I grew up in the Vietnam Era. I joined the military straight out of high school just a few years after Vietnam ended. I have seen the effects of what we now call PTSD on friends and fellow soldiers that served prior to my enlistment. I know many of our war veterans back then did not know, nor did anyone else for that matter, what PTSD was or how it affected our veterans.
Fast forward 25 years and we understand a lot more about PTSD and its effects. But yet, many of our war veterans still struggle with these battle scars. Some have such a hard time readjusting to civilian life, they decide to take their own life.
My guest today has experienced just this sort of turmoil. Aaron Quinonez is a Marine combat veteran who joined the service straight out of high school. Serving 8 years in the Marines and a combat tour in Iraq as part of the Marine 1stANGLICO unit. In case you were wondering about the military acronym for ANGLICO it stands for “Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company” which is the only US Dept. of Defense unit capable of bringing in direct fire support for ground forces from air, sea or land and they are regularly part of special operations forces in combat.
Sgt. Quinonez returned to civilian life, only to find that the real battle had just begun. Suffering from depression, anger and panic attacks, he was diagnosed with PTSD. But just being diagnosed with a problem and receiving the needed help are two entirely different things. This affected Sgt. Quinonez (or “Sgt. Q” as he is called now) decided it would be better to just take his own life that continuing in the agony he was facing on a daily basis.
But, since he is a guest today, I guess you could say, that was not the end of the story! Jesus delivered him, giving him a new life, a new calling and he is now in charge of what is called, “Q Missions.” This is a pathway for veterans and fellow warfighters to help them replace the battle scars of their minds with the joy of serving others through building churches, homes, feeding children and suppling precious hope to struggling communities worldwide.
Sgt. Q has also authored a new book titled, “Healing Thru Service: The Warriors Guide to Overcoming Trauma.”
First, I want to personally thank you and every other service man and woman out there for the sacrifices that you have made on behalf of this nation. I served 12 years in the Army before leaving service in 1989 and entering law enforcement from which I retired in 2011. But I understand, what we call, the “mindset of the warrior” all too well and consider it an honor to have you on the program today.
First question, other than that brief information I just shared, tell us in your words, “Who is Sgt. Q – Aaron Quinonez?”
Tell us about your preparation for and the transition from combat military life to civilian life and what was provided to you and what was lacking to help you with the transition…
And you returned home and entered janitorial services. Did that help or hinder your transition process?
Were you married when you were in service?
Take us through some of the turmoil PTSD has on a war veteran. I know not everyone suffers the same things or to the same degree. But in general, what are some of the things going on the mind of someone suffering from PTSD?
Then came the day you decided to take your life. Can you give us what was going through your mind on that day and what happened to make you change your decision?
Folks, veteran PTSD and veteran suicides are a very real and very serious reality in this country. Just as this condition is very individual in nature, where every person suffers in their own way, the help needs to be individualized as well. Organizations such as those founded by Sgt. Q are not only needful, but directly impacting those who need help and need help now. Your donations are needed – right now. Someone, somewhere is suffering – right now. There is no better time to provide help, than right now.
Go down into the show notes and click the links there to get in touch with Sgt. Q and his organizations, “OperationPopSmoke.com” and “QMissions.org.” And be sure to click the link below and order your copies of “Healing Thru Service: The Warriors Guide to Overcoming Trauma.”
Book: “Healing Thru Service: The Warriors Guide to Overcoming Trauma” – on Amazon