This is the first in a series of letters written by a military wives from a group called Battling BARE for BI Military & defence — Smoke Pit. These women are attempting to show that the system set up for PTSD treatment in the military is severely broken. This is Ashley’s first contribution following a story about her that went viral June 26.Hi Everyone,
The international attention that followed sent our small group of wives here at Ft. Campbell called Battling BARE into a spotlight we’d never imagined possible. Most of you probably haven’t heard of me. A small paper here in Clarksville, TN wrote the story about my family’s struggle with the Army and its handling of my husband’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) this week.
Photo: Ashley Wise Battling BARE
We went from a handful of us last week pushing for someone to listen, to receiving a call from Glenn Beck after the story was published at Business Insider Military & defence — we’re determined to keep that momentum going.
I’m taking this opportunity to offer a bit about myself and ask other military spouses who are helping their husbands with PTSD, to join me in telling their stories that I will contribute here and post on Battling BARE, to highlight the changes that need to be made.
My husband Rob kicked in many doors during company level operations with Bobby Bales when we were stationed at Fort Lewis together, and we all know how the experience affected Bobby and his alleged March shooting spree in Afghanistan. I mention this because my fellow Army wives and I saw that and it changed the way we looked at everything.
That showed what could happen when our husbands’ units didn’t listen and drove them back into deployments when they simply weren’t up to the task. We’ve all seen men break, and we’re all trying to hold things together in whatever way we can.
I have gone through my own painful crisis with Rob, the Army mental health system, and Family Advocacy that’s briefly summed up here. What I’d like to do next is invite you — whether you are a wife, husband, mother, father, son, or daughter; your story needs to be heard, so that top levels will understand my story isn’t unique. Being an American isn’t a requirement to share your story either. Stories have been shared from all over the world already—and we just want to keep the lines of communication open.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with the commanding general and his staff here at Fort Campbell regarding the care of my husband. Rob was supposed to be away at temporary duty (TDY) for 6 months, but the decision was made at the top to bring him back to receive care by the best Fort Campbell has to offer.
I was assured this is not preferential treatment—that the top levels wanted all service members to receive the very best care.
Just because I got national attention doesn’t mean I should be special.
From the very beginning of the Battling BARE campaign, I’ve said my story wasn’t unique. In fact, I really don’t think that my story is unique, especially since no one was hurt. Those are the stories that scare me, but everyone has a right to be heard. So, I am asking that you write a letter.
Please send them not only to Battling BARE, but also send them to your Commanding Officers. My only request is that you make sure names are spelled correctly. That’s really important.
Also, Battling BARE, Inc. isn’t just an awareness campaign. We are actively preparing the paperwork to request our non-profit status. Once those forms are submitted we wil begin scheduling the events we have planned.
Our main effort will be modelled on the highly successful program called Operation: Restored Warrior—a 5 day program created by Paul Lavelle and that bring service members back to a place of healing, peace and hope in the future. Our program will be two fold—one especially for the spouses and another especially for restoring marriages. We are also discussing a program to heal families as a whole.
Next will be “Soldiers in the Sand” that will be a three day event especially for the families affected by combat stress and PTSD with the primary focus on how the soldier’s PTSD affects children. As we have more information available on these programs, I will be happy to share with you all—and in fact, request your feedback and thoughts on other activity/program ideas. The entire Battling BARE executive team believes awareness is amazing but ACTION is necessary—so we are working on those programs and getting the state pages operating smoothly.
So Battle Buds, the top says they want each and every service member to receive the very best care—let’s all help them accomplish this task and share our stories.
Mine will be first, and published here soon, so everyone knows that it’s OK to open and honest — and that together we can save our husbands, our families — and ourselves.
Ash E. Wise
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