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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Soldier whose photo touched many dies in N.C.

    During the first week of the war in Iraq in 2003, a Military Times photographer captured the image of Army Pfc. Joseph Patrick Dwyer as he raced through a battle zone clutching a tiny Iraqi boy named Ali.

    "Doc" Dwyer's concerned face appeared on the pages of newspapers across the country. Dwyer, 31, died June 28 in Pinehurst, N.C., after years of struggling with mental disorders. During that time, he spiraled into substance abuse and depression, and he found himself in trouble with the law.

    "Of course he was looked on as a hero here," said Capt. Floyd Thomas of the Pinehurst Police. Still, "we've been dealing with him for over a year."

    The day he died, Dwyer called a taxi company for a ride to the hospital, Thomas said. When the driver arrived, "they had a conversation through the door (of Dwyer's home)," Thomas said, but Dwyer would not let the driver in. The driver asked Dwyer if he should call the police. Dwyer said yes. When the police arrived, they asked him if they should break down the door. He again said yes. Thomas told TheFayetteville (N.C.) Observer that bottles of prescription medicine were found near Dwyer.

    Dwyer served with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment as the unit headed into Baghdad at the beginning of the war. Only four of the 21 days in which the regiment pushed forward lacked gunfire, he later told Newsday. The day before Warren Zinn snapped his photo for Military Times, Dwyer's Humvee had been hit by a rocket.

    About 500 Iraqis were killed during those days, and Dwyer watched as Ali's family near the village of Al Faysaliyah was caught in the crossfire. He grabbed the 4-year-old from his father and sprinted with him to safety. Zinn captured the moment on his camera. The image went across the United States, and Dwyer found himself hailed as a hero.

    He did not see it that way.

    "Really, I was just one of a group of guys," he later told Military Times. "I wasn't standing out more than anyone else."

    According to Dwyer, he was just one of many who wanted to help after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He'd grown up in New York, and after the World Trade Center towers came crashing down, he went to see a recruiter.

    "I knew I had to do something," he said.

    Just before he left for Iraq, he got married. When he returned after three months in Iraq, he exhibited the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Like many other combat vets, he didn't seek help.

    In restaurants, he sat with his back to the wall. He avoided crowds. He stayed away from friends. He abused inhalants, he told Newsday. In 2005, he and his family talked with Newsday to try to help other servicemembers who might need help. He talked with the paper from a psychiatric ward at Fort Bliss in El Paso, where he was committed after his first run-in with the police.

    In October 2005, he thought there were Iraqis outside his window in El Paso. When he heard a noise, he started shooting. Three hours later, police enticed him to come out, and no one was injured.

    Soldier whose photo touched many dies in N.C.
    By Kelly Kennedy Army Times


  2. #2
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    armsmaster270 is offline Ret. Sac. P.D. - 270th M.P. Co., Now with D.H.S.
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    What a tragedy. Rest in peace Brother

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  3. #3
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    Dustoff262 is offline Retirement date: December 29, 2019
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    RIP brother. Your story will continue to touch everyone who reads it.
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -- George Orwell

  4. #4
    mack's Avatar
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    So many have difficulty dealing with the real world after the horrors of war. It seems to me he was crying out for help for over a year and no one listened. Maybe in the course of a day, we should stop and listen when someone we are familiar with suddenly starts to act differently. Maybe "Doc"'s spiral downward and death will serve as a wake up call and not have been in vain, maybe in his death like in his life, he will save the life of another.

    Rest in peace Pfc. Dwyer.

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  5. #5
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    Rest in Peace. What a sad story. Thoughts and prayers for the family
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  6. #6
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    God Speed Brother, see on the Parade Field.
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  7. #7
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    It's such a tragedy that the victims of PTSD suffer like that, many in silence until something snaps - In spite of the fact that we know a lot more about PTSD today than we did back in the days of the World Wars, Vietnam & Korea.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie View Post
    It's such a tragedy that the victims of PTSD suffer like that, many in silence until something snaps - In spite of the fact that we know a lot more about PTSD today than we did back in the days of the World Wars, Vietnam & Korea.
    I wonder too, if today's soldiers have the support system that previous soldiers had.

    Since Viet Nam, the transition has been away from "career" military. Young soldiers are no longer being led by older, battle tested men. Read the paper, and you read about Sergeants who are 19 to 23 years old - not the 30 to 40 years of days past. If you don't have someone to talk to, who really "gets" what's going on in your head, it may be that much harder to get help.
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  9. #9
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    Rest in Peace.

    Such a sad, heartfelt story. Shame he and so many others struggle in life with PTS. Come back from fighting the war but can not fight the demons. There needs to be more done!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    R.I.P. brother.
    Dept of the Army Civilian Police
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    Never forget those who fell on 9/11/01
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