May 27, 2009

SOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and PTSD

SOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq - and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

CLINT VAN WINKLE served for eight years in the United States Marine Corps, earning the rank of sergeant. While in Iraq he served as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle section leader, attached to Lima Company 3rd BN 1st Marines, and commanded eighteen other Marines. After two tours of duty, he returned to earn a BA in English from Arizona State University, then a MA in Creative Writing and Media from the University of Wales-Swansea, and began to publish pieces of this book in literary magazines.

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.

But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.

From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed AmericaSOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, went on-sale March 3.

May 26, 2009

I Have Not Forgotten my Mission

I want to let whoever reads this blog to know that I have not forgotten about my mission here. I needed to recharge my batteries and will be posting again soon. The end of April was a hectic time with final exams and papers, a hospitalization for suicidal ideation, filing for an increase for my PTSD service-connection pension and daily life was a struggle. 

We Venerate our Fallen Soldiers

I received this in an email chain letter which I usually delete straight away. I will not forward chain letters and the only way I could reconcile this tenet was to post it here. I truly venerate our fallen soldiers and wanted to pass this along. I could not post yestersay as some days have a significant burden upon me.

The author is anonymous.

It is the VETERAN

not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion

It is the VETERAN

not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press

It is the VETERAN

not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech

It is the VETERAN,

not the campus organizer,

who has given us freedom to assemble

It is the VETERAN

not the lawyer,

who has given us the right to a fair trial

It is the VETERAN

not the politician,

who has given us the right to vote

It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag



We can be very proud of our men and women in the service no matter where they serve.

God Bless them all!!!