combat

  Fighting was a practiced routine for Lieutenant Ivan Castro. But when a mortar round struck the rooftop of his sniper’s post in Iraq, he found himself in a battle more difficult than even he could have imagined. The direct hit killed two other soldiers and nearly claimed Castro’s life as well. Mangled by shrapnel and badly burned, Castro was medevac’d to Germany more dead than alive. His lungs were collapsed. He couldn’t hear. One eye had been blown out, the nerve to the other severed.

In the weeks and months that followed, Castro would find that physical darkness was nothing compared to the emotional darkness of loss and despair. Desperate for a reason to live, he eventually fought his way back to health through exercise and a single-minded goal: running a marathon. 

Today, Castro helps prepare soldiers for combat, working exactly as if he were “sighted.” His book (co-authored by Jim DeFelice) is Fighting Blind: A Green Beret's Story of Extraordinary Courage.

 

Ron Kovic
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

  Ron Kovic was really born on the 4th of July. Forty years ago the Vietnam vet — wounded in combat and in a wheelchair ever since — published his classic war memoir, later made into a film with Tom Cruise – Born on the Fourth of July. The new anniversary edition features a foreword by Bruce Springsteen.

In addition, Kovic - who continues his activism -  has written a new memoir entitled Hurricane Street, which chronicles the 1970s activism of the American Veterans Movement.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council and a speaker in their First Wednesdays lecture series. Dr. Edward Tick, director of the Soldier’s Heart Clinic, will be talking about "The Human face of War: Combat, Healing, and the Humanities" on Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport, Vermont. Dr. Tick explores the inner world of combat, the universal dimensions of veterans’ wounding, and a philosophy of healing combat’s consequences—recognizing that while war most directly affects veterans, it wounds us all.

Dr. Edward Tick joins us now along with Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications for Vermont Humanities.

Listener Essay - The Retreat

May 23, 2013

   Dan New is a combat Vietnam Veteran and an artist who loves to write and photograph as expression of his life.