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Thursday, September 3, 2009

PTSD and a Medal of Honor Winner

A new documentary about the effort to name an airfield in Idaho about a Medal of Honor winner, Pappy Boyington, a Marine pilot who led the Black Sheep Squadron in WWII and who was also a prisoner of war.

Quoted for educational purposes from USC News:

Boyington, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, became famous for his heroism as a pilot during World War II, commanding the famous VMF-214, also known as the “Black Sheep Squadron.” He was captured and became a prisoner of war for nearly the last two years of the war. Upon his return, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.Boyington later wrote Baa Baa Black Sheep, an best-selling autobiography and inspiration for the ’70s TV series of the same name. But the hero’s personal postwar life was plagued with problems, including alcoholism, which contributed to multiple divorces and bad debts. It was judgment of his personal life that initially prevented county officials from renaming the Idaho airfield.
“I do have a section of the film called ‘Pappy’s Reputation,’ which explores what the implications of his reputation were on the campaign locally,” he said. “As a filmmaker, you hope to be a part of dialogue about a subject. In screening the film about a WWII hero on military bases, some Marines bring up the point that as a society, we didn’t come to understand PTSD and its effects until after Vietnam.”

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