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Eagle Operation Family
Family & Friends of American PTSD Veterans
"A nation-wide collective
of individuals and families
dedicated to quality
treatment for all Veterans
and their families"

New Beginnings...Veterans Sound Off!

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not;
and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad."

...Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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This happened to me...
A horse has a blind spot directly in front of him, and that's why he moves his head from side to side slighty as he walks. He doesn't know he has the blind spot. He also has independent vision in the lower portion of each eye-his near vision- and not only can he see the rider on his back as he walks, but his own feet and to each side as well. His eyes give his brain three images--an image from each of his eyes in his near vision, and a composite image from both of his eyes in his binocular vision. His eyes don't see as many colors as do ours, and their resolution isn't quite as good as ours, but he's real good at detecting movement. His ears feed his brain more info than our ears do, and he swivels them to the slightest sound. We turn to look when something catches our atttention, he just turns an ear, and his ear tells hime exactly the direction the sound is coming from. Horses can "look" in two directions at the same time, using their ears.

I was working a new horse for a pack station, preparing him to use as a packer's horse. He'd been green broke, then used as a packhorse for a season. He was good on rocks and rough terrain, but-having been in the middle of a pack string, his view was always blocked by his load and the animals in front of him-he had no visual experience in the back country. One morning I packed and strung up some mules, mounted the horse, and took off to pick up some dudes scheduled to come out of the back country. I'd used this horse to take them out, and didn't figure on having problems.

That year several large trees had been blown down across one section of trail by winter storms, and I'd had to figure a way to get around them. No problem in this case, just bust a little brush. The horse had done fine on the previous trip, and was as good a brush crasher as I'd ever ridden. Well, this time, when I got to the fallen trees, I discovered that the Forest Service finally had gotten around to cutting out portions of the trees that blocked the trail, leaving the rest of each tree where it lay, on both sides of the trail. I thought, cool, no brushy goarounds to mess with this time.

As we approached the first tree I stopped and turned to look at the mule's packs, to make sure everthing was okay, then, gigged my horse and told him to go ahead.

He wouldn't move. He was staring at the log across the trail with his front vision, and I knew right away that he couldn't see the gap in the log. When I turned his head a little so he could see the gap, he started shaking. His eyes had just told his brain two different things, and he believed them both. Head forward, no gap, head to the side, a gap. We did this a few times, but it didn't help.

I gave him a cue to step forward slightly, and he carefully approached the log, still comparing the two images he was getting, and shaking in confusion-he was upset that I'd given him a cue that he didn't think he could execute; if it were up to him, he'd have just walked around the log, the way we'd gone a few days before.

My heart went out to him because he was trying to do what I wanted, but it was clear to him that I was telling him to do something he wasn't capable of doing.

I urged him gently to the log, to let him feel for it with his chest. When he couldn't feel it, he stepped through it. Well he hopped through it. There were four or five more blowdowns to handle. We did each one the same way, because as far as he was concerned his eyes were telling him the truth--even though his two visions disagreed--but there was some magic about the blowdowns that he couldn't understand. After the first couple of logs, I let him pause, then cued him through, and he trusted me to sort out the confused images he was getting. On the way back in the next day, he signaled me for instruction when we got to the blowdowns, but he walked right through them when I told him to go ahead.

I know more about horses and mules than I know about people, so that's why I'm writing this. I could have beaten that poor bastard when he first refused to step through the gap, but I understood that he was not simply disobeying me. If I had beaten him I would have destroyed his trust in me. If I had beaten him it would have been because I was pissed off that a mere animal dared to disobey me. I would have been pissed off because, if he disobeyed me on some of those trails, he might have gotten me killed. In short, I would have been pissed off because I was afraid. I would have gone through all that because of things in me, not realizing what was going on with the horse, and I might have ruined the horse in the process.

One of the things I really hated to see was when hard-headed wranglers kicked the shit out of their horses just because they ran out of ideas about how to train them. Handling horses and mules has gone a long way in taking the arrogance out of my fears. Good luck on figuring how all that fits into anything else we have in common, it's the best I can do just now.

...Mark Carter    all rights reserved by author, copyright 1998

My Unit -- 'B' Battery 2nd LAAM MAG 15me frame
Spring & Summer, 1968
Mark H. Gallant!

One morning in the chow line, our company mascot, a monkey that had a shaved head by it's former owners, RANGERS, reached for an orange in my fruit bowl that I always had set up for the men. I slapped his hand.

Now if you think elephants don't forget... About one week later the monkey saw me going into the shower, which was in the center of the compound. He untied himself from his leash and hauled butt to the shower; opened the door and SCREAMED at me. The only way I could get past him was to turn on each successive showerhead as I made my way toward the door. I had to point the last showerhead at the door and make my escape, but the monkey took to the rafters and opened the door from the top and ran after me.

Someone yelled at me and I took my towel off and flicked it at the monkey. He grabbed it and I had to make my way towards the hooch with the monkey holding on to the towel while I was twirling it above my head.

Half of the 110 men in the Battery were rolling on the ground laughing their asses off because I was stark naked twirling the monkey above my head walking towards the hooch. I figured the only way I was going to get into the hooch was to let the towel go, so I swung it real hard like a bullwhip and let it go when I was about ten feet from the hooch.

I was later told it was the first time anyone had ever really seen a Tasmanian devil; that damn ape ran towards me so fast that they could not see his legs move. He was just a blur in a cloud of dust. When I reached the door I turned to flip him off.

The doc said if the monkey had jumped and bitten me any higher I would not have been able to father any children.

copyright 1998 - Mark H. Gallant

Happier days
with the

Pregnant Belly     


I have walked the walk,
Now I can talk the talk.
Just let it out and feel the pain,
Maybe it won't come back again.

It's post traumatic stress they say,
What do I feel they want to know.
How can I tell them in my own way,
I just can't fight it another day.

Post traumatic stress disorder,
Its pain and suffering I can no longer stand.
My life is a mess and nobody cares.

My wife and son just don't understand,
I may as well be back in that foreign land.
That horrible land they call Viet Nam.

I have heard of a program that will help me to find,
Away to smile and not look behind.
They won't put my back against the wall.
They all know I have given my all.

I know I can get better if I just let them work.
I promise I won't clam up and shirk.
For now it's time that I went to work.
So here's to the staff and my fellow vets,
Let's deal with the past and put it away.
Let's look to the future for a bright new day.
God Bless You All.
H.G. "Hank" Baisden
PTSU Nov. 1993

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