Interviewing is such an art! I asked Bob to look over my notes, and he made some good corrections and excellent additions. These are the notes that were used for the final piece: Posted Edit.docx
Thank you, Bob and Tara, for a great experience of investigation. I so appreciated being able to join in the session when I visited! Bob and Max are a great healing partnership!
Robert Lecy and his Healing Parter, Max
Interview notes November 29, 2013 with Bob Lecy; 720-235-2241
Bob was in the army during the Vietnam War era. He was part of the Army Security Agency (ASA). He did Basic Medics Training in Fort Ord, CA and was in the 4th Infantry for one year. His location was an area called the Central Highlands.
When asked why he thought horses help heal PTSD, Bob replied:
“There are a lot of pieces to it: horses are prey animals. Trauma makes us feel like prey. There’s the hyper vigilance and the feeling of being betrayed. We have trouble trusting and that makes us act like and feel like prey, so we have a kinship with horses. Horses don’t care about your past. They want to know if you are a safe person right now. You don’t have to go back into your story to be with the horse. Are you safe? That’s all horse wants to know. They want to trust and if they do then let’s hang out.”
Bob is part of the Warriors in Transition program, developed by Tara Pogoda at The Fifth Element Ranch in Loveland, CO.
Bob mentioned looking into the eye of a horse and meeting its spirit there. He shared many things during the hour and a half that we talked, about his experiences in Vietnam as a medic. He feels that there are many reasons why veterans feel disconnected when they return from their service. They can’t trust their government; they feel no connection with the society that they left; and they feel that people don’t have a clue about what’s really important. People would often say, “Tell me about your experiences in Vietnam.” As soon as he started sharing they would start backing away and ask him to stop.
PTSD isolates people. Many veterans live in dark basements. They are noise sensitive. They experience sensory overload, and can become overwhelmed in crowds or in social situations.
The military uses repetition. They promote looking at others as less than you, so that killing becomes a non-issue. You become immune. You react without thinking. You learn hatred and bigotry. Killing becomes the solution to the problem. Sadly, there is no un-training once a veteran leaves the military.
There was a study done with World War II veterans that indicates that only 21 to 25% of the soldiers were shooting to kill. They would often shoot to maim rather than kill their target. In the most recent group of veterans it was found that they were now shooting to kill 100% of the time.
The term of enlistment in the Vietnam era was four years with two years in active duty. Now its eight years and a military person could be called back for several tours during that time.
There are many myths about the war culture. Once it was understood that the enemy in the Middle East was using IED’s, the military responded by building bigger vehicles. This did not promote a soldier’s ability to get to know civilians and develop relationships with the people around them.
Laos is the most bombed country in the history of the world and we were not supposed to even be bombing Laos during the Vietnam War. Pilots were just dropping bombs. 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam and 2.5 to 3,000,000 SE. Asians were killed with an estimated 70% being civilians.
“Once you were there, you couldn’t leave. You were in constant danger. Combat soldiers don’t see the suffering, the results of either surviving or dying, but medics do. I shut down emotionally. I stopped trying to connect.”
There’s a perspective in the service. The most likely time to die is in the first 3 months of your tour, and the last 3 months. FNG = Fucking New Guy. No one wants to get close to the new soldiers because they may die. People get cocky, careless when they are almost done with their tour.
Bob talked about being in a nice restaurant just a few weeks after returning home from Vietnam. He looked around and wondered how anyone could be laughing and having a good time, with men dying overseas.
“Nothing makes sense.”
“I should be back in Vietnam, helping my buddies.”
The military has little incentive to address PTSD. When in the military, you can’t admit to it. If you answer ‘yes’ on a questionnaire, you aren’t left in active duty. People who go to war are always changed (?).
Rand Corp did a study in 2008 and found that 21% of all soldiers come back with PTSD. If they look at just combat veterans, that number jumps to 70%. Part of organized response to kill is that it does something to the soul. Deep soul injury, whether the killing was justified or now. We must heal trauma from the place that it happens.
Bob mentioned that there has always been lies and dishonesty in military leadership. He mentioned Westmoreland.
Bob mentioned finally finding a therapist that was a Vietnam veteran. He asked Bob, “Did you save them all.” Bob realized the guilt he had carried for the ones he couldn’t save.
“You don’t feel like a hero. You feel ashamed, if you are honest about it. When you go to war, you become the evil you are fighting against.”
Bob stopped drinking in his mid-40’s; lived in Tacoma, WA. Started an ambulance service there that trained para-medics.
Introduction to Peace Studies
Jade Beaty Student ID # 277482
August 29, 2013
I had the pleasure of visiting with Pia Andersson, who is a returning student. She attended Naropa twenty years ago, was married for fifteen years, and has been a single mother for eight years. The last of her three babies has left the nest, and I imagine that each of her children must be self-sufficient and wise, because that’s the type mother she is. She mentioned that she felt that she has had to be a ‘shield for my children,’ and I can imagine that she would be a fierce advocate for them.
Pia was born in Sweden and has dual citizenship. She was raised in a military family, as her father was a Marine. She has mostly disconnected from her family of origin, and made raising her children top priority in her life. She is now in a rebirth phase and beginning to explore what she wants, after many years of caregiving to her family. She chuckles as she mentions that she has a boyfriend, but thinks of marriage as a form of entrapment. She admits to commitment issues, to the extent that she cannot even commit to a tattoo. She feels she has not yet found her highest potential and is ready for it to be revealed. I am privileged to be a witness to her emergence as an empowered wise woman.
Her barriers are around reacting to fear and anxiety, although she is a lover, and believes that we are constantly choosing either love or fear. She has concerns about being inarticulate, due to being raised Swedish and having that as her primary language. She mentioned a worry about ‘butchering’ the American language, but I want to assure her that it has already been killed. There’s nothing she can do to hurt it further!