In thinking about this series on PTSD, I reached out to friends and family who have served and who are currently serving in the military for inspiration. Each story is different. Each person took me on a different journey.

One person I reached out to was New York Times bestselling Science Fiction author, former US Marine and volunteer at the National World War 1 Museum, Dayton Ward. Dayton graciously offered to share his thoughts on this important topic.

Here, then, is the message from Dayton:

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, and I was asked to contribute a small piece to this blog series. I’m certainly not an authority on this topic, and neither can I claim to have any specialized knowledge. Even with the strides toward understanding PTSD and the efforts to remove the stigma unfairly attached to those who suffer from it, there is still so much to learn about its causes and enduring effects.

Despite a lengthy span of time spent in military service, I never saw combat, but I do carry with me memories of several grim personal experiences from that time of my life, which still manifest themselves in various and often unexpected ways.

One particularly tragic incident occurred on a holiday evening, and as a result, I’m reminded each year of the events of that night. The memory resurfaces on other occasions, of course – sound or visual triggers, the odd dream, and so on – but never with more force than that same evening each year.

Is this PTSD? I’ve never been clinically diagnosed, so I can’t honestly say, and neither do I wish to diminish those who carry with them memories of far more distressing experiences. Chances are you know someone who bears such a burden, and I encourage you to reach out and offer your support. Let them know you’re there for them. Reassure them they’re not alone.

The USS Nomad thanks Dayton for his message and for his service.

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