Category Archives: ptsd

From hunting terrorists to being haunted by flashbacks: How Wesley Pinnick is making the transition from soldier to civilian

the terrorist killerOne of the hardest transitions for Wesley Pinnick from hunting terrorists in Iraq to civilian life in America was the loss of brotherhood he felt in the military.

“A lot of guys who go in the military have blood brothers, but they go in the military and they say, ‘You’re closer to me than a blood brother’ because you literally spend a year or years all of your time together,” Wesley says. “Those guys I went to combat with know everything about my life. You have nothing else to do but play dominoes and talk. It’s emotional bond that you have with these guys.”

Of course there was post traumatic stress disorder. Of course the shift from adrenaline jolts while dodging bullets to the drudgery of a day job was difficult. But it was the bond that was formed with those brothers — and then was broken when he returned to America — that hit him hard.

“When I got home, I realized, I’m never going to be as close with anybody ever again as I have with these guys — even to the point of when I get married, will I ever be this close to my wife?” he wondered.

the hunt for terrorists in mosulWesley is lucky. He found a church and fellowship with Christian brothers that, if not as close, was a decent approximation. He ran a discipleship house with new converts to help them break free from drugs, alcohol and other habitual sins as they learned to follow Jesus at the Door Church in Tucson.

As the U.S. war on terror extends itself with no end in sight, the U.S. is seeing increasing numbers of soldiers who struggle with traumas. Wesley’s story points the way to one great help for these soldiers — Jesus and the bond of brotherhood that can form in the church.

“The question is how do I live a life when I’ve already done potentially the greatest things I will ever do with my life, and I’m 21?” Wesley says. “What I really needed was people I could depend on and who could depend on me. I needed that camaraderie.”

Today, Wesley is a pastor in Long Beach, CA. But how he left his childhood church and enlisted to raise hell in Iraq is the story of a prodigal son.

Wesley knew nothing but church as a kid and teen. His dad was a minister in the Door Church, and he never had a friend outside the church. He felt burned out on the “unreasonable expectations” imposed on church kids.

“The reason I joined the military was to get away from church,” he says. “I backslid because I didn’t see any reason for me to stay saved. I didn’t want to mark out the next 30, 40 years in the church.”

So he bolted. Instead of fighting the devil, he fought terrorists. He and his buddies blasted open doors with C-4 plastic explosive and hauled off suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in 2004 at the start of the war in Mosul.

“It was a very traumatic experience in a lot of ways,” says Wesley, who fast-tracked to sergeant in two years. “I still don’t know how to talk about that.”

He was in the middle of the desert without God. Between the deaths of two buddies, he suddenly decided to re-start his relationship with Jesus by praying at night in bed.

“One day I just said, ‘God, I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to have a relationship with You, but I want to have a relationship with You,’” he remembers. “‘I don’t have a church, a pastor or a Bible. I don’t know how this is going to work, but I’m willing to do it.’ But looking back, those six months were some of the most intense moments I had with God in my entire relationship with God over the course of my entire life.”

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the constant brushes with death that drove him to Jesus, he says. In fact, the exact opposite happens: soldiers who have escaped unscathed from conflict wrongly believe they are invulnerable. Read the rest of overcoming PTSD through God.

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Special ops marine, MMA fighter fights for his marriage

Chad Kathy robichaux“You killed me.”

As a police officer, Chad Robichaux once had to grapple with and overpower a man barricaded in his home in a domestic dispute. When the man struggled for Robichaux’s gun, the officer fired at him six times as the man’s children and wife screamed hysterically.

It wasn’t the only time Robichaux was traumatized in his use of deadly force. The MMA champion also killed as a Special Operations Force Recon Marine during eight tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Mighty Oaks helps veteransThe killing left his mind and heart a wreck, his marriage a shambles, and his soul a wasteland. If it weren’t for the intervention of a Christian man who invested in him and nurtured him back to psychological health, Robichaux might have ended his life like so many of the PTSD victims he tries to help through his Mighty Oaks Wounded Warrior Foundation.

Robichaux recounts the horrors of waging war on evil both in America and abroad in an I am Second video.

When he arrived on the scene of the domestic dispute, there were 30 people standing around outside the house.

help vets with ptsdThe wife was screaming, and the man had barricaded himself in the back bedroom with his gun. Robichaux and his partner entered the house and began searching from room to room. They found the man and demanded he drop his gun. He refused to comply, so Chad moved to disarm him with force.

“I step towards him and I grab the barrel of his rifle and I pushed it away from me and I kicked him in the groin,” he remembers. “When I kicked him the second time he grabbed my hand. I realized at that point that I had to save myself and my partner. I shot six times.”

His partner hit him with another five bullets, and the suspect crumpled to his knees.

He looked at Chad: “You killed me.”

Of course, the violence was justified and necessary, but still Robichaux couldn’t just forget the images of blood all over him. He couldn’t shake the fact that he had ended a life at close range. He couldn’t forget the screams of the family.

chad-robichaux-1“I just wanted someone to tell me that it was okay because I had just killed this guy in front of his family and it was something I thought I would have a hard time with but I did.”

His wife was no help. She just thought it was all part of a day’s work. He really needed someone to affirm him, but instead he felt rejection.

Shortly after that incident, he returned to active duty as a marine following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He was added to the Joint Special Operations Command. He deployed to Afghanistan with much excitement.

chad-robichaux“Wow I can’t believe all this training to do this, you know, be a force recon marine to do these things and I’m here it’s real like right outside somewhere in the dark is the bad guy.”

He knew the terrorists were evil, but still he wasn’t prepared to see the full horror of mayhem done to other human beings.

“You can’t make sense of it,” he says. “You can’t process it”

In the process of fighting evil, evil entered his own heart. He became a hateful killing machine.

“I was out of control and I didn’t feel bad about it”

He built a wall between himself and his family but he didn’t understand why. “Maybe to protect them from me” Read the rest of Chad Robichaux Christian.