Good News...Bad News...
Me, Chance & Sikora with one of the platoon's captured Iraqi T-72 tanks
After a couple of e-mails I mentioned a friend of ours, Kelley, as being one of the last people I had been in touch with from our old platoon. Unfortunately during one of Mark's searches on the Internet he had also recently learned that Adam Kelley committed suicide...
Sikora & Kelley with some Iraqi kids during Operation Provide Comfort
According to the article he had survived the Persian Gulf War but not the aftermath of his combat experience while engaging elements of the Tawakkulna division of the Iraqi Republican Guard. The mental trauma of post-traumatic stress disorder eventually did him in.
The article is very moving and mentions an account of one of the incidents that really troubled Kelley - when he watched our friend, Swano, die. All the times Kelley and I had talked and I never knew that he had witnessed that particular event. We had been on opposite ends of the battlefield when it happened. It's a very graphic account and I had a hard time reading about it. Swano was a good friend and my roommate while we were stationed in Germany. Kelley was a gentle and soft spoken guy, but I never realized how bad the war had affected him. I wish Kelley would have spoken with me about it though, perhaps it could have helped...He will be remembered.
I don't often speak about my combat experiences and I don't feel like I have PSTD, but I've had nightmares about things that happened and have felt the regret and loss of loosing a friend in combat. If anyone comes across this blog and needs to talk to someone I'll be happy to listen. I was in the military for ten years and have been on three combat deployments.
I hope that I may be able to get back in touch with others from my old platoon without any more bad news. It's terrible that a veteran of a war felt like he had no other option than suicide.