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Jul-09-2009 03:23printcomments

PTSD: Capt. Sullenberger and Ditching in the Hudson River - Reprise

Capt. Sullenberger had many nights of disturbed sleep after what he calls “the worst five minutes of my life”. I and other Combat Vets can sympathize with that. We had it every mission or artillery barrage.
Pilot of Flight 1549, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, walked the aisle of the downed US Airways jet twice looking for passengers before exiting the plane he safely ditched in the Hudson River, saving the lives of more than 150 people onboard. Photo of his younger days when he was an Air Force fighter pilot courtesy:

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - There is so much denigrating and downright ignorance about PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, its causes and long term effects, that I feel compelled to continually write about it.

CBS News, 60 Minutes, replayed the interviews following this astonishingly dangerous but important event: a commercial jet ditching in Hudson Bay. Everybody survived. I wrote at the time (see: PTSD Flight 1549 - Dr. Phil Leveque, that Capt. Chesley Sullenberger would certainly have substantial PTSD from such a frightening and anguish producing event.

This brings me back to battle caused PTSD.

There are many, especially non-combatants in the Army & Marines and especially the VA, who consider PTSD victims, even those in rubber rooms and/or lockdown psychiatric facilities, as being wimps, sissies or pussy wussies and there is really nothing wrong with them that a few pills won’t cure. At the same time they decry the epidemic of alcoholics and suicides to bolster their claims that we are sissies. I have said many times “One day in combat would change their minds” (maybe).

Capt. Sullenberger had many nights of disturbed sleep after what he calls “the worst five minutes of my life”. I and other Combat Vets can sympathize with that. We had it every mission or artillery barrage.

Three of his crew, co-pilot and two flight attendants have been able to return to work. He has plans to do this this fall. One of his flight attendants still cannot even put on her uniform. She was the ONLY person severely injured.

If anyone considers the Captain or the injured flight attendants sissies or wimps, they have a serious skewed problem with reality.

As far as the passengers are concerned, most will NEVER get over this brush with certain death. I’ll bet someone is writing a history of this incident if the passengers can talk about it.

There were three responses to my original article. One anonymous author half way agrees with me in that PTSD is a gradation of symptoms up to extreme. He is correct.

Michele Rosenthal commented that their PTSD should not be pointed out as weakness. NOT BY A DAMN SITE. She points out the necessity of rapid early treatment. Treatment was not mentioned in the CBS replay.

I agree but what is going on with our 300 thousand PTSD Combat Vets is a crime. Doping them up with zombifying medications is not the answer. I have written several PTSD therapy articles and critiques of what the VA’s doing in (see this link for all of Dr. Leveque's articles)



Do you have a a question, comment, or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
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More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on


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