Memorial Day War Stories

Memorial Day War Stories

Honoring Heroism: Untold Realities of War

In the pages of history, nestled between the triumphs and the tragedies, lie the poignant tales of those who bravely faced the crucible of war. These are the stories that transcend the boundaries of time, echoing through generations to remind us of the indomitable human spirit and the sacrifices made on the hallowed battlegrounds.

War, with its grim visage and far-reaching consequences, has been an enduring chapter of human existence. It has shaped nations, redrawing maps and rewriting destinies. Yet, amidst the geopolitical intricacies and strategic maneuvers, we must not lose sight of the individual narratives etched within the tapestry of conflict.

These are the accounts that defy the cold statistics and sterile summaries found in history books. They breathe life into the shadowy figures eternally etched on war memorials, transforming them into flesh and blood—mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and lovers—whose dreams and aspirations were tragically curtailed in the name of duty.

It is within these war stories that we discover the true essence of humanity—the unwavering resolve in the face of adversity, the bonds forged under fire, and the sacrifices that echo through eternity. They encompass tales of courage, compassion, and camaraderie, but also of pain, loss, and the unimaginable horrors that test the limits of human endurance.

Through this blog, we embark on a journey that invites reflection and empathy. Together, we will traverse the battlefields, hearing the echoes of gunfire, feeling the weight of the gear, and witnessing the unbreakable bond forged between brothers and sisters in arms. But let us not forget the silent battles waged within, the invisible scars etched upon the hearts and minds of those who returned home forever changed.

In the stories to come, we will share stories from different eras and conflicts, shedding light on the unsung heroes who selflessly answered the call of duty. Their tales will be filled with both triumph and tragedy, resilience and vulnerability. They will remind us that war is not merely a sequence of battles, but a profound human experience with enduring reverberations.

So, join us as we embark on this journey of remembrance—a tribute to the brave souls who walked the path of war and left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness. Through their stories, we shall honor their sacrifices, and perhaps, in doing so, gain a deeper appreciation of the fragile nature of peace.

Together, let us honor heroism, weave the tapestry of memory, and illuminate the untold chapters of real-life war stories. They’re not all tragic. Some of funny. All are real and could turn scary in a moment. Here we go:

Here’s me and the boys in some courtyard in Ramadi, probably late 2004/early 2005. We were stacked in the street just outside the door, getting ready to enter the courtyard when we got lit up by heavy machine guns that were hidden in an adjacent alley. The guy on the ground was in front of me and got hit twice in the back just below the plate. That’s me on his back, Ka-Bar in hand, cutting his vest off so I can stop the bleeding. One of the bullets that hit him happened to be a tracer round and it must have hit his body armor and slowed down because it popped right out (almost like a pimple) into my hand. The guy, Sgt. Morton, made a full recovery but got sent home. I kept that bullet, cleaned it up and carried it with me until we got home. It actually fit perfectly on my dog tag chain. Then I gave it back to him.

– I went to TQ in 2019 and two Iran missiles hit the Iraqi army base part and our FOB. Plus, our fuel farm got blown up too. You can still see some of the scars in Ramadi and Fallujah, but it is better. The Iran back group Hezbollah are running the place now. Things started to get a bit chaotic right before the end of deployment, and they closed down the TQ post again. I am pretty sure Hezbollah is running a muck there now.

– We deployed mid 2006 until November of 2007 as part of a PSD task force. We were in Yusufiyah/ Mahmudia in the triangle of death. Our truck hit its first IED about 3 months in. (Our first convoy IED was 2 weeks in).

We were driving down this narrow dusty road and we heard a loud bang and dust and dirt flying all over the place. We had a THT military intelligence soldier with us and she was freaking out. “I’m hit, I’m hit!” I looked her over and checked for wounds/ bleeding, she was not hit.” The LT called up on the radio asking for our situation and our Platoon Sergeant who was riding TC, responded with, “Yes sir. No casualties, no injuries. But the IED took out our AC. It’s very hot in here, over.” LT chuckled. “Copy that. Be sure to look over your vic when we get back.”

– Same area, same time. We were in Gator Bayou, then Gator Swamp, then the Castle/Dragon/Power Plant.

My truck was hit by the supposed same crew that snatched up the 4-31 DUSTWUN boys. One month later to the day, on the same road less than a klick away. Luckily the IED didn’t knock me out, somehow, and I was able to return fire. Not effectively at all, at first… The concussion of the blast blew off the turret joystick, and when it hit the ground, it turned the turret 180, unbeknownst to me! When I initially started laying down fire, I was shooting in the entire opposite direction than that they were coming from, hahah. Luckily my TL/TC was still with it, and punched me in the leg enough to get my newly-deaf-ass’ attention, and got me to start shooting at the direction of the bad guys instead of just an open field, hahah. Luckily we had a guard tower with a PAS-13 close, so they could see the crew starting to move towards us, and lit them the fuck up while I was blindly shooting into the reedline (this time, at least in their direction) with cartoonish rage, hahah.

– Yea I was in 4-31 Polar Bears. From what I remember Delta company was doing guard and they got ambushed. One hummer had a grenade thrown in killing everyone inside and another vehicle they took prisoners and we searched everywhere for them. We were mainly held up in the Dragon Power Plant once we took that place over.

-My deployment was quiet. Very boring for the most part (thankfully).

So no shit there we were, last twenty minutes or so on our ECP, which was really just an overwatch position for an Afghan base our little slice of Americana was on. I’m sitting in the driver seat of our matv, and my battle is sitting in the back, passenger side. It was open top for the gunner, no CROWS here. We didn’t know each other too well, maybe a week at this point and were just shooting the shit watching the sun fall behind the Hindu Kush.

Then we hear an audible whistling noise and the sound of something landing in our vic.

There’s this half moment of stunned “did I just imagine that” shared between us before we get the fuck out.

In about half a second we were out of the vic, and find a couple of contractors laughing their asses off. Turns out they had thrown a nerf football and it landed right in the gunner’s hatch where the 240 was.

I’ve never felt such a gamut of emotions so quickly in my life.

– On our way to pick up a General at a JSS in Baghdad. As we were approaching our landing pad, heard a “Fallen Angel” call over the radio and we picked right back up. A State Department bird went down and caught fire. The crewman’s voice on the radio was of sheer panic and I remember his desperate call clearly, “I need help now, these guys (pilots) are dying.” I could hear the screams in the background of the call. We landed immediately, got our pax and told them we had to go ASAP. As soon as we were airborne, we got a hold of OPS to give us the grid of that bird and we made a plan on who was doing what. OPS unfortunately sent us the wrong direction and we didn’t get there in time to do anything. They didn’t make it, we just had to scratch that off and continued on our original mission. A very less chatty flight after that.

– On 26 November 2004, Private First Class Harrison James Meyer was serving as a Medical Aidman in Company D, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On that day, PFC Meyer’s unit was engaged in combat action against enemy forces in Ramadi when his disregard for his own safety and courage under enemy machine gun fire saved the lives of 5 soldiers. PFC Meyer’s selfless, courageous actions that day earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army’s third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Silver Star Medal Bronze Star Medal Purple Heart Army Good Conduct Medal National Defense Service Medal Iraq Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Army Service Ribbon Army Overseas Service Ribbon Combat Medical Badge Parachutist Badge

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private First Class Harrison J. Meyer, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Medical Aidman in Company D, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 26 November 2004, in Iraq. Private First Class Meyer’s disregard for his own safety and courage under enemy machine gun fire saved the lives of five soldiers. His valorous actions are in keeping with the highest standards of selfless service and reflects great credit upon himself, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, Multi-National Corps Iraq, and the United States Army.

– I started writing down a lot of my memories from my time in the service 05-10. Seems like a lifetime ago, so I miss so many details. I deployed in 06 and was just 19. So clueless to life and the seriousness of it all. Seeing IEDs and bullets just snatch people’s lives away. For what? Some lie that we all believed. Sometimes the memories flood back, and I’ll get sick to my stomach, some times they come back, and I’m like damn that was pretty bad ass. I guess that’s the duality of man shit Joker was always talking about.

I remember being on a small kill team. My sector of fire was this canal path with tall tiger grass. Such a long, boring night like most of them are. I remember just staring into the distance, dead silent, full loom, cool summer breeze. The tiger grass starts to part, and I break into a cold sweat. I’m on a island, sure help is right there, but it’s gonna be my call on what happens next. I wait, I watched, grass is moving, somethings coming. It’s tense, I pee a little, I cuss under my breath… its a dog…. a freaking dog snuck up on our small kill team… what a trip.

Either way, that’s a hell of a story, and I’m glad it has a happy ending.

– Our cooks and other support troops were right there with us in the shit. Doing the best they could with what little they had. We wouldn’t have survived without those guys. I got nothing but love and respect for them.

-Iraq 2007. It was cold as fuck. We were tasked with setting up an ambush IOT take care of some problem locals.

We got in position the night before, maybe a half-mile away from the entrance to a little village that these clowns would be entering around dawn. All we needed to do was wait for daylight, give ’em the business when they walked through, and then leave, hopefully making it home in time for lunch.

We waited all night, silent and motionless, laying in snow ffs. Finally, FINALLY, the sun started to rise, and we heard the voices of men on foot approaching our position.

It was two old guys and maybe six cows. Not who we were waiting for.

The old guys were chatting and walked past without noticing us. Everything was good.

A cow spotted us.

This idiot cow then decides to come over and investigate. This piqued the interests of the other cows, and they decided to come over and check things out. Half a dozen cows began leaving the road and entering our palm grove. By this time, their human escorts have noticed and are heading back to our position.

The old guys spotted us. Heads lowered, eyes dropped, and they were back on the road in seconds, speedwalking tf out of there.

Our plans kinda fell apart, so we speedwalked tf out of there in the other direction. Made it back in time for lunch though, and I had a fucking cheeseburger.

– One of my very close friends was deployed in Syria, a few months in on her deployment, they were clearing this village middle of fucking nowhere in about ~2017

They were about ~450? meters from this mountain, very steep snow capped, crawling with ISIS and ex-FSA

About 3 AM, they get orders directly from a LT GEN that they need to withdraw 2 kilometres back and they have 20 minutes to get out as they are in range of A strike to neutralize the mountain

After a back and forth they have used about 18? of the 20 minutes.

As they are rushing back to their BMP, the night turns to day. The sun appeared on the mountain.

Everything glass Shattered, they hurry up and get the fuck out, they began to sweat from the heat, they were practically deaf, and most thrown to the floor

But someone is missing

returning to the village, their translator was crushed by a Destroyed SAA BMP thrown 200+ meters into the village.

– This was 09 and thankfully my deployment was uneventful for the most part but the thing that sticks with me is we would run routes from FOB Falcon to the smaller COB’s to refuel them.

One night we got back from our run with no issues. The very next day we heard a loud boom outside the gate. Turned out a VBIED went off on the main drag we would take. We missed it by less than 24 hours.

These stories go on and on. This is the source of all of this content. My thanks to all who posted.



Breaking the Stigma: How to Communicate and Write about Veteran Suicide

Breaking the Stigma: How to Communicate and Write about Veteran Suicide

Tools for Effective Communication: VA’s Guide on Writing About Veteran Suicide

As a writer for the Once a Soldier charity, we recognize the importance of advocating for mental health support for our military veterans. One of the most pressing concerns is veteran suicide, which has been on the rise in recent years. It is a complex issue that needs to be handled with utmost sensitivity and understanding. That’s why we highly recommend the VA’s guide, “How to Communicate and Write About Veteran Suicide,” which provides comprehensive resources on the topic.

This guide is not just for journalists and writers but for everyone who wants to communicate effectively about this issue. It is designed to help individuals understand the complexities of veteran suicide, provide guidelines for safe communication, and highlight resources for help and support. It is important to note that the VA relied on a Reporting on Suicide’s guide “Best Practices and Recommendations
for Reporting on Suicide” for some of their content.

One of the most critical aspects of the guide is how it emphasizes the importance of using appropriate language when discussing veteran suicide. Words like “committed suicide” or “successful suicide” can have a negative impact and contribute to the stigma around mental health. Instead, the guide suggests using “died by suicide” or “completed suicide,” which not only reduces the stigma but also humanizes the individual and acknowledges their struggle.

Raising Awareness: A Comprehensive Guide on Talking about Veteran Suicide

The guide also provides resources for safe communication, including information on how to approach someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and how to ask sensitive questions without causing distress. It also provides suggestions on how to report on a suicide-related incident without glamorizing or sensationalizing it.

Additionally, the VA guide offers resources for support and intervention, such as the Veterans Crisis Line and local mental health services. It also highlights the importance of self-care for those who may be affected by the issue, including journalists and writers who cover these topics.

At Once a Soldier, we believe in using our platform to raise awareness and advocate for mental health support for veterans. By sharing the VA’s guide on “How to Communicate and Write About Veteran Suicide,” we hope to promote safe and effective communication about this complex issue.

In conclusion, the VA’s guide is an excellent resource for everyone, not just writers and journalists. It offers comprehensive information on how to communicate safely and effectively about veteran suicide, emphasizes the importance of appropriate language, and provides resources for help and support. By following these guidelines, we can help break the stigma around mental health and raise awareness about the critical issue of veteran suicide.

New Data Reveals Alarming Rise in Veteran Suicides in 2020

New Data Reveals Alarming Rise in Veteran Suicides in 2020

2020 Veteran Suicide Report from the Veterans Administration

COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Mental Health Crisis Among Veterans

The year 2020 has been a challenging one for everyone, especially for those who have served in the military. According to the latest 2020 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there has been a significant rise in veteran suicides last year. The numbers are alarming, and they indicate a mental health crisis that needs to be addressed urgently. Here is the veteran suicide list state-by-state in a database.

2019 Report

The data shows that there were 6,261 veteran suicides in 2020, an increase of nearly 7% from the previous year. This means that, on average, 17 veterans died by suicide every day in 2020. These figures are heartbreaking, and they show that we need to do more to support our veterans and ensure that they receive the help they need. When the first report was published in 2017, the number was 22 a day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly played a role in this surge in veteran suicides. The pandemic has disrupted many aspects of daily life, including access to mental health care, which is vital for veterans who are struggling with mental health issues. The isolation and stress caused by the pandemic have exacerbated the mental health crisis that many veterans were already facing.

VA Takes Action to Address the Surge in Veteran Suicides

The VA is taking action to address the surge in veteran suicides. The agency has increased funding for suicide prevention programs, including the Veterans Crisis Line, which provides free, confidential support to veterans in crisis. Additionally, the VA is working to expand access to mental health care by hiring more mental health professionals and increasing telehealth options.

As a nation, we owe it to our veterans to ensure that they receive the support and care they need to overcome mental health challenges. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who may be struggling with mental health issues, please know that there is help available. The VA provides free, confidential support to veterans through the Veterans Crisis Line, which can be reached by phone at 1-800-273-8255, text message at 838255, or online chat at Let’s work together to ensure that no veteran feels alone or unsupported during this challenging time.

Update on Progress Against Veteran Suicide in the USA (2017-2022)

Update on Progress Against Veteran Suicide in the USA (2017-2022)

Nationwide With A Focus on California, Texas, New York, and Florida (2017-2022)

While it is beyond the scope of this response to provide a comprehensive analysis of the progress against veteran suicide in every state, we can provide an overview of the general trends, key findings, and notable state-level examples from the period of 2017-2022.

The rate of suicide among veterans in the United States has been a significant concern for both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the general public. According to the most recent data available from the VA’s National Suicide Data Report, there has been a modest decrease in the overall rate of veteran suicide from 2017 to 2022.

Key Findings:

  • In 2017, the VA reported an average of 17.5 veteran suicides per day, while in 2022 the number decreased to 16.2 veteran suicides per day. This represents a 7.4% reduction in daily veteran suicide rates.
  • While the decrease is encouraging, the overall veteran suicide rate remains higher than the general population. In 2022, the veteran suicide rate was 1.5 times greater than the non-veteran adult population after adjusting for age and gender.
  • Female veterans continue to have a higher suicide rate compared to their non-veteran counterparts. In 2022, the suicide rate for female veterans was 2.2 times greater than non-veteran adult women.

Notable State-Level Examples:

  • California, with the largest veteran population in the country, experienced a 9% decrease in veteran suicide rates from 2017 to 2022. This decline can be partially attributed to increased investment in mental health services and targeted outreach programs for veterans.
  • Texas, another state with a large veteran population, experienced a 5% decrease in veteran suicide rates during the same period. The state has made efforts to enhance access to mental health care for veterans, particularly in rural areas, through telehealth services and partnerships with local organizations.
  • Montana, a state with a historically high veteran suicide rate, saw a significant 12% reduction from 2017 to 2022. This can be credited to the implementation of the Montana Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide, which brought together various stakeholders to address veteran suicide through a coordinated, data-driven approach.

A closer examination of the changes in veteran suicide rates between 2017 and 2022 in California, Texas, New York, and Florida reveals varying degrees of progress and highlights some key initiatives implemented in these states.


From 2017 to 2022, California experienced a 9% decrease in veteran suicide rates. Several factors contributed to this decline:

  • The state implemented the “No Wrong Door” approach to ensure that veterans seeking help for mental health issues receive assistance regardless of the service provider they contact.
  • California expanded its Veteran Peer Access Network, which connects veterans with trained peer support specialists to help them navigate the mental health care system.
  • The state increased funding for mental health programs and partnered with non-profit organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the VA, to provide more comprehensive services to veterans.


In Texas, the veteran suicide rate decreased by 5% between 2017 and 2022. Some of the key initiatives that contributed to this improvement include:

  • The Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Grant Program, which provides funding for community-based organizations to deliver mental health support and services to veterans and their families.
  • The Texas Veterans App, a mobile application designed to help veterans access resources, including mental health care services, crisis hotlines, and peer support networks.
  • Expansion of telehealth services, particularly in rural areas, to provide greater access to mental health care for veterans who face geographical barriers.

New York:

New York saw a 6% decrease in veteran suicide rates from 2017 to 2022. Several initiatives have been implemented in the state to address this issue:

  • The creation of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services Peer Support Program, which trains veterans to provide support to their fellow veterans who may be struggling with mental health issues.
  • The expansion of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, a community-based program that offers peer-to-peer counseling and support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • The establishment of the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative, which aims to improve mental health providers’ competency in addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.


Florida experienced a 4% decrease in veteran suicide rates between 2017 and 2022. Some of the key efforts to tackle this issue in the state include:

  • The Florida Veterans Support Line, a toll-free hotline providing emotional support and resource referrals to veterans and their families.
  • The “Forward March” initiative, which brings together state agencies, local governments, and community organizations to identify and address the unmet needs of veterans, including mental health support.
  • Increased funding for alternative therapies, such as equine therapy and art therapy, to supplement traditional mental health care services for veterans.

In conclusion, these four states have made progress in reducing veteran suicide rates from 2017 to 2022 through a combination of increased funding, innovative programs, and collaboration between various stakeholders. However, there is still much work to be done to further decrease veteran suicide rates and ensure that veterans receive the mental health support they need.

Fantasy Fiction About Overcoming PTSD With Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Fantasy Fiction About Overcoming PTSD With Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Once a great warrior, Sir William had fought in countless battles and wars. But after years of combat and bloodshed, he returned home a shell of his former self, haunted by memories of the horrors he had witnessed. The once proud and fearless knight was now plagued by nightmares, anxiety, and a deep sense of emptiness.

Despite seeking help from countless therapists and doctors, nothing seemed to work. Sir William was desperate for a solution. It wasn’t until he heard of a new and experimental form of therapy that he found hope. It was called ketamine-assisted therapy.

Despite his initial reservations, Sir William decided to give it a try. He met with a therapist who specialized in this type of treatment and underwent a series of ketamine infusions. During each session, he was guided through his traumatic memories and emotions in a safe and controlled environment. It was a powerful experience, and Sir William felt as if he was finally making progress.

As the weeks went by, Sir William noticed a change within himself. His nightmares became less frequent, and his anxiety began to dissipate. He started to rediscover the joy in the small things in life and felt a newfound sense of purpose.

One day, Sir William was out riding in the forest when he stumbled upon a group of bandits terrorizing a nearby village. Without hesitation, he sprang into action, drawing his sword and charging towards the bandits. He fought with a renewed sense of vigor and confidence, something he hadn’t felt in years.

As he stood victorious over the defeated bandits, Sir William realized that he had defeated more than just his physical enemies. He had conquered the demons that had been plaguing him for so long. Through the power of ketamine-assisted therapy, he had regained his sense of self and purpose.

From that day forward, Sir William continued to undergo ketamine-assisted therapy, not only for himself but to help other veterans who suffered from PTSD. He knew firsthand the power of this type of treatment and wanted to share it with others who were struggling. In the end, Sir William had not only defeated his PTSD demons but had found a new calling in life, one that would bring him peace and fulfillment for years to come.

New Data Reveals Alarming Rise in Veteran Suicides in 2020

What States Have High Veteran Suicide – A New Look at the 2019 VA Report

The recent Veterans Administration (VA) report on Veteran suicide has once again brought to the forefront the urgent need to address the mental health crisis affecting our nation’s military personnel. According to the report, 2019 saw a total of 6,435 Veteran suicides, an average of 17.6 deaths per day. This is a slight decrease from the previous year’s number of 6,507, but it is still a sobering reminder of the ongoing struggle that many Veterans face.

Looking deeper into the data, we can see that there are some significant differences in suicide rates among the states. In 2019, the states with the highest Veteran suicide rates were Montana, Utah, and New Mexico, with rates of 54.5, 46.6, and 43.5 deaths per 100,000 Veterans, respectively. These numbers are much higher than the national average of 27.5 deaths per 100,000 Veterans.

On the other hand, some states had much lower suicide rates. In 2019, the states with the lowest rates were Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island, with rates of 14.8, 16.6, and 17.2 deaths per 100,000 Veterans, respectively. These numbers are less than half of the national average.

It’s worth noting that the states with the highest suicide rates also tend to have higher rates of gun ownership, which has been identified as a risk factor for suicide. Additionally, these states tend to have higher rates of rural and remote living, which can make it harder for Veterans to access mental health services.

Despite these challenges, there are programs and resources available to help Veterans struggling with mental health issues. The VA offers a range of services, including counseling, therapy, and medication management. In addition, there are numerous non-profit organizations that provide support and resources to Veterans and their families.

It’s essential that we continue to raise awareness of this issue and work to improve access to mental health services for all Veterans, regardless of where they live. By addressing the root causes of Veteran suicide, we can help ensure that those who have served our country receive the care and support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.