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A Rarity: General Speaks Candidly About His Own PTSD

Maj. Gen. David Blackledge - commander of the Army's Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command - is doing something that is very rare for such a high-ranking soldier: he is speaking out publicly about his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to let other warriors know their reactions to combat are normal. I would love to hear from military members and their families out there about this. How rare is this? Are you surprised that this man is speaking out? Do you know of others of his rank who are?

Very few top military brass talk about such things. They are expected to be stoic, strong. But after nearly losing his life twice during consecutive deployments in Iraq, including the invasion in 2003, and his near-death experience from a suicide bomber, he bravely decided after a few years of therapy to open up in an effort to erase some of the stigma that still lingers when it comes to PTSD and the psychological wounds of war. The suicide bomber killed dozens and wounded hundreds, and Blackledge had a whiplash-type injury that took months to heal. But the psychological wounds took much longer and, while he is doing well, still linger.

He tells John Ramsey with the Fay Observer.