Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A Biblical Approach
Excerpt from Vietnam: The Other Side of Glory
by William R. Kimball
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Our small convoy of jeeps and deuce-and-a-half's crept cautiously along the muddy track, occasionally grinding gears as we negotiated the slippery ruts. Under the whine of jeep transmissions and the throaty cough of diesel engines, we were suddenly jolted to our senses by the popping of small arms fire from the jungle fringe. I glanced sideways and caught the unmistakable look of a green medic, fresh from the States. The sporadic shots had elicited a grimace of wide-eyed apprehension. It was a familiar look among the uninitiated. I was about to say something when all he;; broke out.
A swarm of olive drab men tumbled out of the vehicles, sprawling face first in the reddish mud before scrambling for the nearest cover. Against the acoustic backdrop of rifle cracks, the shrill scream of incoming mortar rounds, and the stuttering of machineguns, the confused cacophony of men grunting, splashing through mud, the bark of orders, and the personal sounds of pounding hearts, cursing, and private prayers punctuated the chaos. The deadly blossoms of gray-black were bursting their way towards our column, threatening to send red-hot splinters of shrapnel tearing through gas tanks and supplies in a matter of seconds. unloading the trucks under the barrage of incoming was essential but highly risky. At least the medic had enough sense to grab some of the critical medical supplies in our mad dash from the truck.
We were desperately trying to form a protective perimeter when the firing abruptly stopped. Charlie had melted back into the densely packed jungle surrounding us. One minute the firefight had enveloped us with sounds of machine guns and mortar fire, then we were left with an uneasy stillness and the melancholy cries of wounded men. I turned to survey the carnage when I noticed the young medic sprawled in a pool of his own blood, with his jugular vein ripped open from shrapnel. He didn't have much to leave behind for his one day legacy in Vietnam. In a lethal split second, he had become a sudden statistic in what seemed a senseless war. I was long since acclimated to death and dying, but such a wholesale waste was still hard for me to stomach...
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