another 159 were damaged.

As the doctor calculated my son’s possible birthday, then 61 years after the attacks, my heart dropped. How could we celebrate such a joyous occasion on such a horrific day?

Nine years later, our youngest daughter was born. When the doctor scheduled my induction, he announced that I should report to the hospital on Sept. 11.

Again, my heart sank. Again, there was no emotion, no hesitation in his voice. It was just another day.

But it wasn’t.

Another early morning attack. More Americans, 2,819 in all, dead.

It was a day, we all promised, we would never forget.

This week, America marks the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. This unforgettable moment in time, seems somehow, forgotten.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association is now so few in numbers that the group will officially disband on Dec. 31. It is rare to find an elementary school or American town that pauses to mark the day when the U.S. officially entered the war in the Pacific.

The number of survivors who are able to visit community centers and retell their incredible stories of attack and survival has dwindled to a handful.

As they disappear, so it seems, does America’s willingness to fulfill our promise to never let their memory fade.

Please take a moment to pause this week to remember America’s veterans, of Pearl Harbor and fights throughout the years. Be thankful for their sacrifices. Be grateful for their service.

In the end, neither of our children’s birthdays landed on Dec. 7 or Sept. 11, despite the doctors’ predictions. But I don’t need a family milestone to remind me to pause and thank those who lost their lives those days.

I will never forget. Will you?

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