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posted by ErichForschler in Books

"You'll be Fine, Darling" by Pat Mena

January 18, 2013

Hey folks,

This book was written by the mother of an Iraq war veteran, Tony Mena. I didn't know Tony, but his unit relieved mine in Baghdad in 2006. I remember training my replacement squad, spinning them up on whatever I had figured out about the area, the latest tactics and trends, how best to utilize the equipment and vehicles, etc... and these men and women were ready to go; ready to DO SOMETHING; ready for us to get out of their way...

I remember that feeling, and also how it didn't take long before that feeling dissolved, mutating into a strange dualism: an embrace of danger coupled with a burning desire to survive and return home. People adapt and find a way to survive, simply counting down the days until they get back home.

Well, Tony's unit was there longer than mine, and arguably endured much more than I can imagine. Not all of them came home. Some that returned were not whole - either mentally or physically. Coming home isn't easy, regardless of where one went, but it is probably especially hard for those who go to war in any generation. This story explores a son's homecoming and attempt to return to whatever was "normal" from the mother's perspective.

Please give it a look, or at least a thought. I got my copy here:

http://www.amazon.com/Youll-Be-Fine-Darling-Struggling/dp/1478126159/ref...

Here's the description on the Amazon Listing:

"Full of energy and ambition, Anthony Mena, struggles with the decision of which military branch he will join when he graduates from high school. Towards the end of the school-year, he enlists in the United States Air Force to serve in Security Forces. In spite of his mother’s protest, Anthony leaves to basic training a month after graduation in hope of deploying to fight in the war-torn country of Iraq.

This is the true story of a courageous and determined young man who serves his country while the United States is involved in a bloody and controversial war in Iraq. Anthony proudly volunteers to deploy to Iraq a few months after joining the Air Force. This first deployment does not satisfy Anthony’s desire to be involved in challenging experiences.

Once again, this brave, adventurous airman volunteers for a year-long deployment to the bloody city of Baghdad. This time, he proudly serves as the lead driver for his squad, which consists of four Humvees, as they patrol the dangerous streets of Baghdad. They are faced with incredible experiences during an entire year in Baghdad. Anthony and the other troops struggle to survive from the first day of their arrival. They witness hundreds of dead bodies, some missing body parts and others badly tortured or burned. The troops encounter deadly bombings, Humvees blown apart, and witness their own companions lose their lives. Anthony’s fellow airmen face many sleepless nights and listen to the sounds of bombs exploding close to them on a nightly basis.

After much turmoil, Anthony and many of the troops suffer from insomnia and nightmares. The need for sleeping pills begins. The troops struggle to get enough sleep and to have the energy and courage to survive another day in Baghdad. After twelve long months of working with corrupt Iraqi police and enduring the ugly conditions left from the war, this deadly mission comes to an end. Anthony returns back to his base in the United States.

Unable to comprehend Anthony’s unusual behavior after returning from Iraq, Anthony’s mother is determined to find out what has caused her son to have such a drastic change in personality. Months later, Anthony reveals to his parents that he has post-traumatic stress disorder. This ambitious, energetic young man who loved serving his country is now faced with the devastating symptoms associated with PTSD. Worst of all, Anthony begins a long journey of using a variety of prescribed pills. He also suffers from a severe back injury, which the doctors are unable to diagnose. The Air Force places him on job restrictions, takes away his weapons, and places him in an office job. Anthony’s dream is shattered. As his list of medications grows, he experiences strange hallucinations, memory loss, and other side effects. Anthony’s mother does everything within her power to help her son cope with the symptoms of PTSD, his back injury, and many side effects from the pills. This is not only an intense story about Anthony, but about what our troops suffer upon returning from war."

Thanks!

Erich

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