Posted on Feb 7, 2014
Maj Chris Nelson
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I would like to know thoughts and feelings as they pertain to movies and deployment/combat experience.  I remember as a teen when the movie "Platoon" came out, there was some public alarm related to PTSD flair ups with Vietnam Vets... We have now been involved in Deployment/Combat operations for over 12 years, many of us have deployed one or more times to these operations.  Do you have any problems watching some of these movies?  Have problems with certain types of scenes within the movie? Force yourself to go see it because "I'm a military guy and have to like it"?  Thoughts? Feelings? 


 


To start this off, these action adventure combat movies used to be my favorite type of movie.  I have deployed to Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Have not been involved in direct combat, but as a nurse have seen way too much mayham come through the hospital.  I now have almost no interest in these types of movies...they look good in the trailers, but I do not like how I feel coming out of the theater with these movies.  i have not been diagnosed with PTSD, but suspect that I have at least some...  Anyone else with some thoughts or feelings on this topic?


 

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SFC James Baber
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I enjoy many genre's when it comes to movies, but I also like to see movies based on events that I have been involved or a part of, during my career I have been deployed to what is classified as combat 9 times, so some movies did the times and events justice, but others were complete garbage.


My father was a Vietnam vet, so We Were Soldiers, I think did a good job for the portrayal of the time. I think Jarhead was a complete joke for what I saw and experienced in Desert Storm. Black Hawk Down was very good for my comrades and what happened with them and us during the conflicts involved. Movies like Lone Survivor and The Kingdom have stirred up memories that cause me to get emotional during the movie and while a good portion of the movie has been hollywoodized, it is still reality for me and things I have experienced from those deployments involved. And being a PTSD sufferer, these type movies probably aren't the best for me, but I wish to see how my fellow SMs have been portrayed and represented honorably and correctly.


I am a big WWII addict, so many of the great WWII movies of yesteryear are always my favorite to begin with. While many movies are given the Hollywood twist to them I still enjoy the storyline behind many and enjoy them if they are done tastefully with some mild freedom of thought utilized.

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Maj Chris Nelson
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So, interestingly enough, I have had this one out there for about a week....and received 1 reply.  The nurse/healthcare professional and military member in me tells me that there may be a couple reasons for this:


1.  PTST is not a topic that anyone wants to discuss...especially if it involves yourself.  Bottle it up...it shows weakness.  False: it shows you are a human that is responding normally to an abnormal situation. Continued lack of care results in less normal responses to normal triggers related to abnormal situations in the past.


2. Nobody on this site has deployed, so has no real thought on this.....come on...I REALLY don't believe this!


This is one of those topics that is creating issues throughout the nation...in the military AND out of the military (guess where you go when you separate out/retire??).  Mental health has always been the "forbidden topic"....There has always been the perception that "if I go seeking Mental Health assistance, I will get kicked out".  This is just not true in most cases (can't say all because there are some conditions that are not compatible with military lifestyle/duties).  This unwillingness to discuss mental health does nothing to address a growing issue... Sometimes small things like movies, sounds, smells, actions by others....you name it, can cause momentary setbacks....maybe making a person 'on edge' or 'uncomfortable', up to the level of 'unable to care for self' or 'violence to self or others'. 


In my case, some movies cause me to become uncomfortable...there are also some smells that will cause me anxiety....oil refinery (I was in Desert Storm with the burning oil wells and was under some stress), the smell of burning or burnt flesh (I am a nurse, but that is one smell that will get me almost every time).....Fireworks on 4th July (self-explanatory!).  I enjoy hunting and shooting sports....gun fire, in some situations does not bother me, in others I get edgy.....


Without discussion and acknowledgement, these issues will not resolve themselves.  The VA is limited as is the civilian sector to help.  Sometimes, open frank discussions will help resolve, or at least identify concerns.



 

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CPT Multifunctional Logistician
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Sir, in my opinion some movies are really good and some are just plain awful!  I thought Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers were absolutely outstanding movies.  I base this on the fact that the politics behind the conflict were subdued and the focus was on the Soldiers fighting for each other.  There was nothing really glorified about their exploits and those two movies stuck as close to reality as they could.

 

Two movies that I thought were just awful were The Hurt Locker and Green Zone.  The Hurt Locker portrayed EOD Tecs as adrenalyne junkies who enjoyed taking stupid risks and putting themselves in harms way.  The part where the main character takes off into Baghdad Rambo style in the middle of the night was just rediculous.  The Green Zone portrayed US Soldiers as pawns to the politicians and spies, to the point of the main character fighting a rogue SF Soldier.   

 

I have deployed also and thankfully both myself and my Soldiers returned without having to witness or participate in too much chaos, but I think Hollywood's version of war is a long way off from the reality of it.  The movies that try to portray war accurately I like, the movies that try to send some sort of message about the politics of war I find somewhat frustrating.  Just my humble opinion.

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