JOSEPH PATRICK DWYER
Age: 31 Enlisted in the Army 2 days after 9/11
War Fame: Boy in photo was a 4-year-old named Ali, whom Dwyer rescued from crossfire.
Unit: 3rd Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment
Wife: Matina Brown Dwyer
Daughter: Meagan Kaleigh Dwyer
The 2003 photograph taken of Army medic Joseph Patrick Dwyer, carrying a wounded Iraqi boy through a battle zone, was reprinted in newspapers around the United States.
However, this war photo brought Dwyer an unwelcomed status of fame.
Dwyer later became the subject of reports about the darker side of his war experience:
In October 2005, Dwyer once again made “headline news” when police responded to reports of gunfire in a residential part of El Paso, Texas. Dwyer was found to have fired the shots, apparently convinced that Iraqis were attacking him. He surrendered after a brief standoff.
After the 2005 standoff with police, his next "headline news" was the report of his fatal overdose in 2008.
On the night of June 28, 2008, Dwyer died at a hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina. According to reports, prescription pills and inhalants were found in his home, suggesting an overdose.
He reportedly called a taxi to come and take him to the hospital, but was unable to open the door when it arrived. The police kicked the door down and he was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Both of these incidents were reportedly fueled by his struggle with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.)
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(source: Army Times; By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer, Posted : Tuesday Jul 8, 2008 6:35:20 EDT)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
JOSEPH PATRICK DWYER
.................................................my husband's life...
Donate to Pat's legal defense fund - you CAN afford to help save a Veteran's life.
Every dollar counts! Thank you.... Sue Lamoureux
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The study of 290,000 soldiers who received VA health care between 2002 and 2008 was reported in the American Journal of Public Health.
For active-duty military, the risk of being diagnosed with PTSD increased four times after the invasion of Iraq, while for National Guard and Reserve members, the risk increased sevenfold.
The new study showed a striking jump in mental illness from findings reported two years ago and indicates that veterans' problems continue to emerge years after they return home.
Researchers said several factors are to blame: Roadside bombs are an unexpected and continual threat that can make everyone who serves feel they're on the front line.
The study was also the first to suggest that National Guardsmen and reservists suffer these wars differently than active-duty soldiers. Army soldiers and Marines younger than 25 had the highest rates of PTSD and drinking. That wasn't surprising, given that they're more likely to see combat and deploy multiple times.
But among National Guardsmen and reservists, it's the soldiers older than 30 who suffer, regardless of the combat they saw. Researchers suggested that being called up from established careers, families and communities make older citizen-soldiers less prepared for combat and less able to move between the two worlds.
"These are not people who live on a base, have a strong affiliation with a unit or maybe ever saw themselves going overseas, at all," said Dr. Karen Seal, the chief author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. "The disparity between their expectations and what they were actually exposed to over there may create a lot of vulnerability to PTSD." (1)
As the data continues to emerge, remember- whatever your views are on the war, our Veterans did not ask for this diagnosis. We must continue to support our Veterans and make certain that they receive the help that they need – even in their darkest hours.
1) Striking jump in mental illness found in Iraq, Afghanistan veterans; Posted by Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian July 16, 2009 21:50PM
Monday, July 27, 2009
In some areas of the country, the ACLU has strongly opposed these courts, claiming they are ‘discriminatory’.
My opinion is that an individual who goes into combat for our country and comes home a significantly changed individual, and subsequently gets “in trouble” deserves to be treated better than a ‘common’ or ‘career’ criminal. Particularly if that individual has well documented PTSD and has no criminal history.
These men and women have experienced and endured situations that we, as everyday Americans, cannot begin to comprehend. The unseen wounds of war are deep.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rage on and troops are returning home, there is not a day that goes by that somewhere in our country a tragic event occurs that involves a Veteran of one of these wars.
These incidents are only going to increase – our country, and our judicial system is not ready for this.
I am tired of reading the opinions of some individuals who state that PTSD is an excuse. Early on after this horrible tragedy occurred with Pat, I was on the internet searching for information when I came across a site called “PTSD: A Solider’s Mind” (Do not confuse this with Scott A. Lee’s “PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective” )
The person who posts on this site professes to be someone who works on a large military facility and interacts with individuals who have PTSD. This person also states that they were formerly law enforcement. However, there are many comments made by this individual which make one wonder if that is true, and if this person truly has any understanding of what these soldiers are experiencing. In part, this person wrote:
(for the complete posting and comments go to:) http://soldiersmind.com/2008/10/11/when-ptsd-is-an-excuse
“The one thing that I want to stress here, is that just because someone is suffering from PTSD, doesn’t mean that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong and it doesn’t mean that they don’t have control over their behavior. If we allow them to use that as a crutch and an excuse their behavior, honestly I don’t see them bettering themselves. Instead, we’re inviting them to stay stuck in that behavior and never taking personal responsibility for their actions. We’re telling them that it’s okay for them to break the law or do bad things, because they have a mental disorder. That’s just not acceptable.”
“Yes, PTSD is very real and can be life changing, however, with help, those suffering from PTSD can get better and can lead a normal life. So let’s empower them to get better, instead of helping them to continue to wallow in a pit of self pity and use their PTSD as an excuse for everything they do and everything that happens to them.”
Sue Lamoureux on October 12th, 2008 4:18 pm
I read this post and was shocked at what I was reading. Perhaps there are some soldiers returning from Iraq/Afghanistan who do use PTSD as a ‘crutch’.
To even make a slight inference that this is commonplace is appalling.
One must remember that every human psyche is different, and what impacts someone on a certain level, will impact another person on a completely different level. We are all human beings and we are all different. What makes you ‘tick’ does not make the rest of humankind ‘tick’.
My husband is rated at 70% for PTSD through the VA. This is a very high, and very real rating. He has undergone continuous treatment since he returned from Iraq. He has not used this as a ‘crutch’. He has made every effort to return to a normal life since he returned from Iraq. Perhaps you should go spend some time in Iraq and witness and live through the horrors of war on a first hand level.
To insinuate that soldiers are wallowing ‘in a pit of self pity’ and using ‘their PTSD as an excuse for everything they do and everything that happens to them’ is abominable.
You have insulted many soldiers and their families. Many families are facing life changing situations brought on by the effects of the war and PTSD. To minimize and downplay the severity of PTSD is unconscionable.
You owe an enormous apology to countless soldiers and their families.
This person is how Scott Lee and I “met”.
After I responded to this person’s posting, Scott came in and posted a blazing response as well. For those of you who have not visited Scott's site, he is a very eloquent writer.
There were many comments that followed, but recently I revisted this site, and found a new comment that posted:
§ a real veteran in every iraq stand since 1990 -01 on July 2nd, 2009 5:38 pm
To Sue Lamoureux. a crutch! oh my its not the fault of the veteran who knows its wrong to shoot a civil servant of the law called to aid in the defense of innocent people who also probably have the ptsd that which you referred too. But what about shooting a officer of the law twice in the side and the chest while the law providing an out for your wonderful man that had served faithfully to his country and getting hit in the LEGS or poor baby grow up!!! let your wonderful caring man you speak of that cannot do any wrong pay for his crimes. weather here or in the deserts of iraq pick yourself up dust yourself off and put the psycho in the ward where he needs to be until competant and than pay for his crimes of life let the freedom bell ring for those who believe in god country and the people.
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(I wonder where this person read the officer was shot in the chest?)
The average American cannot begin to understand the psychological changes that occur when PTSD is involved. For anyone to call Pat Lamoureux a “psycho” shows the level of their ignorance.
Recently there has been much media coverage concerning the growing problems with active duty military and medication issues. The VA reported in Healthcare Inspection: Review of Veterans Health Administration Residential Mental Health Care Facilities, that the VA's inspector general concluded that some in-patient psychological and psychiatric programs lacked adequate staff, oversupplied patients with potentially harmful medications and failed to monitor patients' adherence to treatment plans both in the hospital and after discharge.
Our active duty military is being over medicated; in-patient Veterans are being over medicated. Are we as Americans to be so naïve to believe that our Veterans walking the streets are not being over medicated too? You take an individual who has suffered severe psychological damage, and fill them with mind altering drugs - what do you think is likely to happen? Perhaps they will react in a way that “society” views as unacceptable?
So when our Veterans become entwined in the criminal justice system, shouldn’t all the factors be weighed in their cases? Shouldn’t they be held in a different light than those who are repeat offenders who have never been productive citizens? Shouldn’t our Veterans be given a second chance to redeem themselves in society?
The problem with the Veteran’s Courts is – they are aimed at non-violent offenders.
In the structuring of these courts – which while I applaud the concept of these courts – I wonder why is it they are aimed at non-violent offenders? These Veterans aren’t out shop-lifting……….
So I am putting a poll on the blog site. It is anonymous, and will only produce numbers. I want to know how YOU view cases involving our Veterans.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t Columnist
There is disconnection between everything human and what has to be done in combat. Imagine being in an unimaginable situation and having to do the unthinkable. How can this be done? A detachment between everything human and having to do the inconceivable resounds in combat.
- PTSD: A Soldier's Perspective - Scott A. Lee
Two men, ages 21 and 23, attempted to rob an Iowa farm. When two farmers, both 52, caught the two young men in the act, the farmers were savagely beaten and tied to a fence. The injuries incurred by the two farmers included skull fractures, facial fractures and a broken arm. The two men were arrested.
A 25-year-old man kidnapped his girlfriend at gunpoint in Tennessee. He forced her to drive to an ATM machine, took the money, drove her back to her home and then raped her. The man was later arrested.
A man in Massachusetts got into a fight with his wife and began drinking. Later that evening, he opened fire on a man and a woman outside a crowded nightclub. No injuries were reported. The man was later arrested.
A 35-year-old man in Colorado shot his wife five times in the head and neck and then shot himself. His wife was pregnant.
A 20-year-old man went on a beer run in Las Vegas at 1:00 AM, wearing a long black coat with an assault rifle tucked underneath. He was spotted by another man and a woman in an alley and told to leave. He opened fire on the man and woman, and returned to his apartment to get more ammunition. He was later arrested. The man and the woman were killed.
A 20-year-old man in Washington shot his 18-year-old girlfriend in the back of the head before turning the gun on himself.
A 19-year-old man in Washington stabbed his 18-year-old wife to death. He was later arrested.
A 37-year-old man in Virginia hanged himself with a bed sheet in his jail cell after being arrested for beating his wife.
A man from Portland, Oregon, was arrested after the body of his wife was found in a van. She had been shot through the throat.
A 31-year-old man in Washington was placed under a restraining order by his wife after he pushed her and threatened her. Two days later, the man drowned his wife in their bathtub.
A 36-year-old man in Colorado savagely beat his wife and threatened to kill her with a .357 Magnum. When police arrived on the scene, the man put the gun to his head and fired, killing himself.
A 25-year-old man in St. Louis hanged himself in his residence after he had been arrested for a domestic disturbance involving his wife.
There are thousands of stories just like this that have been taking place all over America.
Most people have not heard about them, but by now just about everyone has heard about this one: A 44-year-old man was arrested after killing five men inside a counseling center. This horrifying act happened at Camp Liberty, a massive US base in Iraq, and has been much in the news ever since.
All the other stories took place in America, but they all share one awful common factor: They were all acts of terrible brutality and violence committed by US soldiers, who had served either in Iraq or Afghanistan or both.
The soldier who shot five fellow troops in Iraq did so in a base clinic catering to service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He had served three tours in Iraq. As with the other soldiers who committed the above-described crimes, he suffered from PTSD, and in the end, his disorder became the catalyst for savagery.
"They didn't tell him they were there for his benefit," said the man's father to a Texas news station, "they were there as a friend to him to find out if he had any psychological problems as a result of his third tour of duty. They didn't want him to come back home and kill his wife or himself and this kind of stuff. That's the worst thing they could have done because they trained him to kill. He had a short fuse when they antagonized him. And I guess he couldn't help himself."
PTSD is defined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as "A psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experiencing or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, abuse, and violent personal assaults like rape.
People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life."
Indeed. The military has stated that at least one in five American soldiers who were deployed overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from some degree of PTSD. According to a recent report by Truthout journalist Dahr Jamail, "The US military has been medicating soldiers before they are redeployed to Iraq, in order to keep enough boots on the ground. An anonymous survey of US troops taken during Fall 2007, used as part of the data in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report, found that 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent in Afghanistan were on prescription drugs that were mostly antidepressants or sleeping pills."
"Studies that go back to World War II," continued Jamail, "have found that combat veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as people in the general population. Other lesser known distressing facts are that nine percent of all unemployment in the United States is attributed to combat exposure, as is 8 percent of all divorce or separation and 21 percent of all spousal or partner abuse. The impact of all this extends to behavioral problems in children, child abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, incarceration and homelessness, all of which have implication that go well beyond the individual and reverberate across generations. As both occupations continue into the indefinite future, we should not be surprised when we hear of more atrocities like what happened Monday in Baghdad, whether they occur in Iraq or in the United States."
How long will Iraq be with us, even after we leave? Evidence strongly suggests that the physical and psychological toll taken upon our soldiers and service members from their extended, savage, deadly and ultimately fruitless deployments to the wars of the Bush administration is enormous, and growing.
These soldiers volunteered to serve, and swore to give their lives in that service. In return, they have been torn apart, killed, maimed, and in far too many cases, driven to or past the edge of madness by what they saw and did Over There.
A wise person once said that any nation that cannot properly care for their veterans has no business making new ones. These, our newest generation of scarred soldiers, deserve far better than what they have received from the government and the nation they swore to defend. We sent them over there, and now they are marching home, some of them with Hell itself in their minds and hearts. They can, and must, be helped and healed.
We must get them out of Iraq, get them out of Afghanistan, get them home and get them well. They deserve nothing less from us, and it is the very least we can do for them.