Steve G.

PTSD-ridden Army medic in famous photo dead

In War on July 20, 2008 at 7:56 pm

From Yahoo News:

A photograph taken in the first days of the war had made the medic from New York’s Long Island a symbol of the United States’ good intentions in the Middle East. When he returned home, he was hailed as a hero.

But for most of the past five years, the 31-year-old soldier had writhed in a private hell, shooting at imaginary enemies and dodging nonexistent roadside bombs, sleeping in a closet bunker and trying desperately to huff away the “demons” in his head. When his personal problems became public, efforts were made to help him, but nothing seemed to work.

This broken, frightened man had once been the embodiment of American might and compassion. If the military couldn’t save him, Knapp thought, what hope was there for the thousands suffering in anonymity?

He was standing next to a soldier during a firefight when a boy rode up on a bicycle and stopped beside a weapon lying in the dirt. Under his breath, the soldier beside Dwyer whispered, “Don’t pick it up, kid. Don’t pick it up.”

The boy reached for the weapon and was blasted off his bike.

In late 2004, Dwyer sent e-mails to Zinn, wondering if the photographer had “heard anything else about the kid” from the photo, and claiming he was “doing fine out here in Fort Bliss, Texas.”

But Dwyer wasn’t doing fine. Earlier that year, he’d been prescribed antidepressants and referred for counseling by a doctor. Still, his behavior went from merely odd to dangerous.

One day, he swerved to avoid what he thought was a roadside bomb and crashed into a convenience store sign. He began answering his apartment door with a pistol in his hand and would call friends from his car in the middle of the night, babbling and disoriented from sniffing inhalants.

Matina told friends that he was seeing imaginary Iraqis all around him. Despite all this, the Army had not taken his weapons.

In the summer of 2005, he was removed to the barracks for 72 hours after trashing the apartment looking for an enemy infiltrator. He was admitted to Bliss’ William Beaumont Army Medical Center for treatment of his inhalant addiction.

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

  1. Huffing is very bad news. It is really sad to see these victims of the war on freedom.

    Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority in Congress have a lot to answer for. They are covered in blood – it never touched them, but they’re drowning in it. Today is day 622 since the Democratic majority failed to end the war, end domestic espionage, repeal the USAPATRIOT act, etc.

  2. Huffing, as bad as it sounds according to the the accepted “norms” of anything abuse, isn’t the issue. This guy, who lived exactly how he needed to live, didn’t need to die the way he did.

    Aside from that quibble (and to be fair, you probably meant no more about the huffing than you would if it were booze…), you are spot on about the ineffective Pelosi congress. This particular story made me cry and those who permit circumstances that breed stories like this one should lose more than tears.

    Isn’t hanging the punishment for treason? Cuz there sure seems a great number who should wear nooses instead of Charvet ties tomorrow.

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