Tag Archives: ft riley

The One About Slipping

I’m a talker. I will carry conversations. Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is sit in silence watching Netflix or sleep.

I know that’s not me.

So my sig-oth said to me awhile back that it might be time for me to seek some treatment (again). That’s his way of letting me know that I’m regressing. I can feel it. I think it’s the great divide between the forward thinkers and backsliders that’s going on in the States. There’s not a safe space here. And I’ve looked at all the cat videos I can stand.

I’ve done cognitive therapy. You sit and talk with the therapist who assures you that you’re living a guilt-free life. That works for awhile because logic. Problem is that the tangled brain/emotion/thoughts come back and, for me, it’s hard to hear her voice. Sounds crazy, right?

Right. Mental health issues. Crazy. Labels are great.

There are other options: meds, family therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy. Fucking all the therapy makes you talk and I don’t want to do that. Feeling like a little chicken-hearted punk because I know I need to go, but it’s sure comfortable in my little zoned out spot on the couch.



The Other, Other, Other, Other, One About the VA

It’s not enough that we have maggots. The Other Other One About the VA

Google auto fills “vet suicides at” with:

  • Phoenix VA
  • VA
  • Denver VA
  • Attempts per day

It doesn’t tell you about the one that happened in Albuquerque on the 22nd. Just like no one reported on James Ingram III setting himself on fire in a VA parking lot (The One About Ending It All) because apparently people pretend like none of this is happening.

All I know is what was reported by disabled veterans.org because there’s nothing else to find. I even checked the Albuquerque Journal‘s obit section and none listed the cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while standing at the doors of the Albuquerque VA hospital .


Reach out. I didn’t seek help – it was thrust on me. A friend made the appointment at the VA for me. It wasn’t my answer. Compartmentalization will break down. Seek help and/be the help. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Night Terrors

It’s more than a nightmare.

For me it’s total paralysis with open eyes screaming. Sometimes it bolts me awake. Sometimes I don’t quite reach consciousness.

Sometimes it’s the total certainty that someone is standing over me in the dark.

Sometimes it’s a memory replayed in a thousand different ways that I am helpless to change.

An adrenaline dump in the middle of the night can keep me up for hours, or not let me sleep again. Panicked, angry, and frightened, I’ll roam my house trying to talk myself down. “It was just a dream. I’m fine. Everything is fine. I’m OK.  Nothing is wrong.” It’s a mantra.

It also upsets the household. Thankfully, my son has always slept like he was in his own personal cocoon. My sig-oth isn’t so lucky. I know it’s a helpless situation for him as well. But there is nothing he can do.

Add guilt to the mix of anger, panic, fear because I’m causing sleep depravation for him, too.

Fuck all that.

This kid , Tyler Skuzacek in Saint Paul, MN,  is a freaking genius. He and his team created an app.

It hasn’t made the clinical trials yet, but he’s working with the VA and sleep experts.

It marks the symptoms leading up to the terror and interrupts deep sleep with a vibration to take the sleeper just this side of consciousness without actually waking them.

Sign me up, Tyler.

MyBivy App

It’s never hopeless. Someone’s always out there working on ways to make it better. They don’t give up and neither can you. That would be the worst Rook mistake.


I know the pic is sappy af, but this time it fits.

TL;DR: Tyler’s dad came home with PTSD. After watching his dad suffer, he chose to do something about it. There’s an app in the works. Don’t give up. Help is coming.

The One About the Starving Army

This isn’t anything new. When I was in, I knew guys that worked at Target on the weekends or delivered pizza every night. And these were guys that lived in the barracks with no family to support.

These kids, right out of high school, are sought after for new car loans and credit cards. They haven’t really been away from home before and wind up in debt. The dealerships know exactly how much car they can put a kid in because the servicemen’s pay is a matter of public record.

And don’t miss a payment. Don’t get a call from a collector that bypasses you and gets your CO instead. Don’t. It’s not good.

Now there are these soldiers with families. If there’s room, they live on post and don’t pay rent or household bills. But they also make crap. Basic pay for a private (E1 to E3) is 18,300 to 21,000 a year. Pay Scale

Civilian jobs around a post can be hard to come by. Just about every spouse is looking for one. There are a few stay at homes, but they usually are working another angle (Pampered Chefs, Avon, Mary Kay, home daycare) to help support the family. And then there are the dependopatomus, but I rarely saw them. Even when I was stationed on an infantry post for a bit.

There’s lot of education out there for these kids, if they’ll take it. But when they’re 18-20something the immaturity level is high. Not just in them, but in their spouses as well. Living on post can sometimes feel like you in the middle of a TV drama. It’s not an excuse, just a fact.

However, these families are finding themselves on food stamps. So think about that. You’ve got a solider with a family coming home at the end of the day only to go back out the door for his or her second job and worrying about WIC covering some of their groceries.

What can be done? I’m not that smart. I don’t have a solution. My suggestion is that if you have a loved one that’s thinking about joining, make sure they have a grip on their finances and understand how it all works.

There’s just something down right sad about soldiers on food stamps.

One of the articles I read is here:CNN Article


TL;DR: Managing your bills is hard when you’re uneducated and underpaid. Get right with your money because anything less is a rook mistake.



The One About the Memorial

Our family tradition is service. We are teachers, firefighters, arson investigators, soldiers, police officers, county commissioners, marines, fire marshals, farmers, and pastors.  We may not be wealthy, but we are the people who will stop and help you change a tire on the interstate.  We’ll help you corral those calves that got out.  We’ll teach you how and then pray for you to pass your next test. We serve.

Out in the big city of Paris is a war memorial they’ve set up to honor vets and those that served and lost their lives.  My mom went out and took a few pictures.  Got me a little choked up, to tell the truth, so I thought I’d share them.

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The One About Ft. Riley

In the 1990s I spent a couple of years Kansas wondering how a person with my MOS and a stupid amount of years invested in training wound up on an infantry post as a permanent duty station.  That never did get very clear and eventually the whole unit moved overseas – which made more sense to begin with.

Beyond the fact that it was in Kansas, it was home for a few years.  I braved the ice covered streets more than once trying to climb the hill up to HQ in a Mazda Protege with no snow tires or chains.  My sig and I moved from a Manhattan (KS.  Don’t get delusions of my grandeur, now) apartment and into condemned housing that we had to clean before we moved out (and they dozed it) and into brand new housing.  Lots of stories there.

I was there when the FBI sectioned off the post using railroad cars as they searched for answers after the OKC bombing.  It was a violation of home.  Even though they were there doing their jobs, they were in our space.  It gave everything a sense of wrongness to it.

And now we have another home grown terrorist.  One who wanted to join ISIS and blow himself up to commit jihad.  If you can believe what you read on the internet.  Which I think is 98% intentional crap and 1.5% is well meaning but misled crap.  I don’t know the truth.  And neither does anyone else.  That’s the thing about the internet.  Smoke and mirrors.

It’s just that Ft Riley, decades later, still feels like home.  And those that would do my home harm would be my enemy.  But I don’t like the idea of strangers with train cars roaming my streets either.

And that’s about as real as I want to get.