War & Veterans – Hektoen International

Psychological preparation for war: early life experiences

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   A casualty from an outside location carried to a helicopter for transport to US Military Hospital Kuwait in 2005 I suspect that few early life experiences fully prepare one psychologically for the realities of war. Mine certainly did not. However, my introduction to post-traumatic stress and moral injury, […]

Combat hospital chaplain

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   Top photo – Several members of NMCB23 visit their former “Chaps” (in blue sweatshirt) and “Doc” (author standing next to chaplain) on their way home from Iraq. Bottom photo – Chaplain (left) and author at St. Patrick’s Day “party” on grounds of US Military Hospital Kuwait in 2005. […]

He is not coming back

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA     US Military Hospital Kuwait (2005) surrounded by large concrete barriers with “seating” at base.  These relatively private seats were the frequent site for all sorts of meetings; counseling sessions, grief reactions, friendly meetings, unfriendly meetings, gripe sessions, etc.  (Author is middle individual in photo). “Good evening, skipper.” […]

Negotiation

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   Kuwaiti – U.S. military medical cooperation. Author is fourth individual from left in back row. “We appreciate what you Americans have done for us in the past. But we will not allow you to come into our hospital uniformed and armed.” It was their country, their hospital, and […]

“Mental Cases” by Wilfred Owen; the suffering of soldiers in World War I

Alice MacNeill Oxford, United Kingdom    Wilfred Owen Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, — but what slow panic, Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets? […]

Thank you for your service

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   US Military Hospital Kuwait at Camp Arifjan in the summer of 2005. As a reservist, I had heard those words on numerous occasions. I appreciated and understood that those words were not directed specifically towards me, but rather to the uniform that I was wearing. Although I had […]

Ought to kill or ought to heal? The importance of medicine in the history of warfare

Erick da Luz Scherf Santa Catarina, Brazil   A wounded American soldier receives a blood transfusion at an improvised hospital in New Guinea c. 1942-1945. Source: Daily Mail All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it. – […]

Blame

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia   US Army Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter With so much intentional killing and death in war, one might think that an occasional accidental or natural death would go unnoticed and uninvestigated. This was not my experience. In war, killing and death are often viewed through a blameless lens. However, accidental […]

The Changi diary and paintings: the partnership of a doctor and an artist

Robert Craig Brisbane, Queensland, Australia   Malnutrition, Pellagra (left), Tropical Ulcersa, Avitaminosis (middle), Glossitis, and Solar Dermatosis (right) in Australian prisoners of war.  Three paintings and a diary in a handwritten exercise book are in the collection of the Marks Hirschfeld Medical Museum in Brisbane, Australia. They represent an episode of extraordinary courage, survival, cooperation, and […]

Japanese-American internment camps in World War Two

Gregory W. Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio, USA   Bill Mauldin’s cartoons regarding the NISEI 15   “What constitutes an American? Not color…race…An American…(is) one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.”1  “Any person who considers himself…a member of Western Society inherits the Western past from Athens and Jerusalem to Runneymede […]