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A Moderate Point of View: Old Soldiers Never Die...But Young Soldiers Die Too Soon! Iraq War takes another Wounded Warrior!! PTSD is Real!!

Controversial Content
Added: Sunday, February 10th 2019 at 2:21am by AMODPOVW
Category: News & Issues
Related Tags: military
 
 
 

PERSONAL OPINION/COMMENTARY:

Last week I got the word that one of my dearest friends....an amazing young soldier that I had helped just before retiring from the Military, had passed away!  Her name was Saidet Lanier and I had mentioned her in Post here at Blogster before!  Saidet was only 47 years old!!

Saidet was introduced to me while I was serving in the Military District of Washington.  She was a 19 year old Divorcee with two children from Stone Hill North Carolina, that for all practical purposes should not have been allowed into the Military, but she had overcome all odds and was standing in front of me asking for help in getting reclassified so that she could become an Operating Room Nurse.  Most people considered this to be an near impossible task, because it required her to do excessive study and retesting....but after 11 months of hard work...she reclassified!

Her story could have been considered a success story at that point....she had overcome impossible odds to get into the Military and now she was being retrained and reassigned to Fort Hood Texas as an OR Nurse!

But Tragedy struck this young soldier...as on the way to her new Duty Station with her Children in tow....somewhere in South Carolina some teenagers decided to fire 5 shots into her car as it sat along the side of the road...one of the bullets hit her oldest daughter in the head causing permanent brain damage.  The Army Community came to her rescue and stood beside her through those trying times helping her with Duty Assignments and Healthcare needs.  But I could see the cracks start to show in what had been this unshakeable determination to succeed.  Saidet was starting to feel life's pressure, she started to drink a little too much.  When she was reassigned to Walter Reed Army Hospital in DC we reconnected.  My son would often babysit for her when she had late duty hours.

When she was assigned to Ft. Stewart in Georgia we remained in contact with each other, and then 9/11 occurred!  It was clear that she was going to Iraq, but we just did not know when.  She could have taken a hardship out because of her daughter, but that was not Saidet...so when her unit deployed to Iraq she deployed also.

I had lost track of her for a brief period, then one night while watching the HBO Special "Baghdad ER"....there she was, in living color, Sgt. Saidet Lanier!  But there was something different about this version of Saidet....the eyes, the tone of voice....it was clear that things were starting to close in on her.  The army gives a warning to any Vets who propose to watch "Baghdad ER"...they tell you that viewing it could cause PTSD.   The only single clip of Saidets part in the documentary is preserved on Youtube in "Russian"...but I provide it here so that you can see her face....her eyes.

The last time I physically saw Saidet was in 2006 (we talked at least 3 times a year since then), she was assigned again to Walter Reed, but this time for "Medical Hold".....in short, she was being Medically Discharged.  She was broken and she knew it.  The drinking had gotten out of control and the nightmares of both the night her daughter was shot and her time in Iraq would come more and more often.  Therapy was not working because it required her to open some doors from her teen years that she did not want to open....and the Meds were not the answer either.  

She loved my son and when at Walter Reed would let him spend some time with her....she did not drink as much when he was around.  She retired to Stone Hill not long after her discharge, but would often engage in activity that was not considered...safe.  She purchased a Harley and loved to ride at high speed.  Shortly after my son passed away in 2008, Saidet had her first stroke!  Alcohol and other behavior that was not conducive to good health were the cause.  But it never held her back.  

Saidet's proudest moments were when both of her daughters (even the handicap one) were married.  She had three grandchildren and even got married a few years ago, but our conversations often went back to that night in South Carolina and those days in Baghdad.  We had often talked about my Brother and the fact that he never left Viet Nam....and her greatest fear was that she would never leave Baghdad!

The drinking slowed but never stopped, and the damage was clearly already done!  The diagnosis was a massive Stroke....but those of us who knew her understood that her PTSD was real....and although she appeared to many to be normal....she wasn't.

We need to pay a lot more attention to our Wounded Warriors....and remember that not all of them have physical scares!!!   PTSD is real and it will kill a young soldier as sure as a battlefield wound!

RIP Saidet Lanier....you were an amazing person!!

User Comments

Awww, winning, I am sorry for your loss, and America's too.

May flights of angels carry her to her...hard earned...rest.

:(

5 stars for this moving tribute, too.  I really felt like I knew her.

Imper....she was a truly wonderful person who carried far more burdens than the average 19, 20 or 30 year old carried...but the Iraq War burden was just too great!

Thanks for commenting!{#basic-frown.gif}

 

{#friend.gif}

Her story touched my heart. May her accomplishments in life & her ability to conquer other difficulties be her legacy. Her life story should be an inspiration and the fact that she suffered PTSD be a life lesson for all. We need to find better ways to help our Vets work through this awful aftermath of life in the military. 

Winning: do you even know how many suicides of Vets are now attributed to PTSD of is it not clear?

PSI started to watch the video then had to close it. I will trust that you could see the difference in Saidet's demeanor and eyes.

Hershey on the Video I understand....its strange that clip was the only one the russians set aside!!  Again the entire documentary is available, but it is rough!

Hershey here are the horrifying stats as it relates to PTSD...and its horrifying as far as I am concerned!

Only 15% of Viet Nam Vets were considered to have PTSD...and that was of course because we as a Nation were in denial!!  That figure changed the further we moved from the Viet Nam era, therefore it would be safe to attribute suicide statistics at the same rate (15%).

Today as the definition of PTSD has expanded, recent stats show that upwards of 67% of Army personnel suffer from PTSD and as a result you could assume that 67% is the baseline suicide figure...but I totally disagree with that assumption.

In 2007 we were have an estimated 18 suicides a year....now its up to 22 a day!!!!!  Of course Alcoholism and Drug abuse are causes of sucide....but we need to be aware that sometimes the PTSD of the Veteran is the cause of that other abuse.

Its a tough issue Hershey, and sorry for my rant, but I have been fighting the PTSD battle for more than 50 years...with my brother....and although Saidet does not go down as a suicide statistic....you had to know her personally to know about the chronic behavior that contributed to her poor health.

My closes Military friend is in his 70's now....has had 2 severe strokes and is still kicking!!  He is a Viet Nam Vet and gave us an excellent gauge for my brother.  My Brother in Law deployed in Desert storm is in his 60's has had two strokes and clearly had health and drinking problems after his deployment, but is still her!

This Kid (Saidet) joined just around Desert Storm...and is gone.  In the past, the Military would have tried to claim that she had "Pre-Service" Syptoms and as a result denied her Mental Health Services.  Its clear we are getting better...but not fast enough in my opinion!

P.S. ({#basic-laugh.gif}) TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury is the other category that is receiving some attention as it relates to Suicide and Mental Heath services!

Thanks for your detailed explanation, Winning. With substance abuse, multiple problems and stress, it's understandable why she suffered a stroke as you mentioned. Like you I have a few friends who returned from Viet Nam changed forever. One knew he had psychological problems but when he first went to the VA hospital it was not tagged as PTSD. Now he & my other friend are receiving the type treatment they deserve.

The stats are horrendous. We have a great deal to do to improve the lives of those suffering. Stay involved as we/they need men/ or women like you championing this cause. 

God Bless you and the work you're doing, Winning.

{#floating.gif}

Your tribute to her was heartfelt. After I read this, I was reading my Smithsonian Magazine. They have an educational & enlightening article this Month about the lingering effects to dogs that are now retired from the Military. Special care is required to help those incredible K-9's adapt to civilian life, Winning.

Hershey I did not see the article....but heard about some of the work being done in that area!!

I am working on a piece about why our society seems to be suffering with so many Mental Health issues....compared to other like societies.  Still searching for a few more stats...before I Post it.  I am going to tie PTSD into the Post!

I will search out that SM article....thanks!{#basic-laugh.gif}

YW. Those type things interest me along with the piece on PTSD in the K-9's. There was a local Dr. working at the VA hospital near me that was tying the link of Agent Orange to symptoms in Vets. Her theories were dismissed by other researchers & Dr's for years. Her theories have now been proven to be correct.

 

OMG!!!  You are so right about the Agent Orange studies!!!  My 70 year old buddy...the one I mentioned earlier finally benefitted from the acceptance of some of the theories surrounding that type of research!! {#basic-laugh.gif}

 

Thanks Hershey....will do!!{#basic-laugh.gif}

***edit:  PS. not PSI if you had trouble figuring out what I meant to write.

Why do people destroy precious life so easily?

Maybe they don't value their own lives so much.

A lot of us truly understand the value of many of the people directly around us. But, if we don't endorse those others who are more apart from us, then maybe, we've absolved ourselves prematurely from a responsability that we should still have. 

I do believe that every single demon in our societies has somehow been created in our own name has been of our own causing. 

The vulnerable are innocent. The powerful are to be dreaded.

The former should be loved. The latter, smited down. Whatever of the Estates they may be.

Totally agree with Hershey's comment Oakie!!!!!!!

You in one very brief comment captured the story of this child's life.

Throw away at a young age (early teens)...she rose to overcome that!

Misused by an Army Recruiter (gave her something she did not want)...she rose to overcome that!

Fired upon by total strangers for no reason (wounded her daughter)...she rose above that!

Went to a War Zone when she did not have to because of her compassion for others and was damaged because of it....and from this she rose!!{#basic-frown.gif}

She was innocent and very vulnerable at each of those crossroads in her life and she was failed by those who held the power over her each and everytime!

Saint Thomas Aquinas would be proud of you Oakie!!!{#basic-laugh.gif}

Meant to say she did not rise from being sent to the warzone!

{#basic-laugh.gif}

Honour is a wonderful, precious and rare thing. And that lady seemed to have it in abundance. But a wound to a loved one is a wound that the heart can't take. No matter how strong a heart.

PTSD is something I have a very limited experience of. But I have seen in it the power to destroy strong individuals. 

Aristotle is my favourite philosopher. And Alex the Great's too. I wonder what Jesus would have made of him, and what he would have made of Jesus.

I think they'd have become chums.

Oakie that wound to the daughter was a long lasting and deep one!  As I mentioned in a comment below to writer, she had asked me to help her write a book about that experience.  She believed that it could be an inspiration to other parents and children who might find themselves in similiar situations...but we did not go forward because to be effective it would have required her to reveal some of herself!

Yeah, I get that! Half of the truth wouldn't be truth enough. 

Unburdoning herself, stripping her defences down, would have benefited her in the long run. But that's a lot easier said than done.

Thanks, Hersh! 

Exactly Oakie!!! :-)

 

Welcome, Oakie. When someone like you contributes to the conversation it makes it worthwhile to spend a little time here. That type dialogue is rare at times on the net.

AMOD sets the standard though. He is fearless.

He counter-balalances, provides a functional platform.

Yes, he does & I know when I come here he won't make me feel like an idiot even if I write a comment that shows my lack of understanding of the subject.

How's the weather been over there this Winter, Oakie?  We're getting another major snowstorm. I feel like I've been supporting the guy who plows my driveway this year...geez. I used to do it myself with a Snow Blower but stopped when it got too hard for me.

AMOD is the ultimate Blogster humanist.

We've had some evil cold, but its easing off, hope your driveway plough guy deserves the custom!

Very sad when someone fights to push though hardships, eeem to finally break because thee are just too many such hardships and the odds are "stacked against them".

So sorry for your loss.

SFTL I have known many people in my life who had hardships that they had to fight through....and I saw many faulter long before this child did!!

She was an amazing kid and her two daughters can be her legacy!{#basic-laugh.gif}

Amod, how many times do inspirational parents have that "knock on" effect on their kids? Extraordinary parents tend to produce extraordinary offspring. Your friend will absolutely live on in her daughters. 

We only die, when those we have loved die also.

{#apploud.gif}{#apploud.gif}

So true Oakie....oh so true!!

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful tribute Winning. I wish I had some ways or means of helping people in those situations. Such a colorful life though.

writer...talking of colorful lives, this child really lived one! {#basic-ohsnap.gif}{#basic-mouth-shut.gif}

A few years ago she asked me to help her write her story....she wanted to focus almost the entire work around her handicap daughter and the herculean effort it took to bring that child to where she is today.

We started doing an outline and Saidet suddenly realized that she could not tell her daughters story without telling her own.....and she was ready to do that.  Now, I wish I had pressed her a bit more, but I am doing a revision to one of my early pieces...a Treatise entitled "Seeking Mr. Boaz"....I am going to dedicate an entire chapter to her!{#basic-frown.gif}

 

Meant she was not ready to tell her own story!!

I hope to read it. I enjoy your writings. I just finished my latest book, "An Unlikely CEO." It's about the first Black female CEO in the Ice Cream/ Dairy Business. Her name is Jolyn Robichaux. You can google her some time.

Great!! I will do that!

I finally finished the Novel.....Martin will be happy, took me 4 years...waiting for the Editors Cut before I announce it complete! {#basic-laugh.gif}

Which novel you worked on?

A Historical Fiction about the real life Medevil African Christian Kingdom of Old Nubia (Makuria)!

I started research and work on it about 4 years ago.  Did an initial "Pilot" piece and then went to work on the body of the project.  Found out the hard way that writing a Novel (Fiction) is hard work...for me anyway! 

Martin gave me some good advice early on, he told me to remember that all stories have a beginning and a ending!!  It was easy to find the beginning, but like I said it took me 4 years and 405 pages to find the ending!{#basic-laugh.gif}

Cool. 405 pages is a lot. I try to stop at 200.

Martin told me the same thing!!!!{#basic-laugh.gif}

But the story just kept going and going....and although it was fiction...I was trying to give it a proper historical reference....guess I got carried away!!!{#bag-on-head.gif}

It happens.

We need as Americans to realize what politics is doing to these brave people that offer up their lives so we can bitch, complain, whine and then blame someone else for what is wrong in this land... I say look in the mirror.... God bless this woman and all of the others that do what others will not do. I just want to cry!

Thanks for your comments Tess!!{#basic-laugh.gif}

Glad to see this touching post finally get some attention.

Well done, winning.

Thanks Imper....I was glad also!{#basic-laugh.gif}

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