The Longest Wars
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are two of America’s longest military conflicts, surpassed only by the war in Vietnam. In the 13-year period of our two most recent wars, more than 6600 service members have perished and over 50,000 have been wounded in action. Of those deployed, 28% of the force is comprised of National Guard and Reserve troops, and greater than 15% of the total force have deployed three times or more.
Joe and Earl Granville’s Story
Two weeks before 9/11, close-knit brothers Joe and Earl Granville started basic training in the National Guard, expecting a traditional deployment in domestic disaster relief and other aid efforts. Within a few months they were called up to provide security in Bosnia. In the summer of 2005 the brothers volunteered for service in Iraq, returning home by June of 2006. In that year of conflict, the brothers experienced a level of danger, destruction, and loss that would change their lives and those of their family forever.
By the end of 2007, older brother Joe had a steady job, helping to support his wife and fellow Guard member Stephanie and their two children. Earl struggled to find steady work and decided to volunteer for Afghanistan, deploying in February 2008 to a remote outpost in the Kush Mountains – his third deployment as a Guardsman. Joe was devastated to see Earl off to war, unable to go along and watch out for his little brother this time.
On June 3, 2008, Earl’s Humvee hit an IED, killing two of his fellow soldiers and badly injuring his legs, one of which would be lost. Earl’s difficult recovery, an additional Iraq deployment by Stephanie and the arrival of their third child put enormous stress on Joe, on top of the deeply felt guilt and loss experienced during his first deployment to Iraq.
PTSD’s Inner Struggle
Joe likely suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This serious mental health problem is thought to affect somewhere between 11-20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and generally requires treatment by a trained counselor or therapist.
“National Memorial Day Concert” co-hosts Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise share the story of these twin brothers. Though the acclaimed and award winning actors are reuniting as co-hosts for the eighth time on our 2013 broadcast, this is the first time they have shared a dramatic feature story together. Learn more about these powerful actors’ connection to each other and working together on this concert, as well as their commitment to service members and veterans’ causes.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Multiple deployments, separation from family, severe injury, unemployment, and survivor’s guilt affect many service members and veterans and cause them enormous stress. PTSD is a serious mental health problem thought to affect somewhere between 11-20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and it is often difficult to recognize.
If you have been through a traumatic event and are experiencing sleep, memory, emotional or physical symptoms over an extended period that you think might be related to that trauma, you might be suffering from PTSD. It can be difficult to talk about, but there are good treatments available. Sharing your experiences with a trained doctor, a therapist, or someone who can help you find care is key to helping yourself.
If you are, or know of someone who is, experiencing the symptoms of emotional distress, please reach out to one of the many people and organizations who can help. If the distress leads to thoughts of suicide, immediate help is available. Please explore these useful links in our Healing & Support section to find help and treatment.
The Military and Veterans Crisis Lines connect Service members and Veterans in crisis, and their families and friends, with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat or text. Service members, Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.