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Apr-23-2012 19:39printcomments

When the Price of War Gets Personal: This Causes PTSD

Although the Infantry had its share of glory, many men had to pay for it.

Members of the 89th Infantry in WWII
Courtesy: staff.imsa.edu

(MOLALLA, OR) - The following article, part of the facility's curriculum, references our esteemed writer, Dr. Phillip Leveque, who was a U.S. Army Infantry soldier in General Patton's Army, closely engaged in the fighting that led to the final defeat of the Third Reich and the Allied victory in the war.

Dr. Phil Leveque today, and in WWII.

Dr. Leveque served in the war prior to the completion of his university studies in Oregon, which led to his becoming a Professor of Pharmacology, a Forensic Toxicologist, and an Osteopathic Physician. Dr. Leveque worked for the University of London, spending several years in Africa, where he trained the first western doctors in Uganda and Tanzania.

Due to his own military experience in the Second World War, Dr. Leveque ultimately specialized in the treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and he helped Oregon achieve its medical marijuana law several years ago, which has been called the most successful program of its nature in the United States. (Oregon law however still does not recognize PTSD as a 'treatable' condition)


This is an except from the article, When the Price of War gets Personal, published by Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

Phil Leveque, who fought in the 89th Infantry Division ( some members shown above), wrote, We were driven by the belief that we had to defeat an obscene enemy to get to go home. The American Infantryman did everything that was asked of him and more. General Ridgeway of the Paratroopers said with conviction....."The best military weapon is the American Infantryman." THAT WAS US! Although the Infantry had its share of glory, many men had to pay for it. Just from Ernie Pyle's account of the infantry, we can tell that they probably witnessed the most death in the war. Sol R. Brandell remembers, When we got him inside the cellar, which was our immediate CP, and unrolled the blanket, we saw a bloody, sticky mass of flesh, bones, intestines, etc., inside and outside of what was left of his "Ike" jacket .... his face was unrecognizable and a small part of his skull, and brain, was missing! The Staff Sergeant, my "rooftop" buddy and myself gagged repeatedly and almost vomited.... we looked for some rags so we could wipe the wet and sticky blood and some intestinal (?) fluids off our hands and sleeves using some of our canteen water.... the Sergeant estimated the Lieutenant had been hit with at least 30 bullets (9mm Parabellum) to both his head and torso!

Although, by this time I had seen many, many dead men during combat, I had never, till that moment seen a man so close-up who was so horribly torn, almost to pieces, as to barely resemble a human being ! Captain Robert Neelands also had a face-to-face experience with death. He describes a particularly disturbing situation, Then, we heard a man screaming from a burning plane, "Help me, please, won't somebody help me.” He kept screaming for us to keep trying to get him out.

I never could stand a man screaming ... the Colonel, that is C.O. of the base, borrowed someone's .45 pistol... He walked as near as he could to the man and raised the pistol. The boy screamed, "Please, Colonel, for the love of God, don't shoot me, please, please, please."

Again he raised the pistol and we could hear the boy scream, "Please, oh God, please let them try just once more." The colonel shouted to him, "I have to boy, you'll burn alive. I'm sorry ."

The boy in the plane seemed to be kicked twice by an invisible foot. His eyes kept watching the colonel for what seemed an eternity and then his head rolled slowly toward the fire as if in unbelief that he should die

Long-Term Psychological Problems

The colonel, himself, also could not believe what he had just done, leading into the psychological effects of the war. The colonel stood staring into the plane, seeming only then to realize that he had shot a man. His hand dropped to his side slowly. It seemed minutes before he even seemed to remember that he had the gun. Then the colonel threw the pistol with all his strength into the burning plane, turned and walked a few steps, buried his face in his hands and cried in long, shaking sobs. It was an old corporal that put his arm around his shoulders and led him away. I wanted to be sick, but I couldn't. I wanted to forget it and couldn't. I slept, or tried to sleep, with it last night.

I have been living with it since.

These types of situation tend to lead to a mental disorder called the posttraumatic stress syndrome (or PTSD).

*This article is an excerpt from a paper located here: When the Price of War gets Personal - staff.imsa.edu





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