“That young man never should have come into the Army”

The above subject title is the forth addition in a week long series at Salon.com by Mark Benjamin and Michael de Yoanna on the returned Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan called “Coming Home”. It’s the open window into what happens to some after serving in man’s hell on earth, Wars and Occupations of Choice!

This is the fourth installment in a weeklong investigative series called “Coming Home.” You can look at Kenneth Eastridge’s MySpace page here, and read the story of Robert Marko here. Marko was sent to Iraq despite psychological problems and is now awaiting trial for murder in Colorado. You can also read the introduction to the series, and the first, second and third installments, which appeared Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

This installment in this important series begins with this:

Kenneth Eastridge is being held at Kit Carson Correctional Facility in Burlington, Colo.

Feb. 13, 2009 | FORT CARSON, Colo. — Late on the night of March 11, 2006, Kenneth Eastridge got in a fight with his girlfriend. It ended with his arrest for a felony.

The Kentucky native, an Army soldier stationed at Fort Carson, between deployments in Iraq, had fallen asleep after drinking when his girlfriend began to pound on his apartment door. She wanted inside, and she wanted to talk.

Eastridge responded with a string of obscenities and then flung the door open. He pointed a loaded pistol at his girlfriend. She looked at him like he was crazy, then turned and ran. Eastridge didn’t fire. He stood motionless, stunned by his own reaction.

For those following this series, or any of the many that have started to surface, and the many more series or just singular reports that will be coming, long into the future, keep in mind the people you won’t hear or read about. Not just the soldiers sent into these conflicts and occupations but those who live in these countries that are destroyed and occupied. Think of what they are going through, have gone through, and will be going through. The ones that choose to fight against any invaders, the ones trying to survive the invasions and than the occupations, the children growing up in the conditions created, the ones that survive! They are as human as those sent, no different, and go through the same reactions to, mentally and physically, what they knew of life is no more, they exist in a new reality not the one they were taught existed but one most don’t experience!

This first page, of the forth installment leads into the second page, “They’ll say, ‘What makes the grass grow?’ and we would say, ‘Blood! Blood! Blood!'”, and than on to a third, “The Army released him without assessing his mental condition”

He’s also not receiving treatment for his PTSD in prison. He worries that if he sees a psychologist, it could delay his release date if ongoing problems are found: “Right now I just want to get out as fast as possible.”

Can he find ways to prevent his life from spiraling out of control again? “I can’t really say that I can,” he says.

The following report is attached to the forth in the series, link is above as well.

“He hears sounds which seem to be voices”

The Army knew Cpl. Robert Marko might have psychological problems, but sent him to Iraq anyway. He is now awaiting trial for murder in Colorado.

Feb. 13, 2009 | When Judilianna Lawrence missed school, her mother called the police. Then she checked her daughter’s MySpace account. Within hours, sheriff’s deputies were asking questions of Robert Hull Marko, a Fort Carson, Colo., Army soldier who fought in Iraq.

Lawrence’s mother had discovered correspondence indicating that her daughter and Marko had planned to meet, and Marko piqued investigators’ interest when he initially denied he knew Lawrence. His story kept changing during a chilly weekend in October 2008. Eventually, Marko admitted he knew the 19-year-old special education student, saying he was with her in the rugged terrain somewhere around Pikes Peak, west of Colorado Springs, Colo. He said he left her there.

By Monday, Oct. 13, on Marko’s 21st birthday, he finally led deputies to a wooded area. There, investigators searched for and found Lawrence’s body, her throat slashed. She had also been raped, investigators say.

This is very disturbing in just what it says at the beginning, the Army knew this soldier might have psychological problems, yet they not only didn’t try to help him or find out more they sent him into the occupation, another body needed!

We’ve all read about those who didn’t have problems, were dedicated to their choice of serving the country, were trained than sent into the theaters. Some, after serving their tours, many extended with little dwell time, were sent back showing signs already of what the stress and experience of the preceding tours had caused. Sent back now with drugs issued by their military branches to coup with their trauma, instead of delving deeper and getting the treatment they needed, compounding the already suffering!

We will be living with the devastating remnants of these last years for many years to come, just from the mental stress of combat and occupation,  all of those we’ve sent have now had their lives changed forever, as have those we’ve occupied. Will we as societies once again ignore that which is right in front of us, as we have before? Will we find better understanding of what extreme trauma can do to many who experience it, be it in combat and occupation or the many traumatic events many go through in their lives, that change the way our minds relate to these?


    • jimstaro on February 13, 2009 at 14:41

    Peshawar’s black market for stolen military goods

    The laptop, which has clear U.S. military markings and serial numbers, contained restricted U.S. military information, as well as software for military platforms, the identities of numerous military personnel and information about weaknesses and flaws in American military vehicles being employed in the war in Afghanistan.

    There’s a short slide show of some of the goodies on sale to the Guerilla/Insurgents, brings back memories of another occupation!!  

    • jimstaro on February 13, 2009 at 16:33

    Army recruiting stand-down ordered for Friday

    A stand-down of the Army’s entire recruiting force, ordered by Army Secretary Pete Geren, will take place Friday.

    Geren ordered the stand-down after a wide-ranging investigation into four suicides in the Houston Recruiting Battalion. Poor command climate, failing personal relationships and long, stressful work days were factors in the suicides, the investigation found.

    During the one-day stand-down, all 7,735 active Army and 1,797 Reserve recruiters will receive training on leadership, a review of the expectations of Recruiting Command’s leaders, suicide prevention and resiliency training, coping skills and recruiter wellness.

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