COMBAT VETERAN'S FORUM

Volume 2 Issue 1                                      JANUARY, 1997




  1. 2nd PRESIDENT'S NOTE --by Gus A. Allbritton
  2. COMBAT VETERAN'S GROUP, INC. Officers for 1997:--by tbass
  3. COORDINATOR'S COMMENT : Vets Creating A New Future For Themselves--by Bolivar P. Martineau, MD MS
  4. EDITOR'S NOTE--by tbass



2nd PRESIDENT'S NOTE by Gus A. Allbritton

One of this country's greatest and most respected military leaders of all times, General Douglas McArthur, believed that "Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just fade Away", and with those words he ended his military career.. But what he failed to understand at the time, was, an old soldier may "Just Fade Away", but the war he fought, will never fade away from within his brain. This self-destructive residue or side-effect of war is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, or PTSD.

I believe that it is time for all combat veterans from all wars to learn as much about this disorder as we can, the topic of combat shock is a malady of uncontrollable personalities that all combat veterans from all wars will experience during some point in their lives. We need to recognize what PTSD is, how it effects our lives. The more we learn and understand about PTSD, the better chance we will have to increase the "Higher Quality of Life" that we all deserve. If we cannot find the help that can release us from the haunted grip of the memories and pain of war, our lives may follow a downward spiral.

War effects our lives like no other phenomena. It creates a tremendous amount of shock to our minds and bodies like no other force, and if it goes unmanaged and unrecognized PTSD can and will make it possible to mentally cope with everyday problems and/or resist stress related physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, and the overall affects of PTSD can be traced to every vital organ in the human body. We must educate ourselves with the disorder in which we suffer, not only to understand it ourselves, but to educate other combat veterans about PTSD. There is an old proverb that says, "A man never gets to old to learn," and this is true. We must, however, pick our educators carefully. We at the Combat Veterans Group are very fortunate to have one of the best educators in PTSD, his knowledge and experience is matched only to his dedication to all of his patients so let's all understand that PTSD will always exist and we will not, and our educator will not always be here either, so let us learn as much as we can, for a s long as we can, and say "Thank You" to our educator and mentor, Dr. B.P.Martineau MD,MS, for no one will ever know the number of lives that he has touched and saved.


COMBAT VETERAN'S GROUP, INC Officers for 1997 by tbass

Coordinator:
B. P. Martineau, MD MS


President:
Mike Lewis


2nd President:
Gus Allbriton


Vice President:
Robert Graham


2nd Vice President:
James "T." Bass


Trustees:
John Stanford;
Clyde Ellerbee, Jr.;
Bennie Patton;
Joe Dillard;
Scotty Aycock


Secretary:
Richard Dixon;
Mack Harbuck;
Richard O'Mary, Jr.


Treasurer:
Ed Hawk


Sergeant-of-Arms:
Travis A. Corbett;
Joe Paulk


Membership and Case Assist:
Allen Lewis;
Henry Williams;
Joe Dillard


Coffee Committee Chairman:
Louis Peebles


As we heard at the first meeting of the year, 970106, this slate may change somewhat as Mike Lewis, our CVGs President has had serious medical problems over the Christmas Holidays. We, the officers of CVG have decided to proceed slowly and wait until we have more conclusive information on Mikes condition before proceeding with any more than temporary changes.


COORDINATOR'S COMMENT : Vets Creating A New Future For Themselves by Bolivar P. Martineau, MD MS

"The Times They Are A' Changin'," the song says. The times have always been changing for that is a basic law of nature. Congress, the Federal government, and the Veterans Administration find themselves in the middle of these changes. The decision makers are approaching these changes with a "bottom line" mentality with the VA and the veteran.

We hear of "Down Sizing," or "Right Sizing." We hear of "Doing More With Less," "Being Cost Effective," and "Quality Of Care." Then there is "Product Line," "Primary Care," "Inter-Qual," and "Managed Care." We, also, hear of the "Drive To Hold Cost Down," and the "March Toward Capitation," where economic factors may become the over riding concern of medical practice. We are told that the VA must change, to become more efficient, competitive, re-engineered into a more manageable form. Undoubtedly these are all practical, pragmatic, and worthwhile considerations. These ideas seem necessary in these turbulent times if the VA is to survive; that is if the VA is to continue to help the veteran and their family.

However, behind these numbers, statistics, and economic incentives there are human faces and human hearts. It is the face and heart of a veteran who fought for his country. It is the image of the blood, sweat, and tears of men in combat.

We must, therefore, be careful of using a "one size fits all" approach. We must tailor our treatment to fit the veteran's medical and psycho-social needs. In short, we must be careful when applying "Ockham's Razor to Plato's Beard." The veteran deserves better.

"Downsizing" or "Right Sizing" is a worthwhile goal, but this must not become, as in the business world where thousands have been traumatized in the search of profits, "Wrong Sizing." If the VA uses the business world as its role model then it should, also, follow John Wanamaker's motto, "The Customer Is Always Right."

The VA the Customer is the Veteran and the "Bottom Line" must be the Veteran's Satisfaction. Therefore, if veterans get involved and stay involved, a veteran can become the decision maker of the necessary changes to come. He can say, "Yea, or Nay," to these changes, thus becoming the final arbitrator of the healthcare system that exist solely to help the veteran and their family. But the veteran must become involved in the creation of the new VA health system. To help the VA re-create itself, the veteran must be an active participant in a socially acceptable manner. The veteran must become a partner with the medical and administrative branches of this system. The veteran must help create a New Vision of the VA, Itself, like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes of its old self.


AN ADDED NOTE FROM THE EDITOR by tbass


Are any of you guys computer users?

Are any of you on the Internet?

If the answer to these questions is, 'Yes then how about dropping me an e-mail message at tbass@sowega.net.

There are many Veteran Websites on the Internet and if you are not aware of them I would like to point you towards these sites.

Also, there are a couple of Mailing List which you need to be aware of. I have been involved with a List for several years and can guide you into the use of this medium. I would be glad to help you get up to snuff on this technology if you need help. Just let me know.