Problems Transitioning Out of Warrior Mode


Many of our veterans come home from war and have problems dealing with the transitioning out of warrior modeMany of our veterans come home from war and have problems dealing with the transitioning out of warrior mode. This gets especially compounded when you are a reservist because you go from all out war right back to civilian life. 

by Johnny Waltz

We have too many veterans are committing suicide (average of 18 daily), committing crimes, involved in substance abuse, and homeless (300,000 average annually). There has to be a call to action to ensure our veterans are taken care of… enough is enough. Simple gestures by some veteran organizations and the calls for action in Congress have seemingly gone on with nothing accomplished. How many more lives do we need to lose?

Sgt. Joe Lorek took his own life at approximately 4:00am Sunday January 6th, 2008.  Sgt. Lorek was a two tour OIF veteran and under the care of the VAMC for PTSD and a back injury. Sgt. Lorek served with the Light Armored Reconnaissance units in OIF.  He had been discharged more than a year ago and was one of the Mentor Seven (Seven Members of a High School Class that enlisted together).

I encourage all to send a card to the family if they won’t be able to attend the services later this week…


The coroner has ruled Sgt. Lorek’s death a combat related event. Sgt. Lorek died as a result of an acute episode of PTSD that resulted in him taking his own life.  There will be no autopsy and the attending physician said that from interviewing the last people Sgt. Lorek was with that alcohol and drugs did not play a part in his death.  There was no note or letter and the event seems to have been a spontaneous reaction to the acute episode of PTSD. This means that unless the government and the USMC dispute this he will be entitled to a burial with full military honors and a grave site at the National Cemetery in Rittman Ohio. 

Vet sentenced to 6 to life for wife’s murder

By Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune 

Posted: 11:43 AM- A Salt Lake City man who murdered his wife by shooting her 16 times, including once in the head as she lay facedown on their kitchen floor, was sentenced today to six years to life in prison. 

"It’s a case that calls out for the maximum punishment," 3rd District Judge Robin Reese said as he imposed the term on Stephen J. Walker. 

The judge refused defense attorney Tawni Hanseen’s request to reduce the conviction from first-degree felony murder to manslaughter. Hanseen argued Walker suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of serving as a helicopter machine gunner during the Vietnam War. 

She said her client was suicidal and drunk on April 1, 2006, when he emptied a 9-millimeter handgun into Cassandra Bryan at their home. 

Prosecutor Paul Parker responded that post-traumatic stress – if Walker even had the disorder – did not lead to Bryan’s death. He pointed out that the 57-year-old also claimed there had been a home invasion robbery at the house but there was no evidence to back that up. 

go here for the rest  

This happens all the time. It is not just happening now, but happened after the Gulf War…..


Shocked residents get ‘feelings out’ about slashings

About 75 seek grief counseling after the gruesome deaths of a mother and son in Seminole

Sandra Pedicini, Sentinel Staff Writer June 19, 2006

LAKE MARY — Residents still reeling after a neighbor beheaded his wife inside their home and slashed their son to death in a neighbor’s yard met with grief counselors Sunday night to deal with their anguish."It sort of let me get my feelings out about how he died," said Sally Zouain, 10, a friend of Nico Duzant, who was slain the day he turned 11.Father’s Day was a somber occasion for residents of the Greenwood Lakes subdivision. About 75 people sought counseling at Greenwood Lakes Middle School, two days after Franklyn Duzant went on a rampage wielding a samurai sword. Counselors helped parents who were feeling emotions including anger, shock, grief, helplessness and worry about how Nico’s violent death could affect their children, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner said.

We all know that many of the Vietnam veterans ended up in jail on drug charges for using drugs to self-medicate instead of being treated by the VA they did not trust at best, or turned them away at worse. They ended up in jail for all kinds of things they did but most were never treated for what caused them to do it, what was behind what they did, even though PTSD was known. We’ve all heard about the divorces and the homeless veterans walking the streets and trying to fight their way into shelters on time to find a bed. We’ve also heard their amazing stories of breaking through and fighting back, not just for themselves but for all the veterans who would come after them.

We have a new generation dealing with all the same problems they did and it doesn’t look as if most of it has changed at all.

Guardsman surrenders after standoff

An Alabama National Guard medic surrendered peacefully after a three-hour police standoff that his family and employer blamed on Iraq-related stress.

Sgt. Charles Wayne La Porte had barricaded himself in his Saraland, Ala., home Feb. 9, telling his wife he didn’t think he would get out alive.

Neighbors called police after seeing La Porte with weapons standing inside his house.  

Saraland Public Safety Director Trey Oliver said La Porte had a loaded semiautomatic assault rifle and a .40-caliber handgun. He has been charged with disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor.

The 31-year-old served a year in Iraq before returning home last summer to an ailing wife and their 8-year-old daughter. At least one soldier in his unit, 1165th Military Police Company, was killed in action.


Iraq veteran convicted of killing wife

A Portland, Ore., reservist was convicted of killing his wife, who had hailed him and other soldiers as heroes in a letter to a local newspaper while he was serving in Iraq.

 The jury found Sgt. Matthew J. Denni, 39, guilty of second-degree murder Feb. 9 in the shooting death last March of his wife. He had been charged with first-degree murder, but he testified he was in a rage because she had been having an affair, and the jury decided the crime was not premeditated.

Denni returned from Iraq in February 2004 after a year overseas with the 671st Engineer Company. Denni faces 15 to 23 years in prison when he is sentenced March 10.


A year after killing, questions haunt family Home from Iraq, wounded soldier turned on wife

By Michelle Tan, Times staff writer

All Staff Sgt. William Neverette wants to know is why. A year ago, his 18-year-old daughter was murdered and mutilated by her soldier-husband at Fort Lewis, Wash.

“Losing your only daughter is like taking a part of you and ripping it out,” he said. “It’s waking up every day and wondering, Why did this happen? Why did he do what he did?”

Nabila Bare was killed July 12, 2005, in the home she shared with her then-19-year-old husband at Fort Lewis. She was stabbed at least 71 times, and; a pentagram was carved into her stomach.

On May 19, a military jury found Spc. Brandon Bare, a machine-gunner with 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, guilty of premeditated murder and two counts of indecent acts, for chopping his wife to death with a meat cleaver and desecrating her corpse. He was sentenced the next day by the military panel to life in prison with the possibility of parole, busted to E-1 and dishonorably discharged. He is serving his term at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. 

Neverette said he’s frustrated that defense attorneys tried to paint his son-in-law as the victim, a scarred combat veteran who believed his wife had been unfaithful.

Soldier charged after wife found dead 

A woman’s body was found in a military footlocker and her husband, a Reserve soldier she publicly hailed as a “hero” during his tour in Iraq, has been arrested. 

Bail was set at $250,000 June 1 for Matthew James Denni, 38, of Battle Ground, Wash., who remained in the Clark County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of Kimberly Faye Denni. Arraignment was set for June 10. 

Denni returned from Iraq in February after a year overseas with the 671st Engineer Company, based in Portland, Ore.  

Fort Lewis soldier sentenced to 20 years

A Fort Lewis, Wash., soldier hung his head and wept when he was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for drowning his wife in a bathtub.

Sgt. James Kevin Pitts said he was sorry for killing his wife, Tara Pitts, 28, only weeks after he returned from a year in Iraq.

Prosecutors said Pitts was angry with his wife for threatening to report to his superiors an affair he had with another soldier.

When Matthew Sepi returned from Iraq a few months ago, he spoke to his family reluctantly of gun battles and the "weird noises" children make when they die. He never told relatives whether he killed anyone during combat but said he recently had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had been placed on a waiting list for treatment.

To help shield his psyche from images of bodies, family members said, the 20-year-old soldier had adopted a simple technique: Just don’t think about it. But early Sunday morning, Army Spc. Sepi found himself thinking about killing in front of homicide detectives. They interrogated Sepi about a double shooting in a neighborhood near Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

Based on Sepi’s version of events, a 1 a.m. walk to a 7-Eleven proved nearly as dangerous as his tour of duty in Iraq. According to an arrest report filed in Clark County District Court, Sepi told investigators he dressed in a black coat, tucked an assault rifle under his arm and left his apartment for a beer run. As the 120-pound Sepi journeyed on foot and passed through a dark alley, a man and woman confronted him and yelled for him to leave the alley, police said in the report.

Sepi said the man, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Kevin Ratcliff, produced an object that he thought to be a gun and opened fire. "(Sepi) explained that he had been trained in the military that in a situation in which he was ambushed, he was to engage the targets and retreat from the area," police wrote in the report. "He felt that the situation in the alley was an ambush, and he reacted the way he had been trained." Sepi recalled firing four shots. Sharon Jackson, 47, fell to the ground and died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds, police said. Ratcliff was hit by gunfire and was taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive.


December 18, 2007: Man Charged After Beating Victim Dies

Jason Roach is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and a father of three plus a friend of my wife and I. From my understanding Kelly Douglass (deceased) was a friend of both Jason and his wife Misty. There are allegations of an affair between Kelly and Misty, which are still unclear at this time. What is know is that Kelly wanted to discuss this with Jason but was told not to come to Jason and Misty’s home. Kelly refused and came to the house unannounced, which is when an argument broke out and Jason told him to leave. A scuffle ensued and while they were fighting Kelly fell and hit his head on the corner of some concrete. Kelly went unconscious and Jason started screaming for help. Jason is charged with voluntary manslaughter and murder at this time he is being held in jail on $500k bond.

Charges Against Fatal Beating Suspect Upgraded

POSTED: 12:54 pm EST December 27, 2007

CINCINNATI — A man accused of beating a man to death outside his home is now facing a more serious charge.

Jason Roach, 28, was charged with voluntary manslaughter on Dec. 18, a day after Roach beat Kelly Douglass on John Gray Road, deputies said. Douglass, 32, died at Mercy Fairfield Hospital a short time after paramedics arrived.

On Thursday, Roach was indicted by a grand jury on one count of murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter. Roach is being held on $500,000 bond.

The media has made Jason appear as a savage who beat Douglass to a pulp. Some reporters want to know more than just what they have to print. Others, couldn’t care less and as long as they make their deadline, they don’t have to worry about what the rest of the story is. In this case who really knows right now? Did Kelly fall and hit his head or was it a beating? If it was a beating then was Roach really there when he did it or was he back in Iraq? Here is one of the few media sources that are semi accurate. Please check out the story here and there is a video on the right hand of the screen as well.  

It is also unclear whether PTSD or any other mental illness played a major factor but these travesties need to stop.

Wipe out all of the surrounding information about the alleged affair the reality is that if Kelly had not gone to his house this would have never happened. Secondly, Kelly came to the house with a cache of weapons included a loaded gun bought the day prior, which he was not registered to carry and conceal. If the he had not died I am sure the tables would be turned and it would be Kelly in jail for felony weapon possession along with aggravated assault and battery.

The other issue with Jason is that there have been a few “veteran” organizations that said they would help and then turned the tables on his family. One organization in particular, Operation Helping Heal, not only said they would help pay their bills but would give an extra $1000 to ensure the family would not end up homeless. After waiting for two weeks with little to no communication Jason’s wife Misty was advised by Helping Heal President Devon Porpora that they will be unable to assist them because Jason is incarcerated. Would it have been a wise decision to tell them in the beginning about this “rule” instead of leading them on? On the contrary according to their site their mission is to, “stop-gap financial assistance to United States veterans and service members who experience unforeseeable, temporary and undue hardship for reasons generally beyond their control.”

All of the above crimes may not have been prevented with treating the problems our combat veterans have because of their "duty" but what if two, three or four could have been prevented by them getting the help they need? What if Lariam was stopped from being used as soon as problems were reported with using it? It’s too late to wonder "what if" for those who have already died but we can make a difference from this point on. We can make sure that Roach is treated for PTSD if he has it and then take the rest of it from there.

No one is saying a crime should go unpunished, but what is right, what is just, is to know what justice is, treatment or jail. We won’t do the right thing unless and until we actually look beyond what is right in front of our face and we stop treating combat veterans like everyone else.

They are not like anyone else you know. They are rare in this nation and they are not "normal" which we should thank God for. Normal people are not willing to lay down their lives for someone else. Normal people are not willing to do what they do. Normal people do not have to see what they see on their own street because they are willing to go beyond normal. There is nothing normal about combat and it’s high time the rest of us stopped thinking they are just like the rest of us.

There has been too much lip service and it is time for action but what will it really take?


Johnny Waltz

Disabled Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran


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