Vietnam. A USMC A-4 Skyhawk pilot. PTSD.
He survived Vietnam. But would he survive its aftermath?
The experiences of combat produce different memories by those whom have served. Some return as warriors, seemingly unscathed. With others, their life is never the same. The horrors of each mission come back to haunt them for years. Ten years after returning from Vietnam as a two time decorated A-4 Skyhawk pilot, Captain Robert “Gene” Lathrop described war as hell.
Flying the scooter as a part of VMA-311, he completed over 275 missions. His squadron completed 54,625 sorties dropping over 9 million tons of bombs. That record will never be broken. But the bomb damage assessment was steep for Captain Lathrop.
The nightmares and emotional rage he experienced threatened to tear apart his family. To keep from unraveling, he sought a voice in the written word. This memoir serves as part of his mission to honor the men and women of the military. He believed veterans who return to peacetime should never feel eternally at war.
What people are saying:
“Every human being needs to have their life validated. Medals and assumptions of honorable conduct vaporize in a world of contempt for Captain Robert Lathrop. The degeneration of his thought process, as he moves through the doctors drug culture, make PTSD even more debilitating.
Jeanette Vaughan writes a very moving literary description of a pilot who cannot come home. Her empathy makes us feel that Gene and Jeanette actively collaborated with each other. They reach out to us from their newly found universe. Very interesting presentation of PTSD, must read.”
— Ann Miles,Ph.D. Executive Director, Carriage Barn Adaptive Therapy Program, Kensington, NH, http://www.carriage-barn.org
“A fantastic read! A gripping and emotional story of a heroic Marine combat pilot and a very troubled man. It opened up my Vietnam memory locker. I always felt that if you were not there, you could not understand.”
— Lt. Col Bob Trumpfheller, USMC (Ret), VMA-311, A-4 pilot
“This work is invaluable for many reasons but especially for preserving the history of the Vietnam War and, in the process of doing so, honoring those who served.”
— Dr. Richard Verrone, Ph.D. previous Director of the Oral History Project, Texas Tech University Vietnam Center and Archive
“A page-turning brilliant read that honors our veterans.”
— Corporal Jim Galchick, USMC, VMA-311 1968 President of VMA-311 Reunion Association
“War is hell. For many of the U.S. veterans who served in the Vietnam Conflict, the psychological nightmare rages on even 40 years after the last Marines left Siagon. This is an important read.”
— Brian Handwerk, The Smithsonian Magazine
“A great book on the air war and how it affected this pilot.”
— Captain Bob Miecznikowski, USMC (Ret), VMA-211, A-4 pilot
“I couldn’t believe how it brought me back to that place and time. So many important memories that I had tried to forget. Thank you, Gene for making me remember.”
— Colonel Ronald Suter, USMC (Ret), VMA-311, A-4 pilot
“I, too, am a Vietnam Veteran living with PTSD and share a similar story. It’s a long road back. The journey will take many of us the rest of our lives.”
— Ed Swauger, Author of Earning the CIB – The Making of a Soldier in Vietnam
“Married to a Vietnam Veteran also diagnosed with PTSD, I know firsthand how debilitating living with this diagnosis can be. Kudos to Captain Lathrop for fighting his way back from a place no one should ever have been.”
— Laine Raia, Author/Editor and proprietor of The Ponderaia, www.ponderaia.com North Reading, MA
“War is the most expensive dispute resolution method known to man. In war, everyone pays a price; both winners and losers equally. That price can be calculated in terms of lives lost as well as in lives destroyed. Captain Robert Lathrop proudly served his nation in Vietnam. Eternally at War shares insights into PTSD long before there was a name for it. Long before effective treatment was available. This book is a must read for anyone working with or living with someone who has PTSD.”
— Bonnie Marlewski-Probert, author, founder of Whitehall PR http://whitehallpr.com