PTSD Is Not an Excuse

After watching the painful example of Sarah Palin’s rambling speech, I was mesmerized to hear about the struggles of her son Track Palin. It seems, much like my fellow brothers and sisters in arms, he too fought the good fight, and came back just a little bit different. Except maybe he didn’t – perform either.

Sarah’s comments were rather clear on the matter. “My son, a combat vet having served in a Stryker brigade fighting for you all, America, in the war zone. It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to question, have to wonder if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top … the question, though, that comes from our own president where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through?”

According to his DD214 released internet-wide, Track Palin joined the military in late 2007 and served for two years, including an overseas tour in Iraq with the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker). During his service he received medals to include an Army Commendation Medal (1OLC), Global War On Terror Service Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star. What he did not receive was a Combat Infantryman Badge or a Purple Heart.

Track Palin
Track Palin

Now we are splitting hairs to talk semantics here, but the difference between a veteran and a combat veteran is clearly stated on the Veteran Affairs webpage. It states that “veterans, including activated Reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.”

So, first and foremost, let’s be fair. Even without a CIB or Purple Heart, Track is still legitimately a combat veteran. Now onto the discussion of PTSD. Should PTSD be used to justify a man who punches a woman in the face, kicks her in the knee, and then points a weapon at her before threatening to kill himself? The statement seems so ludicrous that asking is almost comical. PTSD causes different reactions in different people, but the thought that it justifies domestic violence is awkward at best, downright embarrassing at worst.

Further, the thought that it is somehow the fault of the President for not instilling enough confidence in the soldiers, and therefore, doubting his appreciation of their sacrifices, they are forced to commit crimes against loved ones is just plain sad.

As a combat veteran with multiple deployments under his belt, and who suffers through, deals with, and lives through the effects of PTSD daily, allow me to be the first to say that these actions are without justification. We all suffer through our loss, regrets, mistakes, and actions. We do not politicize the discussion to justify misconduct in the name of a political election sound bite.

Sarah Palin’s comments, and her son’s actions, were a disservice to themselves that day. It would have been far better to recognize that her son needs to recognize the criminality of his actions and quite possibly, needs the family to support him in the process.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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2 thoughts on “PTSD Is Not an Excuse

  1. Kyle, you are a very accomplished individual judging by your Officer status and multiple advanced degrees. Your achievement motor is bigger than many. I’m not sure it’s fair to judge that Palin’s domestic incident is not a function of PTSD or other factors affecting enlisted persons coming home and re-orienting to civilian life. But I do agree that he has to own up to the criminality of the incident anyway. You see, I started out as an enlisted guy in the Air Force and later went to Officer Candidate School and received a commission. I also graduated from Air Force Pilot Training. I can tell you that the whole process of psychological indoctrination is entirely different. As an officer candidate, my self esteem was nurtured because they told me how special I was. As a pilot, that self esteem was magnified even more. What I am saying is that my resilience was strengthened as an Officer so I think I was more immune from feelings of powerlessness and other things. Enlisted people are now training in resilience and hopefully that will help more guys who go thru the hell that is deployment and combat.

  2. The thing is, I could care less what Palin said. So, she made a mistake. It’s really not that big of a deal. Much, much worse has been said that was a much larger disservice to the military than anything she said.

    So, if PTSD is not an excuse when it comes to domestic violence, when is it a good excuse? I agree that it should never be used as an excuse. But, the problem is most veterans use it as a justifiable excuse for everything and all of the time.

    I think we need to look at the bigger picture here, and not worry about what politicians have to say on the matter. Truthfully, most of them do not care about us anyway. So, let’s not make it about them by targeting them, when it’s really on us.

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