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Coping with PTSD
By John Ketwig
I strongly suggest you go to www.LarryShook.com. Larry is a former Vietnam door gunner, a former journalist, and a Washington state PTSD sufferer. YouTube has a video of Larry delivering a speech called, if I remember correctly, "Grace and Me: A Forbidden Tale of War," about his struggles with PTSD that is one of the most moving and articulate discussions of the subject I have ever seen. Today, you will find a number of articles on the topic "The Rape of Mary Kay." Larry has become an advocate for this poor lady veteran.
Mary Kay McCollum was a Navy nurse with an outstanding record. She was raped and drugged by a Navy superior and threatened with murder if she reported him. Her job performance suffered, as a result, effectively ending her career. The officer was court-martialed and found guilty, but Mary Kay's claims to the VA for PTSD benefits have been studiously denied for 14 years! Larry Shook is trying to make her case known, and I hope this small article in The Veteran will add to the momentum that will finally allow this poor lady to receive the benefits she deserves. This case is a terrible example of what veterans are up against when dealing with the Pentagon and the VA. I believe many cases are judged by the effects an acknowledgment by the VA might have on the image of the military, and especially its efforts to entice new recruits. I urge you to become familiar with Mary Kay's situation, and then write letters and raise a little hell on her behalf. #TimesUp!
John Ketwig is a lifetime member of VVAW, and the author of ...and a hard rain fell: A G.I.'s True Story of the War in Vietnam.