In our first conversation, Coming Home: Veterans Readjusting to Civilian Life, our contributors — including veterans, family members of veterans and members of organizations that support veterans — share their own stories, offer insights on the challenges facing returning veterans, and provide tips and resources on the kinds of support that families, friends and communities can offer veterans.
Returning from war is one of the hardest adjustments a veteran must make, second only to combat. Physical and psychological wounds, emotional distress and spiritual tumult can all pose enormous obstacles during reintegration to civil society. Since the effects of war are many and unique to each service member, the government and public sector, communities as well as families, need to become more aware if we are to better care for our millions of veterans.
As a 17-year veteran of the Army, I served in the ranks of both the enlisted and officer corps. I served two combat tours in Iraq, sustained a number of wounds and injuries, dealt with divorce, and over the past two years since departing the military, like many other veterans, I've faced many problems with VA healthcare, disability and educational entitlements, and a myriad of problems associated with transitioning out of the war zone and into civilian life.
It is my hope that through PBS's Point of View (POV), a number of us can express our experiences to share the ups and downs, the good and the bad so that we may all benefit from one another. I will write regularly and reply to your comments to the best of my ability. After all, we owe it ourselves to help one another...as brothers and sisters in the fraternity of service to the nation.
Yours in fellowship,
Former Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, USA
Iraq Veteran and journalist. On being a veteran with disability issues.