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MOAA Professional Series [Having] mental health services for servicemembers


and veterans and not family members is not effective. We have to strive more to provide services to family members. We need to make our systems and processes easier. Most of all, we need to make sure that every ser- vicemember, whether in the service or as a veteran, is welcomed [and] respected and is given the respect and privacy and our gratitude for their sacrifices. McFarland: Now we’re going to turn to Dr. David Brown. Dr. David Brown: … Prior to coming here to D.C., I was overseas for 15 years. I was the lead psychologist in Ba- varia over seven bases there treating people. … I had a soldier released from Landstuhl, Germany, after a suicide attempt with lethal means and intent to die. … When you’re released from the hospital, we screen you to make sure you’re OK before we reinte- grate you back into your unit. And I [asked] “Can you please give me a heads-up on … what brings you here?” And he said, “I killed a soldier.” … I [asked him to] tell me more. And he said, “Everyone had a chance to take a break during the deployment. The first sergeant came to me and said, ‘I’m pulling you from this mission, I’m putting in a substitute,’ [and] that substi- tute died as a result of an IED. Hence, I killed a soldier.” He’s carrying this guilt with him ... from his first deploy- ment. He’s now returned back from his third deployment. McFarland: [Now for] Lt. Col. Rodney Lewis, USAF … Lt. Col. Rodney Lewis, USAF: … One percent of the [coun- try is] out there serving our country … and only 10 per- cent know of a servicemember. Well, [first lady Michelle Obama] is trying to reach the other 90 percent. That’s what Joining Forces is — an awareness campaign. … You can go to www.joiningforces.gov to learn [more]. McFarland: … April [Marcum] is going to speak on behalf of [her husband, Tech. Sgt. Tom Marcum, USAF-Ret., and their] family. … April Marcum: Tom and I came here today to share our story with you, not necessarily to bring attention to us, but to help the men and women who are in the road right now where we were two or three years ago. When my husband deployed to Iraq in January 2008,


I had the usual worries of any spouse. How long is he going to be gone this time? How will I keep up with


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU


What is the best way to support those transi- tioning from the military world to the civilian world? Click on Transition at www.moaa.org/discus sion or mail MOAA, Attn: Editor, 201 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314, to share your thoughts.


70 MILITARY OFFICER DECEMBER 2011 Event Sponsors


MOAA thanks all those who participated in the fifth annual MOAA/U.S. Naval Institute Defense Forum Washington Sept. 26. Special thanks goes to the event’s corporate sponsors, without whom the con- ference would not have been possible. For a complete list, visit www.moaa.org/dfw. Sponsors include executive sponsor USAA; pa-


tron sponsor TriWest Healthcare Alliance; gold sponsors Express Scripts, Health Net, Humana Military Healthcare Services, and U.S. Family Health Plan; lunch sponsor CACI Inc.; silver spon- sor Fisher House Foundation; breakfast sponsor American Physical Therapy Association; program sponsor Gumpert Printing; champion sponsor Ware Pak; and supporter Insurance Solutions.


working full time, parenting our children, and the de- mands of running a household? … So I did what thousands of military spouses do


every day — I dug in; I did what I had to do. [Then] I re- ceived a phone call from my husband saying … a mortar exploded 35 yards away from him. … He downplayed the extent of his injuries. … He said he had a bad headache and his ears were ringing. … When he came home a few weeks later, after spend- ing [another] nine months in Iraq … he still had the same headache. He was confused at simple things. He had short-term memory loss. The last straw for me was the day he called me on his way home from work, a base we had been stationed at for three years at that point, 6 miles from our home, and said, “I can’t remember how to get home.” I made sure that we called the doctor, [and the doctor basically said] “I’ll write you a prescription for Motrin, but you really need to suck it up and go back to work.” After that, we both felt like there should be somewhere for us to go to get the medical help that Tom needed, and so we made an appointment with the medical group commander, and … his primary care doctor … decided that Tom should go through a Medical Evaluation Board. This process was long and overwhelming, but my husband finally ended up at a polytrauma unit in Tampa, Fla., where he received outstanding medical treatment. … Tom had a traumatic brain injury caused by an orbital wall blowout fracture behind his right eye. His right shoulder needed to be surgically repaired. He


was diagnosed with hearing loss and vision deficits, and they also suggested he be further evaluated for PTSD. … In May of 2010, the Air Force placed Tom on tem- porary disability retirement [CONTINUES ON PAGE 77]


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