I was just minding my business reading the news and getting lost in my Sunday mindless exercise, when I came upon a news story that shook me – on many levels. This story is about Captain Peter Linnerooth; a story worth noting and sharing. Does it have to do with concussions, I don’t know and I don’t care, it has to do with the well-being of humans – a plight that is part of the concussion story.
Regardless the Sharon Cohen authored story on Capt. Linnerooth is well worth your time;
He had a knack for soothing soldiers who’d just seen their buddies killed by bombs. He knew how to comfort medics sickened by the smell of blood and troops haunted by the screams of horribly burned Iraqi children.
Capt. Peter Linnerooth was an Army psychologist. He counseled soldiers during some of the fiercest fighting in Iraq. Hundreds upon hundreds sought his help. For nightmares and insomnia. For shock and grief. And for reaching that point where they just wanted to end it all.
Linnerooth did such a good job his Army comrades dubbed him The Wizard. His “magic” was deceptively simple: an instant rapport with soldiers, an empathetic manner, a big heart.
The man knew how to handle others and create an atmosphere for helping on a battlefield and beyond;
He was, as one buddy says, the guy who could help everybody – everybody but himself. [...]
“There’s no cavalry to save the day,” McNabb explains. “You ARE the cavalry. There was no relief.” [...]
For about half his tour, Linnerooth’s office was a 12-by-12 trailer. His heavy-metal soundtrack – he banned the Beatles and Pink Floyd, deeming them too sad – provided a sound buffer. A thermal blanket serving as a makeshift room divider also provided a modicum of privacy.
Linnerooth brought hope to those gripped by hopelessness. In a desert, he could always find the glass half full.
He turned tragedies into cathartic moments: When a platoon lost a member, he’d encourage the survivors to deal with their grief by writing letters to the children of the fallen soldier, recounting the great things about their father.
Then the pressures were too much;
Linnerooth did elaborate in one essay. In words both graphic and incredibly tender, he described a female soldier brought in with mortal wounds. Her Humvee, while on a rescue mission, had been struck by an armor-penetrating explosive.
“I stood at her head and considered her hair, for Christsakes!” he wrote. “The blast had mussed her hair. Removed her foot, cleaved her abdomen, but mussed her hair. For whatever reason I looked at it and longed to smooth it back from her forehead. Like I do for my children. It was reddish-blond, curly, almost kinky, and in disarray. I looked around me to see if anyone would notice this gesture, if anyone would mind. Hell, I don’t know what to do in an abattoir of human suffering, it’s not my job. I deal with easy things, like the paranoid, the personality disordered, and those without hope. All I wanted to do was smooth her hair, perhaps compose her for the next stage of her journey. But I never did it, and regret it to this day.”
The man withered – mentally – finding life hard to grasp. He had family, kids, friends a support system, yet he could not find the proper way to tap into that resource;
Linnerooth was busy with family during the holidays: He sent his mother a text thanking her for the kids’ Christmas gifts, traveled west to see his baby and sent photos of the infant in a green monster outfit to his sister, Mary. On Jan. 1, he spent a happy day with his son, Jack, and was planning another visit with David.
The next day, though, McNabb says, a fight with his wife, alcohol and a loaded gun proved a tragic combination.
He left a note with instructions, but no explanation of why he’d taken his life.
“For the record, Pete Linnerooth did not want to die,” McNabb says. “He just wanted the pain to end. Big difference.”
The pain is great for those that suffer.
I feel you should read the entire article and understand the life of Capt. Peter Linnerooth, we can all learn from this. I think the main point being that if you need help, ANY help, seek it and ask. I believe we are starting to come to a point where we can accept mental health issues as ‘OK’.
We are losing some great men and women because of this “silent” killer; we all need to be prepared like Capt. Linnerooth and be willing to lend a hand to a soul that needs comfort.