After Serving In Iraq And Afghanistan, A New Mission: Healing | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

After Serving In Iraq And Afghanistan, A New Mission: Healing

Play associated audio

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Staff Sgt. Jon Meadows' first deployment to Iraq, one of his friends, Staff Sgt. William Beardsley, said he wanted to go on a mission in Jon's place.

Jon agreed — and Beardsley died on that mission.

"That was the hardest moment of my life," Jon tells his wife, Melissa, on a visit to StoryCorps in Washington, D.C. "I was ashamed, because I was glad it wasn't me. Then I had the guilt ... If I went on the mission, it wouldn't have been him. I had a picture of him, and I had it everywhere I went. And now I put him on my bookshelf. There's my buddy who got killed. I can never get over that."

Jon was injured multiple times during his service. During his most recent deployment, in Afghanistan, the vehicle he was riding in drove right over an IED.

"My driver floored it," Jon tells Melissa. "And my body slammed so hard up against the top of the vehicle it felt like I had a knife stuck in, like, the middle of my brain."

When he came home, they learned he'd suffered a traumatic brain injury. "You couldn't have a conversation," Melissa tells Jon. "You couldn't follow one-step instructions. You were almost catatonic at times."

Jon asks if Melissa would ever want to give up on him. "No," Melissa tells him. "Absolutely not. Your mission is to get better."

"And that's what I'm trying to do," Jon says. "And it's so hard to say, 'I need help.' "

"I can't soldier it up anymore," he says. "I have to be somebody that wants to be healed. And now we're working with my PTSD, which is a different thing. The only way to treat that is I have to talk about it, too."

Audio produced for Weekend Edition by Katie Simon.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ann Meara, Half Of Husband-Wife Comedy Team, Dies At 85

Ann Meara died Saturday in New York. She had a long varied career in show business and was one half of the 1960s comedy duo, Stiller and Meara. She was marred to Jerry Stiller. Her son is Ben Stiller.
NPR

How Dangerous Is Powdered Alcohol?

Last month, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved a powdered alcohol product, making both parents and lawmakers nervous. Some states have already banned powdered alcohol. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Brent Roth of Wired, who made his own powdered concoction and put it to the test.
NPR

Obama Administration Forced To Defend Strategy Against ISIS In Iraq

On this Memorial Day, the Obama administration finds itself defending its foreign policy strategy in Iraq where the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has captured the city of Ramadi.
NPR

For Aspiring Artists, Social Media Can Get Fans Too Close For Comfort

The power of social media is that aspiring artists can essentially invite fans into their living rooms, but fans can sometimes overstay their welcome.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.