WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — For a lot of veterans, the battle to handle signs of post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD) continues lengthy after the battle on the battlefield. Such is the case for Vietnam veteran James “JR” Franklin.
“I’m simply an outdated nation boy. They’d me scared,” Franklin mentioned.
Franklin was drafted into the U.S. Military in Might 1966. After fundamental coaching at Fort Leonard Wooden in Missouri, Franklin made his solution to Fort Riley, the place the Ninth Infantry Division deployed to Vietnam in December 1966.
“We obtained there, and didn’t you already know, we needed to be taught all the pieces. However I had my friends with me,” Franklin mentioned.
Franklin was a part of the Cell Riverine Pressure: part of the Ninth Infantry Division that confronted a number of the hardest situations within the jungles of South Vietnam.
“We had been out in an space known as the Rung Sat, which is an enormous mangrove swamp. 5 days out, we’d lose 35% of our males to immersion foot,” Franklin mentioned.
Throughout his time in Vietnam, Franklin was stationed on 4 completely different carriers.
“The Henrico, the Montrose, the Beloit, and the Colleton — my first operation was by means of the Henrico. They weren’t these large, large ships. They had been transformed LSTs,” Franklin mentioned.
From there, helicopters would sneak Franklin and his unit out to the jungles of Vietnam in the course of the night time.
“More often than not, we slept within the mud,” Franklin mentioned.
Simply six months into his deployment to Vietnam, Franklin would discover himself on the quick observe as an NCO after his platoon sergeant was wounded on June 19, 1967.
“I used to be a 20-year-old fight platoon sergeant. I had no enterprise being a fight platoon sergeant at 20 than the person on the moon,” Franklin mentioned.
Regardless of being wounded, Franklin would full his tour of Vietnam.
“I catch two unhealthy operations again to again. I had been wounded a few instances,” Franklin mentioned.
After coming back from Vietnam, Franklin was made a platoon sergeant once more over a mechanized unit in Fort Hood, Texas.
Franklin was honorably discharged after 22 months of energetic obligation, however his battles had been removed from over.
“There was no handbook to be a civilian,” Franklin mentioned.
In 1969, Franklin would search assist from the VA in Amarillo, Texas. The expertise would depart him feeling much more remoted.
“[I] swore I might by no means grace the doorways of a VA once more in my life,” Franklin mentioned.
In 1994, a good friend would lend Franklin a small e-book that made a huge impact on his life.
“It was no larger than, oh, a Reader’s Digest, and I began studying that, and I mentioned, man, I obtained PTSD, however I do know what to do about it,” Franklin mentioned.
Franklin would as soon as once more step foot right into a VA—whereas studying the system, a VA counselor gave him an concept.
“She instructed me, ‘why don’t you begin sharing what you already know in regards to the VA with these guys which can be needing to, to undergo there?’” Franklin mentioned.
Franklin has since helped numerous veterans negotiate the VA.
“I can stroll them over and introduce them to the individuals on the desk, and this particular person wants an consumption, and that, that speeds the method up tremendously,” Franklin mentioned.
Franklin additionally related a VA physician he was working with to filmmakers. He additionally appeared in three documentaries working to coach a brand new viewers on the struggles of Vietnam.
“We as Vietnam vets by no means once more on our watch will warriors be handled as we had been,” Franklin mentioned. “When all is alleged and finished, I lastly discovered why I survived all that, or no less than, with one thing I used to be comfy with, and that’s to do what I do immediately.”
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If you need to appoint a veteran for our Veteran Salute, e mail KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at email@example.com.