When You Hear The Bugle Call", subtitled Battling PTSD and the Unraveling of the American Conscience was written to benefit combat veterans, police, fire and all first responders agonized by severe and chronic PTSD. Its intention is to help these brave patriots, their friends and loved ones, as well as the general public, to better understand this devastating disorder.
Book description - “When You Hear The Bugle Call” subtitled, “Battling PTSD and the
Unraveling of the American Conscience” is a compelling, poignant and straightforward presentation of sickness and healing, righteousness opposing wrong doing, and the eventual triumph of the human spirit despite overwhelming obstacles and barriers. This very personal account of war and its aftermath was written to benefit combat veterans agonized by severe and chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), composed by one who is living the nightmare, one of their own... a fellow warrior. In the broader scope, this account is meant to help them, their friends and loved ones to better understand this overwhelming psychological, involuntary, and innate response to continual, life threatening situations. This book will bring them to the realization that they are not alone in their sufferings, help is as close as the nearest Veterans Administration Medical Center and any caring individual who has read and benefited from the pages of this presentation.
Furthermore, it is meant to assist, comfort, understand and equally as important, accept those who gave their best to defend and protect us. It’s not only the GI I am talking about but also the police officer, the fireman, and the rescue personnel… all those who are “damned if they do and damned if they don’t!” All the brave men and women who place their lives in jeopardy, everyday, for the sake of others… for the sake of something bigger than self! This presentation addresses every symptom, obstacle or negative circumstance a PTSD victim will likely experience or encounter, and must overcome, if he or she expects some semblance of peace, love, success, respect, and dignity in their lives!
Victims of terror and natural disasters will benefit from this writing as well. In my opinion there is little, if any, significant difference between combat PTSD and PTSD manifested as a result of traumatic events that occur in the “civilian” world.
This work is not an ordinary, run of the mill “shoot ‘em up” military memoir! PTSD negatively impacts every interpersonal relationship! This book clearly and frankly relates, in vivid detail, how PTSD affects victims in the work place and social settings. In today’s fast paced, very competitive, high stress work-a-day world virtually every victim’s well being, employment and/or career is at risk. There are no immunities or safe harbors! This account addresses those many complex issues and more! All who read this narrative will profit from its message! Spouses, grown children, friends, relatives, employers, supervisors, human resource managers, co-workers and the general public will benefit from first hand knowledge and look with newfound compassion and understanding on those who defend(ed) their life, limbs and freedoms on a daily basis.
Have Pierced Their Mind And Soul,
The Grim Reaper’s Sickle Cut Deep
Into Those He Did Not Keep…
Lt. Gen. Henry E. Emerson, U.S. Army (RET)
WHEN YOU HEAR THE BUGLE CALL
Unfortunately, the Vietnam Veteran has never received any measure of respect for his exertions in a bitter war fought under most difficult conditions. The image of a young infantryman walking point down some stinking jungle trail surrounded by danger and risking his life, limbs and manhood with each step taken persists.
Here is the story of a young paratrooper who served with dignity, loyalty, honor and dedication in the battalion which I was fortunate to command in 1965 – 1966. I am proud to have been associated with Pete Griffin and all of his paratroop companions who fought the good fight but who suffered the great pain and anguish of returning home to a totally thankless society. I commend this book to anyone wishing to gain an insight into why so many Vietnam Veterans have experienced difficulty in adjusting after such a soul searing experience. Fortunately, Pete has found his way and is now reaching out to help others do the same.
I am confident that the Vietnam Vets will receive their full payback in Heaven. Bless them all, bless them all – the sergeants and privates and all.
HENRY E. EMERSON
LT. GEN. U S Army (RET)
Robert J. Gregory, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, N.Y.
Peter Griffin’s manuscript, “When You Hear The Bugle Call”, represents the life story of a combat veteran. The book is essentially divided into five sections. The first section briefly summarizes Mr. Griffin’s early life. He highlights the military service of his two brothers, his oldest brother’s death in combat, and how this impacted his decision to join the military at the very young age of 17.
He next narrates his training experiences as a paratrooper and his combat experiences as infantryman in the army. He takes us through both the rigors and grittiness of basic training. The writing style is gripping through its raw honesty. One gets the sense of what basic training was all about. The old self and prior values of the new recruits are broken down through constant humiliation and persecution. This then creates an empty vessel into which the army can pour the qualities it values, i.e. obedience and pride in service.
The third section is a recounting of experiences as an infantryman in Vietnam. Mr. Griffin does not hold anything back or gloss over uncomfortable details or incidents. The full picture of a soldier’s experience in Vietnam comes to life in the pages of the manuscript, from frequenting the bars of Saigon, to traversing the enemy jungles. The full meaning of combat trauma is brought home to the reader, including seeing friends and comrades shot or blown up, as well as wondering when you’d be next and why you couldn’t have saved them.
The next section deals with the ten years following Vietnam spent as a police officer in Oswego. This is clearly a time of transition out of combat and back into society. Mr. Griffin brings home the difficulty in transitioning from army values of respect, self-sacrifice and obedience to the “every man for himself” attitude of modern civilian life. Both the combat trauma and the subsequent difficulties in the transition created a sense of isolation and enormous doubts about self-worth. Like many combat vets, the result was alcohol abuse and interpersonal conflicts.
The final section describes how Mr. Griffin finally found healing from his wartime experiences and reintegration into society. Mr. Griffin clearly would like this book to be of benefit to other combat veterans. I think most veterans will readily identify with his experiences and will find comfort in finally being understood. Moreover, Mr. Griffin’s straightforward account of his own struggles with fear, guilt, and shame, as well as the benefits of treatment, will surely encourage other veterans to “come out of the closet” and find the help they need. With a book that combines an engaging narrative with a real-life account of trauma and healing, Mr. Griffin has accomplished his mission!
Robert J. Gregory, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Alexander Zukovsky, Chief of Police (RET), Oswego, New York
Book review: WHEN YOU HEAR THE BUGLE CALL
Peter S. Griffin
By: Alexander Zukovsky
Chief of Police
Oswego Police Department
Oswego, New York 13126
Exceptional, highest endorsement!
From the time that I had been discharged from the U. S. Navy in 1965, I was employed as a Deputy Sheriff in the central New York area. In 1969 I resigned from that employment and my wife Barbara and I moved to Oswego. We did this so that I could continue my education and obtain a college degree with the assistance of Veterans Administration benefits. With a new baby in the house and money getting a little tight, I knew that a real job was necessary to maintain my family obligations. I decided to apply for a position of patrolman on the Oswego Police Department.
Barbara was a native of Oswego and had lived there all of her life until we were married in 1966. She was very familiar with the city, the people and the negative reputation of the Oswego Police Department. When I suggested to her that I apply for employment as a police officer to ease our financial situation I was met with more than passive resistance. She did not want that to happen, not because of the inherent dangers of the profession, she had accepted that for several years while I was a deputy sheriff. Her objection was based on how this affiliation would affect me and the negative stigma she felt would be placed upon the both of us socially and psychologically. Fortunately I was able to dispel her fears and assure her that this would only be a temporary assignment until I was able to finish college. She acquiesced and on June 25, 1970 I was sworn in as an Oswego City Police Officer.
Although I was aware that the police department was at times the object of public criticism I felt certain this was normal public reaction based upon misconceptions and misinformation. I had been out of the law enforcement arena for about a year now and missed it very much. I did indeed feel very fortunate to once again be able to serve and be part of a law enforcement organization.
During the first two weeks of my employment I was assigned to partner with various seasoned police officers. I assume that their job was to monitor my performance and give guidance in departmental protocol and professional procedures. Unfortunately, this was not always the case, some officers were excellent, some mediocre and others were borderline or actual criminals. One of the best officers that I can attest to was Peter Griffin, although he was of slight build, he was from my perspective one of the largest officers on the force. I remember many instances when Pete and I answered a dangerous call together, I never had to worry if Pete was covering my back because more than likely he was on point, taking the lead and looking out for his fellow officers. Please keep in mind that I only worked on the police department for two years but on many occasions I worked on the same shift with Pete. Many of the circumstances he has depicted in his manuscript, I witnessed and can attest to their validity. What is most amazing to me is the clarity and detail of his memory. Many of the situations I have forgotten about until now and depending on the situation find some humorous and others disgustingly true. What is also true is that most officers were of the right stuff and had the potential to be excellent officers with the possibility of attaining very distinguished careers, but the deck was stacked against them with a less than professional administration channeling and promoting negative influences that are for the most part impossible for any well intentioned officer to overcome. Now add to this sub-culture a personality of honesty, integrity, conviction, strong sense of duty and the debilitating effects of post traumatic stress disorder, at a time when PTSD was not yet recognized, let alone understood makes a career outcome almost predictable. There is no doubt in my mind that if the employee and human relation services that are now currently available to law enforcement officers and other public and private employees were available to Viet Nam veterans right after the war the circumstances of many lives would have had a profoundly happier and productive outcome.
Although PTSD is now recognized as a very serious, debilitating disorder and many veteran and professional entities try their best to help veterans that suffer from this disorder, we still find voids and individual veterans that are not being treated adequately for a host of reasons with all too often, tragic results. In January of 2005 the lifeless body of a recently discharged U. S. Army veteran was discovered under a stairway leading to the west linear park in the City of Oswego. He was murdered with a single blow of a boot knife to the back of the neck severing his spinal cord causing death almost instantaneously.
As a soldier he had participated in and witnessed the fiercest of battles with the invasion of Iraq including, hand to hand fighting, in the streets and buildings of Bagdad. The psychological effect was devastating and resulted in an official diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for which he was discharged from the Army in November of 2005, at the age of 24. One of his most serious symptoms of PTSD was his inability to sleep and on the evening of his murder he complicated his sleeplessness with excessive drinking. His physical condition was obvious and he was ejected from a bar for intoxication. His killer, who had been stalking him, led him to a nearby, secluded location on the linear park under the guise of acquiring more beer. He was killed for approximately sixty dollars in cash, a pack of cigarettes and a “Bic” lighter. This Army veteran who had fought so well for his country, ultimately became the victim of a horrendous act in his hometown area. The effect that PTSD had in this tragedy is purely conjecture on my part, but I cannot help but wonder if things may have been different if treatment had been more effective for him.
The Viet Nam war is long over but I am sure that many fellow veterans are still suffering terribly from PTSD. Peter Griffin has done an outstanding job of relating to all of us the seriousness of the problem and the need for immediate and competent treatment. Unfortunately, the effects of PTSD are undoubtedly increasing with the return and discharge to recent war veterans. They did their job willingly and courageously, for this, we owe them the very best diagnosis, treatment and care possible.
To Peter Griffin, as a friend, colleague and fellow veteran I salute you. I never knew how valiantly you served or how terribly you suffered. We just never talked about our military service, while working together on the Oswego Police Department. I wish we had…. your writing has made me profoundly aware of the terrible effects of PTSD and the need for everyone to understand what many veterans are dealing with on a daily basis, for this you are also to be commended. Although we have not met with each other in over thirty-three years I know that we will soon. Until then take care and thank you very much you for all you have done and for helping others over the years.
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