PTSD and Memories

Posted on October 15, 2010


If you had read my story about Mission Number 3 when I first wrote it and then again in the last few day you will discover a different ending to the story. For over 40 years, I have believed that as the mission was winding down myself and Bob Fellin were hoisted off the jungle floor via a Jungle penetrator. A jungle Penetrator is a steel three prong seat attached to a cable attached to a hoist attached to a helicopter. This apparatus moved very slowly. Bob and I had just sent five severely wounded men and one that was dead up to the chopper. This took over two hours because the helicopter took the five wounded to the hospital and then came back.

I have told anyone who would listen just how scared I was going up on that penetrator. I just knew that Charlie was down there and he was zeroing in on me and I’d be dead any minute now. I had always praise Bob for telling me to go up before him. To me this was one of the scariest things that ever happened.

October 7th-10th of this year I met Bob Fellin for the first time in 42 years. He brought a photo book with him. I talked to him  about that day. I told him how thankful I was the he allowed me to go up first. He looked at me and said that never happened. He said the enemy was starting to move in so they dropped down ropes and harnesses and we were slung out of there under the chopper. I thought man this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. Then he showed me the picture that someone took of him and I attached by rope to the bottom of the chopper flying through the air.

Now I have to believe it. Eight days have gone by since Bob told me that. Eight days and I still cannot remember that happening. PTSD allows you to take some things that happened to you and put them in a part of your mind and locking them away until you can deal with them. I guess I still can’t deal with it because to me it still isn’t real even though I have seen the proof. I know I am terrified of heights and maybe this has something to do with it. If it is terrifying as I think it is, I hope I never remember.

   This a Jungle Penetrator. The third leg is hidden on the back side. 

  This is how we came out that day.