veterans of disorder


At the end of last summer, photographer Devin Mitchell started traveling around the United States documenting the diverse lives of veterans through semi-surreal portraits for his senior thesis project.

Marine veteran Brad Ivanchan, Mitchell’s co-curator who is featured in the first photo, said, “This is what the war looks like when it’s done for many people.”

“I don’t want to be another number of service members that have killed themselves,” Comini added.

Mitchell said he’s planning on continuing the project to raise awareness about military suicide and MST by turning the project into a book, which he’s funding on Kickstarter. The profits will go toward humanitarian aid projects.


I feel hot flak

Piercing my flesh,

Hitting both legs

My arm and my back.


Two mortars flew

Through Allah’s blue skies,

Life flashed through my eyes

Frags ripped through my thighs.



Pasq-Doc-and me,

Two perfect impacts

Close, only feet.


“Wait, we’re not dead

Wait, how can this be?

We should be in pieces

Blown up, deceased.”


“I’M HIT,” I cried!

“My leg’s paralyzed!”

“Get up…find cover!

"Get up and survive!”


My fireteam, family

Brothers we’re bound,

Eternal bonds solid

Friendships were found.


Enemy fighters

Had flooded the town,

At any moment

AK’s could send rounds.


I recalled my Oath

Our code, it applied,

I hid all my fears

Said my goodbyes.


Picked up my SAW

Belt fed automatic,

Semper Fidelis



From bloody knees

Once more I rose,

That’s how war is

That’s how war goes.


© Copyright

Gregory J. Fino

US Marines

Iraq 2005

Old Breeds Bite

Vietnam Old-Corps

Shamed nations few

Young U.S. lives,

Taken too soon.


Old Breed G.I.s

Died when told to

New-Corps so different,

Hard just a few.




We lost too many,

Eight years too long.


Battle of A Shau

Plagued booby traps

Flag draped new caskets,

Bugles played taps.


Ungrateful nation

Right here at home.

Grunts versus “Charlie,”

Yes, there alone.


Hue City fighting

Six-Eight was Tet

By pungee pit spikes

Young fates, met.



Yours and now mine

To my Generation,

Honored that’s fine.


Exit all jungles

You are dismissed

Your legacy stays,

We’ll see it persists.


© Copyright-Gregory J. Fino


Mental Illness Misconceptions

Part 8: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Only veterans can get PTSD

Although many war veteran do get PTSD, the disorder can affect anyone who is exposed to a traumatic event

  • All veterans get PTSD

While many veterans are affected by PTSD, not all have the disorder.

  • People who get PTSD are weak and can’t handle tough situations

The causes of PTSD are complex and while not everybody who experiences a traumatic event gets PTSD, many do. PTSD is a mental illness and its sufferers cannot choose to have it.

  • PTSD occurs immediately after the traumatic event

Symptoms of PTSD usually occur within a few months of the traumatic event. Sometimes PTSD symptoms take longer to occur.

Sources: PTSD Alliance, Veterans Today, Veterans United

Invisible Wound

Invisible wounds

Deep in our flesh,

Scars appear healed

Memories fresh.


Souls isolate

We keep to ourselves,

There’s no time limit

I’m at year twelve.


Alone we remain

Just digital lives,

Media socialize

Solitude’s rife.


What is this curse

Brought from our wars?

Why are we plagued

By our combat tours?


Is this the end

Will life ever change?

Forever more

Minds rearranged.


Know we are broken

We break not bend,

Know we can heal

Broken parts mend.


Don’t judge our actions

It’s how we cope,

Around our necks

Stop cinching the rope.


With us be patient

Give us your time,

We’ll make repairs

Stars will align.


© Copyright-Gregory J. Fino

•US Marine Corps (Iraq 2005)



A Feminist claims she can receive PTSD over “internet harassment”. Compares herself to War Veterans, then threatens to fire any Veteran calling her out on her claim. Upon video’s release, resorts to ignorance and name calling.

External image

anonymous asked:

if i may, i would love to hear your thoughts about a modern aphrodite+ares+deimos+phobos+eros+anteros+harmonia dynamic???

This has been in my inbox for far too long. Before modernizing it all, first imagine these family with its basics and that of love and war:

Aphrodite and Ares: These two, being the personification of traditional feminine and masculine traits are the kind that would tend to revolve around the other, no matter the circumstances. Love and war incarnate, though neither can always be kind, as love and war can lead to the other in history, never opposites, but traits that work and come together.

Deimos and Phobos: The gods that take what you love and place it in a warzone. These were the gods of fear, in battle and in loss. Deimos as terror and Phobos as panic. What people can fear most of all is death of a person they love, and this is what they could so easily give to another, and also as they were the personifications of what they can give, they would probably be living in constant fear, and all the while appearing as another’s worst nightmare and spreading this in war as they followed Ares into battle.

Eros and Anteros: The gods that take love and put a war in it. Eros was a prankster, when Aphrodite thought someone was more beautiful than her, Eros would be the one to have that person fall in love with the worst of humans, and he did it all with an arrow, an object that can kill and he used it for love. Anteros was a companion and also another that tried to set right what his brother tended to create, but also could be a punisher as his brother was when someone scorned love.

Harmonia: You’ll notice here that Harmonia is the first to not be sectioned off with another, and there is a reason for that, for one, she’s not a twin, and also she is the balance of them all, the goddess of harmony, and the only one of them all that is a goddess of both love and war though peace. She was also a direct voice of the people, actually being the queen of a kingdom people could visit while the rest of her family tended to be faraway beings that still controlled their lives. 

For a modernized version of this, Aphrodite and Ares as  the teenage sweethearts that meet again when one of them is married, and find a way to hide their affair for years, creating several children, probably all pretending them to belong to Aphrodite’s real husband who found out just as Aphrodite is pregnant with their fifth child, discovered the two the act that was the girl’s conception, and as this is the first child Hephaestus perhaps didn’t have a hand in raising, is also out to get her. Probably all followed by lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit for what should happen with the children since their true parentage was discovered, and Ares probably wouldn’t be listed as the dad on the birth certificates until Harmonia, and he probably doesn’t want them anyway because he’s a dick at times and doesn’t know how to raise kids, but also takes too many risks, so he’s a dad now.

Deimos and Phobos could end up in prison at any time, but haven’t yet because they’re not in fights, but they do start them, young veterans, suffering from anxiety disorders and the toughest guys, work for their father, give the best advice on how to understand PTSD. Eros is the best at scams, especially match making ones, that Anteros either works to fix or is creating his own schemes, the most elaborate pranksters, can easily become as cruel as their brothers or father in their own departments, work for their mother. Harmonia is the good kid in a bad situation and the only one her brothers can listen to, would run into danger to stop a fist fight, also cries about stray dogs, tries out for all sports teams because the coach said girls weren’t allowed to play.

“Iraq War: 2003-PTSD”


I’m purging everything Iraq and war related. It’s about damn time. I think 12 years has offered more than enough opportunities to absorb all that I can. I don’t think 12 decades will offer enough opportunities to absorb all that I should.


It’s time to put this dark part of my life, a minuscule part, into a box, close the lid, give it to someone I trust, my sister, and have her safely put everything on a shelf. The reason being, I know I’m not losing my personal memories and history. I’m only tucking them away. Subliminally putting it all into my subconscious mind. Literally putting everything physically out of reach.


I had one hell of a short, yet profound conversation with a Marine I’ve never personally served with or met in person. Our communication has never exceeded a few sentences here and there via social media. Tonight was a bit different though. Tonight was very different, in fact. As I relinquished to my sister my last photo, my only thoughts revolved around the only topic this Marine and I discussed. Somebody, somewhere, somehow, ALWAYS has it worse. These were the thoughts that filled my mind as that very last picture read “sent.” No longer my possession, never again my obsession.


(To my Sister)

And without further adieu, my final pic taken by “yours truly.” Sorry for sending so many. In comparison to the total amount, this is a small portion, and with the exception to the obvious comical photos, they hold the most importance, pertinence, and historical value. These are pictures of the incidents, missions, accomplishments, triumphs, and tragedies we all endured.


They have already made history, and will forever go down in history, as there’s no doubt they (we) will be discussed in regards to the Iraq War forever. I never shared these facts and stories with any of you. I don’t know why. 49 killed, so many died, hit so hard some think it’s a lie.


These pieces of information, illustrating my life at war, is a glimpse into my psyche. At least hopefully. A part of my trauma, a part of my triumph. Part of an explanation as to why I’ve been impacted in such an enormous, profound manner, with such magnitude, from such a small, seemingly stereotypical, and even uneventful part of my life.


This is why I tattooed myself with memorials, names, dates, and facts. I can’t forget. It would be a disgrace to stop remembering. It would be a disgrace to my Brothers who gave everything. They are why I cannot simply get over what happened, when what happened is still processing this very minute. What happened will continue to process until I die.


This is why I’m not the same. This is why I have such an impulsive urge to continue fighting for these men. In my mind, I’ve been fighting next to them still, since 2005. Now, in 2017, fighting is synonymous with helping. Helping is now the sacrifice. The sacrifice is forever. The sacrifice didn’t end when the tour in Iraq ended. The sacrifice didn’t end when my contract ended.


Things won’t ever be the same. They can, will, and even are good again, but the same? No. I can’t imagine you won’t be changed in someway yourself, simply looking at these pictures, and reading the documents and stories that accompany every detail, of every image. Imagine living it. I’m grateful you never will have to. It’s something you all have the choice to only imagine. Try though. Please try. Please try to understand. Please try to realize I’m not different. I’m broken, and I’m supposed to be broken. That’s OUR normal. I’m grieving. I’ll always grieve.


Try to imagine coming home from one planet to another, where no one has a clue about the world where you just spent every split-second trying to stay alive, but everyone has a clue when you should be “fine” again. On this planet, only a few know exactly what one human can, will, and without hesitation can, will, and do to another human. And why? All because of where you happen to stand on the earth. All because of where you began your life on a sphere of dirt.


War. Simply two groups of human beings. Each group lobbing hard objects back-and-forth at one another. The only goal to stop peoples hearts from beating. Which hearts you take aim at is literally decided by where luck happens to demographically place you on this planet. It’s THAT simple. It’s THAT stupid.


My short and personal war wasn’t over with my closest near death experience. By no means my first, just my last, there, on THAT planet. A new war began when those two mortars forced me out of the sandbox and back to this land. This Planet, not brown and void of all other colors. back to this one, filled with so many colors was overwhelming. Neither were alien planets. I’d simply become an alien with no planet.


Now my new war wasn’t called “war.” My new war was called funeral detail. The details required everything the human senses should not sense, and were not intended to experience. Smelling death and decomposition protruding from caskets while maintaining perfect military bearing. Inspecting the uniforms of my dead brother’s, once living beings, now returning home, being taken off planes wrapped in plastic and cardboard like furniture.


My detail. Covering catastrophic wounds with folded American flags, just minutes before funerals began, and families arrived. Looking at the dead faces of friends, the last time I saw them, full of life. Alive and talking about “how good it was to take another breath,” like Joe Goodrich last said to me standing on the balcony at FOB Hit. Or the last time I talked to Bryan Richardson, and me telling him “you’re the only Marine guaranteed to live.” He was our company radio man. He should have been relatively safe being with the Company Commander at all times. He was our first killed in action less than a month into our tour. I’m not superstitious, but Jesus Christ do I wish I would’ve knocked on wood that day. Did I jinx him?


The last thing I remember about Ryan Kovacicek (Kov), was him playing stairway to heaven on his guitar. Jesus it sucked. He literally played it wrong in every way. I literally don’t ever want to hear it played correctly in any way, ever again. Now I’m looking at his gray face, frozen in time. I see his Vietnam veteran dad, one of my heroes, next to the foot of the casket. I can tell he’s looking at my medals. I know he sees that one that I wish I didn’t receive. The same medal Ryan and I earned for the same reasons. We were hit by the enemy. The outcomes couldn’t be more different. I’m wearing a medal that my dead friend in a coffin next to me is wearing. He’ll wear it for eternity. Ill take mine off in a few hours. Kov’s dad then then asked how I got mine. How’d I get my Purple Heart. How’d I get that mass produced, left over piece of metal and fabric from WWII, that I’d be walking outside with, while Ryan would be going underground with his. “I see you have a Purple Heart son what happened?” I’m thinking but not saying “the same way your son got killed, Sir. Mortar fire. Except two mortars hit me, not one like in your sons case.”


Why did I freeze? Why wouldn’t I? Who wouldn’t? Because any normal parent would at least for a second think, “why are you alive and my kid is torn apart with awful wounds, lifeless in a casket.” How could a completely normal human emotion, and natural question like that, not travel through someone’s mind? A grieving parents mind? How could I not have the insight to know that thought surely went through his mind? How could I not be affected? How could he not be affected? How could no-one be affected?


Now Marines from my tour in 2005 are still being killed in action, today in 2017. It’s like a time machine created with 2005 as it’s only chronological destination. Marines are still dying from wounds endured 12 years ago. Just ask Shurvon’s Mom. He died of his 2005 combat injuries just two months ago. This is the never ending war, the war with only a start date, the war with only a beginning, the war that only ends with Post Traumatic Stress.


I watched ISIS retake “Hit” (Iraqi City) live on TV. The city I almost died in. The city my friends DID die in. How can I consider myself human if I’m not completely affected by 49 of my Marines, and 4500 troops in total, all killed in action, all killed for nothing, all killed in vain. How could I not be affected? How can you not be affected?


I grew up intrigued by the Vietnam War. I always wished I could be a Vietnam veteran. I still do. I never won’t. They are warriors through and through. The extent of their sacrifice, incomprehensible. The ingratitude for their sacrifice, inexcusable. Their treatment from this country, indescribable.


Watch what you wish for because dreams do come true. Watch what is reality, it can easily deceive. Some dreams are nightmares, they also do come true. Remember though, someone’s nightmare will always be worse. Keep fighting. Continue sacrificing. Wake your brother from his dream. Wake your brother from his nightmare, keep moving. A brother somewhere is having a worse nightmare nearby.



°°°°A non-dysfunctional Veteran, with a normal reaction, to so many abnormal situations.


© Copyright-Gregory J. Fino-March 23, 2017

•US Marine Corps (0311)

•PurpleHeartPoetry (Iraq 2005)

•3rd Battalion 25th Marines, Kilo Company


P to the T to the S and D



“Is this the last night

I will go to bed?

Will the next day

Be my blood shed?”

“Is this the last day

I will arise?

Will today’s tasks

Be my demise?”

These are the thoughts

Pondered in war

Thoughts contemplated,

On combat tours.

Each ticking second

Perhaps the last “tock”

We go fight these wars,

G.I. issued clock.

These sorts of stressors

Wear psyches down

Mental oppressors,

Brought homeward bound.

You tested your luck

Came home alive

Not all’s the same,

Once you arrive.

You feel like an alien

Not of this Earth

You can’t readjust,

Feel of no worth.

Nobody gets you

They don’t understand

You felt less alone,

In war torn land.

Friends who were family

Go their own way

Brothers and Sisters,

Leaned on each day.

You’re now alone

Purpose unclear

Loneliness plagues you,

Life’s your new fear.

Something’s not right

What’s wrong is unclear

What’s clear is what’s wrong,

It’s now more severe.

Your mind, has changed

From trauma and stress

Invisible wounds,

Emotional mess.

Ignorance fuels

The stigmas you face

You face being judged,

By those you kept safe.

Learn for yourself

About P-T-S

Learn only facts,

Truth nothing less.

It’s your new mission

It’s not too late

Disseminate facts,

Decimate hate.

Spread all new knowledge

Teach all you can

Your ticket home,

To your homeland.


© Copyright-Gregory J. Fino6