A Soldier's Recommendation for MPF Mental Health Grant
Dear Connect 4 Mental Health,
Today you woke up and got dressed, headed to work. Now you found yourself reading a letter from a veteran who served three tour of combat, but what you don’t realize is that like most of us veterans and service members come back from war and suffer and can’t take it anymore and just yesterday at least 22 or more military members and veterans took their life because they can’t take the pain and memoires of what happened in combat. Now like myself and other veterans we feel like that most people see us as no longer hero’s because we took the uniform off and we aren’t fighting anymore but that’s not the case because we are fighting a war and that’s with ourselves. I’ll tell you a little about me and why I feel that the MPF needs to stay around and how it helped me and is still helping me. My name is (RET SGT) Kyle Buckelew I served ten years in the Army, I was medically retired in 2014 due to the fact the military didn’t think I could serve anymore due to my injuries. Now I served three tours in combat, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I want to share with you with the one that almost took my life, not there but here in the states. My first deployment was in 2004-2005 and I went to Iraq which back then we didn’t have all the nice armor we have now. So I really didn’t know if I was going to come back home. However, after a tons of fire fights and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) which I got the nickname of IED KING because it seemed like every mission I was on we either found one or one went off in our convoy or around us. On August 5th 2005 my life was changed forever and still affects me to this day. That night we went out on a mission and at the last min my convoy leader moved me to the front gun truck and I made a joke saying now I can find all the IED’s not knowing this convoy was my last one for the deployment. We went out and after being on the road for about an hour I remember one thing and that was a big flash of light and after that I woke up in the hospital on our base. I didn’t know what happened to me all I knew was I couldn’t feel my right side or my right arm and I thought I lost it and scared out of my mind. The doctor came in and told me I would be ok and I looked over I still had my arm just confused. They told me I suffered from nerve damaged and I had shrapnel as well and burnt marks due to the IED. I was told I would recover just find and get my feeling back in arm. So after they sent me too tons of specialist and therapy I wasn’t able to move a lot and couldn’t feel anything with my right arm from my fingers to my shoulder. I was awarded a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge due to my contact with the enemy and my injuries. I watched a lot of my buddies who didn’t make it and here I was still alive. We came back to the states and I was feeling depressed and kept asking myself why me and why did I come back alive. I started having anger problems and drank myself stupid to try and take all the memories away and the thoughts out of my head. I then realized I needed help so I reached out to the Army behavior health people. Now you would think hey they will take care of you and know how to help, boy was I wrong. I went to them thinking they could tell me what’s wrong with me and why I keep forgetting things and why am I always mad and all the other problems I’m having. I saw a lady who was asking me all sorts of questions about my childhood and what not. I started to get a little upset because I didn’t go there to talk about my childhood. So I stopped the lady and of course was upset and asked why aren’t you helping me and she told me this is her helping so she told another doctor I needed pills. Really pills was the Army and military answer for this. So I tried taking these pills which made things worse I went and told them this and I was looked right in the eyes and was told. Look soldier this pills is what you will take and they will help just need time. After a few months I decided I wanted to end it all so I went out got drunk and tried to run out unto a highway till a SFC saw me and got me into his truck and took me to his house and he just talked to me and listened to what I needed to talk about. Did this help you might be asking yourself? You will be surprise on how much it helps to talk to others who have been in the same situation or worse and how they overcame it. Now that is what the MPF is all about. I wish that this foundation was around when I was in because I do believe they can help the military with the suicide rate that is outrageous. Now what I love about the MPF is that there’s others stories on there and not one name which mean soldiers or families can go on there and read what others are going through and heck they can tell their story and everything is confidential which I love. Three of those stories on the MPF page are mine and I bet, no I know that my story helped someone out there and it makes me feel great. Let’s talk about my relationship to the MPF. Matthew Patton was a outstanding soldier and a hero to this country. How do I know this you ask, well He wasn’t just a soldier he was one of mine while stationed in Germany and deployed to Afghanistan. Patton was an outgoing soldier and nothing seemed to be wrong with him at all. Never showed any of the signs the military teaches us about suicide. I would of never known because well he never wanted to tell anyone from the military because he was afraid he would be looked at different like most soldiers feel like. Patton took his own life to end the suffering he was dealing with due to combat and other personal issues, but just because he didn’t die over there doesn’t make him a hero. SGT Matthew Patton should always be remember as hero not just a soldier who took his life. I wished on those dark days I had I would of died over there so that way the pain would of ended fast and quick but most of us come back broken and hurt inside. I believe If the military would take what the MPF has to offer then Matthew Patton would still be alive to this day just like I am because they listen to me and give me ideas on how to help others which I have helped out two soldiers as of this year because of what I learned from the MPF. So like I used to tell my soldiers whatever you chose to do now can change someone else’s life forever. So please make the right choice and you can save so many veterans and men and woman in the military by helping the MPF grow. Thank you for taking the time to read what I wanted to right and talk about. If you have any questions or would like to know more on how the MPF helps me please feel free to call me at 931-216-3950.
(RET SGT) Kyle Buckelew