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Sep-28-2009 14:00printcomments

Military Drug Abuse: It Can't Function Without It

If the troops are not getting enough sleep and rest that they must use these stimulants, there is something glaringly wrong with the guys who wear stars on their shoulders.

Marine being arrested
Photo courtesy: The Marines

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The Oregonian reported this on Sept. 7, 2009. This should surprise nobody. Recruits historically are TRAINED to use alcohol and tobacco from their first weeks in boot camp, at least in the Army. If it wasn’t for the beer tranquilizer in the PX the rookies probably couldn’t survive psychologically the crap which is shoveled on them.

There’s gotta be some psychological escape if even for a few hours. On hourly(?) breaks, “smokum if you gottum” is almost biblical. Ok, do they still do that same crap now?

I’m not even writing about that stuff but the army does run on booze. More about that later.

The Oregonian quotes Col. Erin Edgar, a physician commanding the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad in 2006 & 2007. Where the unit treated 2,332 cases of drug induced heart arrhythmia or fainting spells. This is not acceptable! And much worse it is only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Probably thousands more are using these stimulants.

The drugs were caffeine pills and ephedrine pills (junior grade METH) both of which cause the above. In fact they both are dangerous but the worst part is that they both are a symptom of pushing the troops too hard just like my hated Gen. George “blood and guts” Patton did with my gang in ’44 & ’45.

If a soldier must use brain and heart stimulants to comply with rear echelon officers orders, they are being pushed beyond reasonable limits. It just reminds me of the saying They Are Expendable. This excessive PUSHING is responsible for the high levels of PTSD.

If the troops are not getting enough sleep and rest that they must use these stimulants, there is something glaringly wrong with the guys who wear stars on their shoulders.

It is well known that our troops are being pushed beyond any sensible limits but I hear the Congress doesn’t want to spend more money and more troops to the Middle East. We will pay billions of dollars for this wanton disregard for the troops physical and psychological well being.

The present battle zones are possibly the worst, most miserable areas our troops have ever been in. I can understand why there are suicides there and after the troops come home.

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS has assumed a hollow insidious meaning. It is as phoney as a three dollar bill.

I just got to the officers! I’ll bet a nickel that they are not giving up on alcohol, tobacco or anything else they want. We enlisted men hated their guts and their two(?) bottles of booze per week.

Have things changed?? I’LL BET NOT!!!


Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry.

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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".
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Jim September 30, 2009 11:57 am (Pacific time)

Editor you are right about Chinooks having machine guns located at the tailgate, usually quad 50's.


Anonymous September 30, 2009 8:09 am (Pacific time)

No tailgunners on helicopters in Vietnam, they were called door-gunners for that was their location. Millions of people have gone through boot camp/basic training and my guess is that we all got through with little lasting trauma. No doubt there were some who had problems but that would have to be a very low percentage, if it is even close to 1%, which I doubt. Civilians as well as military are confronted with legal products like alcohol and smokes. I recall during my training periods that we were on a short leash and beer was rationed at maybe 2 cans during the weekend. There were a few guys who drank others rations, but they paid for it later. In combat, peer pressure as well as leadership policy kept people in line. For those in combat forward areas who say otherwise were either suicidal or had no leadership, or they are simply fabricating. Rear eschelon people could get away with risky behavior but not in the bush. Hollywood and other uninformed people like to make it out that 'Nam was a big pot party, which is absurd. Potable water at times was in short supply during the dry season in forward areas, but bringing in pallets of beer instead of water is simply unbelievable, and it would be so rare if it happened it would not be noteworthy. After all these "decades" we still get these stories that have no real basis in fact.

Editor: It took me a second to realize that you were referring to a comment.  I appreciate what you said, but I can tell you that I have seen tail gunners in CH-47's lock and load their 50's many times in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Are you sure there wasn't the same configuration in Vietnam?  Marine Corps CH-46's also I think.  At any rate, UH1's and Blackhawks and the other birds certainly have doorgunners, maybe the other person was referring to one of the other types of aircraft.  Thanks for your comment.


Anonymous September 29, 2009 1:08 pm (Pacific time)

How about this one? My brother is now a missionary in Mexico, he does NOT tell fibs. He served in vietnam as a tailgunner on the helicopters. Water was a bit difficult to find sometimes. But guess what was shipped in? Pallets and pallets and pallets of budweiser. And, most were high on thai sticks 24/7. I served in the navy, boot camp 1976, no cigarettes allowed in boot camp. But after boot camp, everyone did pretty much what they wanted. And they did. Thats my story. Not sure what is happening currently, but that is the info I can provide. I, as Tim, bet my bottom dollar that the same things are happening now tho. One thing I have learned, is history does repeat itself. Over and over again. That is why history is so important to learn.


Anonymous September 28, 2009 6:55 pm (Pacific time)

"The Oregonian reported this on Sept. 7, 2009. This should surprise nobody. Recruits historically are TRAINED to use alcohol and tobacco from their first weeks in boot camp, at least in the Army. If it wasn’t for the beer tranquilizer in the PX the rookies probably couldn’t survive psychologically the crap which is shoveled on them."

FACT CHECK: Soldiers in basic training are NOT authorized to use any form of tobacco or alcohol either on or off duty. Soldiers caught with any contraband are subject to strict disciplinary action.

"I just got to the officers! I’ll bet a nickel that they are not giving up on alcohol, tobacco or anything else they want. We enlisted men hated their guts and their two(?) bottles of booze per week."

FACT CHECK: Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are under general order not to consume alcohol in theater. Soldiers found with contraband are subject to UCMJ action.

Editor: In fact, I smoked in basic training as a Marine recruit in the 1980's.  I believe this has taken place far more recently, and after basic training there are no restrictions on the general use of tobacco.  More importantly, the word "historically" was used to clarify that we are not specifically talking about the here and now.  I can tell you for an absolute fact that there are American soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan using alcohol.  It is not authorized, but since when did that stop anyone?


Anonymous September 28, 2009 5:47 pm (Pacific time)

Instead of congress spending more money, (which we dont have by the way) why not bring them home as the almighty obama promised?

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