In 2007 I returned from a 16-month tour in Iraq, where I served as a US Army Infantryman with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, first in Mosul, then Baghdad, Iraq.
While overseas I participated in more than 100 combat missions. My roles ranged from mounted patrols as a Humvee gunner, to serving on the personal security team for Col. John Norris, then battalion commander of the 4th Brigade 23rd Infantry Regiment.
I survived improvised explosive attacks, mortar strikes, and small arms contacts. When I returned I advised by the Veterans Administration, that I displayed indications of possible Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, known as Survivors Guilt
I confidently pursued a career as a municipal police officer, long a personal dream. Within several years, cumulative stress from police work and the effects of my untreated survivors guilt, weighed heavily on me. I was eventually deemed medically unfit for duty bas…