Saturday, October 29, 2005

Supporting Our Troops

Here's how we're supporting our troops -- we're sticking stupid magnets on our stupid SUVs (right next to the Christian fishes and the OSAMA WANTS KERRY ELECTED bumper stickers) and we're ignoring the actual returning vets; we're giving them little or no help, little or no support, and then when something like this occurs?

Shucks are we surprised:

Medic in rescue photo arrested

Friends say soldier suffers from PTSD
By Daniel Borunda

El Paso Times

A Fort Bliss soldier who gained national attention two years ago when he was photographed carrying a wounded Iraqi boy to safety is under arrest following a shooting incident in El Paso, Texas.

Spc. Joseph Dwyer, 29, repeatedly fired a 9mm handgun inside his second-floor apartment starting around 9:15 p.m. Oct. 13 in a more-than-three-hour standoff friends described as a violent episode brought on by drug abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

No one was injured and Dwyer surrendered just before 1 o?clock the next morning.

He was jailed in lieu of a $10,000 bond on a Class-A misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm inside the city limits, police said.

"All this could have been prevented," said friend Dionne Knapp, a former Army medic who once served with Dwyer. "I'm angry because Joseph, when he came back from Iraq, he was a hero, and now when he needs help, nobody is helping him," she said. "We gave [military and mental-health authorities] warning after warning after warning."

"Joseph is the sweetest, most good-hearted man I've ever met in my life," said Angela Barraza, who worked with Knapp and Dwyer.

But friends said Dwyer returned from the war a changed man. He came back very religious, but problems slowly emerged -- nightmares, drinking and sniffing inhalants, they said.

Dwyer crashed his car earlier this year. "He [said he] saw a box on the street and thought it was a bomb and he swerved," Barraza said.

A Fort Bliss spokeswoman said Dwyer had no disciplinary issues but confirmed he had seen mental-health experts.


The day before the shooting, Barraza, Knapp and other friends met with Dwyer, whose condition they say had worsened. They said they tried but failed to take away three handguns Dwyer had in the home.

He joined the Army as a medic two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

When the now-famous image of Dwyer was taken, his unit, the 3rd Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, had been ambushed repeatedly the night before as they worked their way north along the Euphrates River. Just as the sun was rising, they were ambushed again by Iraqi troops firing from tree lines along the road. The Americans fired back with everything they had and called in airstrikes.

An Iraqi family was caught in the crossfire. When the fighting stopped, a man ran out, screaming that his family needed help.

"It came over that there was a family that had some injuries," Dwyer told Army Times not long after his picture was taken. "We went on down there. It was kind of hectic at first. We didn't know what was going on. Who was friendly and who wasn't."

Then he and some other soldiers, weapons at the ready, bolted from cover to help. Dwyer reached the father and grabbed his son, cradling the young boy as he raced to safer ground.

That's when Army Times photographer Warren Zinn snapped the picture.

The boy, about 4 years old, "grabbed right onto me, that was the weird thing," Dwyer said. "The kid was doing all right. I could feel him breathing real hard, and I was just carrying him and he didn't cry one bit, and you know he was a cute little kid."

That day was the first time Dwyer treated any wounded.

"He basically saw the ugliest part of the war," Barraza said.

Dwyer's friends hope the incident will prompt the military to provide improved mental-health treatment for Dwyer and other combat veterans.


zelda1 said...

The military doesn't consider what the soldiers' mental states are, they just get their time and work and send them home and what ever they do is just collateral damage.

Anonymous said...

So sad. The military and many other organizations just use people up and spit 'em out. To make it worse, many of our elementary and high schools socialize kids to allow this to happen to themselves when they get out in the world...