[Being updated for inclusion in my next book, Uniformed: Service in Wartime.] My parents survived World War 2 and started our family in Michigan in a town where there was unacknowledged privilege, When President Kennedy pointed skyward and spoke of national service and going to the Moon it was consistent with what my parents let me know about during my youth. On June 4, 1969, on my graduation from the United States Air Force Academy, my parents watched from the football stadium seats and saw President Nixon commission me June 4, 1969. I was in the Space Program cohort under Brig. General Harold F. Funsch, M.D., Command Surgeon of Military Airlift Command. [His picture and bio.] He was like a second father to me, trustworthy and let me make my own errors as I worked out complex assignments during the Space Shots years. He was in command of all flight physicals in Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force.
When I received an Honorable Discharge on September 11, 1972, I had been through a Hell that nobody knew about. There was never a Vietnam War, and only after terrible suffering had happened the term Vietnam Era was coined. Now in the 2000s those of us who survived are being contacted and presented with a Vietnam War Veteran button. That helps a lot. In recent years I sought to prove the danger that I was placed in and the risks I took to support our nation. However I discovered that the Archives have lost the records after the end of the Vietnam War. They would not corroborate my existence in the Flight Surgeon team that had been planning Space Command with General Funsch. He gave me special assignments. Space training site visits. The New Mexico Chimp Lab for space faring Chimp rocket blasts. He said they chose to not allow me to ride the rocket sled that broke the sound barrier years before. I saw astronaut uniforms and airplanes that had not been publicized. I saw the same footage in a couple of films that had Tom Hanks in them (Apollo 13, and Bridge of Spies I think); there are many Cinema Therapy listings of films that document skills I had developed without even recognizing that I had been shaped and formed to feel the exhilaration of adventure and service. I was doing courier duty for him a number of times carrying envelopes to locations in USA and overseas. He knew that what I saw shocked and puzzled me. He knew that I was in training for a team and had booked membership on a mountain climb to the peak of Mount Rainier in Washington State. He didn't say there was a Vietnam WEar. You see, there was never a declaration of Vietnam War, simply assignments in which my friends and men I personally helped to train died horribly. That's over now. The crabs in my jungle warfare school are no longer eating at my feet. Preparing to close this section:
Back to my proud time of service that my parents prepared me to accept:
The General was somewhat flamboyant [See: To Generals I knew] You can google him as: Major Funsch flight surgeon planning Space Command 1960. However later President Nixon destroyed that and ordered a stop to Air Force Space Command. In recent years I found out the General's place in military history. He had given me ribbons and citations that were given to his unit. about 12 years ago I discovered online info about the medical staff in the 19670s-70s loved him for inventing the C9 Nightingale. His planes were designed to land in jungle and on airstrips in Germany. He was a true American genius in medicine and strategic military options that saved lives. Especially loving and grateful were the active and attractive nurses who cared for the injured soldiers whom they received on gurneys carrying stretchers that hade been suspended beneath helicopters that brought injured soldiers out of the dangerous jungle and carried them to safer airstrips. They then flew to a base in Germany. I call this his Vietnam Extraction flights. In recent films about war and espionage and working in challenging assignments as office staff in some nations, the hero in the movie needed to be Extracted. [About six years ago I wrote a short story and photo display and Performance Art titled simply, "Extraction."]
I only learned about the death and injury of soldiers many years later. The C9 Nightingale flight nurses and a surgeon on the plane had been given an operating table by General Funsch. He mounted it at the back of the aircraft passenger cabin, it became a flying patient ward. It was on the back of the light of special C-9 Nightingale planes. Years later I learned about this; it was actually a secret that he did not want anyone to disclose via Leaks. Luckily years after the Vietnam Era had ended there were celebrations and videos about the marvels that My General pulled off. And yes this flamboyant man had a smart and adaptable woman beside him all his life. His wife I am sure had to support his mental anguish in 1971-72 when he realized that President Nixon had pulled the plug on developing a space program with MAC being part of the glorious history. Sadly unknown forces led to the eventual shut-down of MAC and hiding of the wartime full records. In fact General Funsch resigned in 1972; he may have resigned as a statement to President Nixon. He died in 1984; maybe he died with a wounded heart over all the death that he had seen in his career from World War II to Vietnam. It wasn't necessarily a broken heart because he was too committed and flamboyant. Maybe in his last days on earth he thought about what the Vietnam War had done to all the men and women he helped prepare to directly to serve the injured soldiers so soon after major injury. He was my General. MAC was my unit. (!!!) However, this flamboyant general never left his memoirs. I could not find his wife or family so I could not write a biography or memoir of my time with this Second Dad looking after the health and commitment level of thousands of nurses, doctors and our office staff.
I have written an sketched out memoir titled: Uniformed: Service in our wartime. I was told by the subsequent unit (Air Mobility Command) that those things never happened, the records are not available for you to prove that you were there and saw death and was assigned in the eastern theater into doing peace missions to Ethiopia. Ethiopia broke apart and murders were rampant the month he ordered me to visit twice. Luckily I sensed the revolver and knife in the two assassins and made a rapid escape in less than 45 seconds. (The Comedy Club description is more complex and has wowed listeners for decades.)
I look forward to making time to hear your story and how we may benefit this nation and deepen our positive presence in the world.
Ralph Wood Wilson
AKA: "Woody", Kitemaster, Routefinder
Washington DC and Hawai'i
Psychology Today Therapist Directory listing [link]
Addendum: A page of photos during my recall of flashbacks after military service -- click here.
This new USAFA page is an unlisted tab; bookmark it to return easily. It's intended for "private" access and not accessible for search engines. It is for Academy leadership and others who may gain from the information that I share here now that I have reclaimed my public status as a former officer in the armed forces of the United States. I am now officially a member of Military Officers Association of America (www.MOAA.org).
Directorate for Climate, Culture and Diversity at USAF Academy: They now are ordered to be appropriate with women; which means equality. (Page on Academy site.)
USAF Academy Chaplains to be addressed by USAF Chief of Chaplains -- February 23, 2016, the National Day of Prayer. (Click to view full size poster) The event at the Academy includes Ministry Fair prior to the 11:30 event. I am considering mailing a physical poster that could be displayed that includes my story. [I sent this via PDF]
NOTE TO SELF: Include below warning about the VA being research oriented and that the research is limited to failures and defeats and how much those affect the veteran...NOT to building and celebrating Resilience, Vision, Creativity, Dynamic Social Leadership. That policy causes the VA to focus on negativity as well as putting their attention only on making sure that the veteran is not a danger to themselves or to society. That means that they do not equip the veteran with healthy resources that are neutral -- only a power struggle exists between economic interests and religious rivalries. The VA is "dumbed down" on purpose. I am deeply experienced with the new Integrative Health and Wellness program for mind and body -- they are constrained to deal with restrictions on what they can tell to the veterans. (I may be able to make this paragraph be more positive and more documented about the subtle censorship I detected in my many visits there.)
Most recent service begun: Candidate 2016 -- DC Advocacy Partners.
I have been accepted into their nine-month program for advocacy training to help people with disabilities, -- www.DCPartners.iel.org.
Below that is the video of me [Burton Goldberg's picture is there because his assistance helped me put on an event in 1989] speaking as spokesperson for Routefinders presentng Wisdom Day 2016 as a way to celebrate mental health and things that we can do as individuals and as consumers of health services by western and Complementary and Alternative Medicine specialists.
My claim of allegiance is to the entire nation, not to one branch of service. Because I had intimately risked my life during the Cold War and the Vietnam War while undergoing leadership training and practice while a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy -- with U.S. Army, Navy SEALS and Air Force Prisoner-of-War realistic experience. I have stated that "I'm one third Army, one third Navy, one third Air Force and All Human." I don't buy into dismissive inter-service rivalry or disrespect.
I offer Coherence Therapy-informed listening as well as No-Secrets-Revealed Psychotherapy sessions and body psychotherapy services.
I've taken training from Peter Levine who is now behind the Somatic Experiencing trainings for bodyworkers, acupuncturists and others.
Expanded Veterans Project flyer from 2014: Click here, PDF
See video: Wisdom Day 2015
PTSD and deeply embedded trauma:
Note: Dr. Van Der Kolk emphasizes that trauma treatment benefits women and children too.
In interviews he said that for every one veteran, there are nine women who have been traumatized and that the treatments that work for military veterans also can be part of the help that benefits women and children.
1. Interview by David Van Nuys, Ph.D., on ShrinkRapRadio.com | 2. Interview by Krista Tippett on OnBeing.org.
Below are some video images taken during the Concert for Valor honoring veterans of all eras. We saw active military and veterans and families. It was not all smiles. The helicopter overhead in this instance was a sign of friendly presence, much different than some veterans used to associate with the sound. Concert for Valor site.
Routefinders has contacted the Washington National Cathedral [site] because they invite and welcome people of "all faiths and none" to walk their intricate grounds and hallways because the Cathedral has recently been declared the nation's home for spiritual support.
I'm a veteran and I am in support of all veterans and their families, as well as their communities. Additions are planned for this page. [See also my republished teaching blog: Flickerbacks for Veterans of All Kinds.]
Gold Star Wives national organization.
Our Nation Is Still At War -- I found motivation in this now-classic film.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. With Russell Crowe and Ralph Bellamy.
Treating veterans is an important challenge after they are welcomed home.
New: For the entire family -- Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) sound and movement therapy system, iLs Home Rental Program. This is now known to give positive results for trauma rehab as well as general boost for test-taking, memory, coordination. See my clinical site's Integrative Listening Systems page for more information. Here is the link to the latest flyer on economic access to this equipment which can be used by the whole family: iLs Home Rental Program [PDF]
Addition: If your Circle of Care includes only professionals who practice with the model known as "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" (CBT),please read the following.
CBT is designed to meet very basic, "grunt-level" tasks of "getting the job done." My intent is for you to eventually take command of your own life and exercise your inner "Dynamis" or Creative aspect. CBT's historical usefulness is respected but is not included in the approaches that I and others in the Coherence Therapy network recommend.
For more, consult the Coherence Psychology Institute (www.CoherenceTherapy.org).
On my clinical site, read about Coherence Therapy and options for "building a better brain": link to page.
Here is the link to an interview by psychologist David Van Nuys, of CT co-developer Bruce Ecker --
Interview by psychologist and educator David Van Nuys, Ph.D. about recent "Developments in Neuropsychotherapy", with Dr. Laurence Heller.[link to interview page]. That podcast (ShrinkRapRadio.com) includes the reading of my "letter to the editor" about my support of his new position as official broadcaster on Armed Forces Radio Network.
Recently participated in a workshop titled, Healing the Wounds of War. [site:TraumaHealing.com]
Download transcript of full interview at NICABM - pdf
Next is this link to a longer interview by psychologist David Van Nuys, Ph.D. with Stephen Porges, Ph.D.
[Click here to go to page to hear/download MP3 interview]