MEDICINE

The best medicine for healing is helping others | News

Erica Greene was born on January 17, 1988 and was raised in Waller, Texas by Ben and Mary Ann Talliaferro. She enlisted in the Army shortly before her 20th birthday.Greene joined her two tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Purple Her Heart Her Medal for her commendable actions. I was. Her first mission almost cost her life. Her second tour took a toll on her mental health, but it also put her in a better place to meet the man who would father her husband and her children. rice field.

“I think it’s a blessing,” said Green. “Being on the verge of losing my life made me value my children and my relationships even more.”

Green completed basic training at Ft. He joined Leonard Wood in Missouri in February 2008 and became a military police officer. when she arrived at Fort’s first station. When Stewart was in Georgia, recruits were asked to be sent immediately to Afghanistan to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom. She happily agreed, and in April she was deployed as part of the 549th Military Police Company, 385th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division.

Looking back now, from a mother’s point of view, she understands how frightened her parents are. It must have been when she broke the news that she was going abroad.

“I remember when I left for Afghanistan they were in a tough spot. I told them I needed to put them down as beneficiaries. It’s a word I didn’t expect to use so soon,” Green said.

“Before I left for my first deployment, my father gave me an old metal Green Hornet button. came with a metal lunch box that he had when he was younger. I will give it to you, and you must take it home.” He had a button in his right shoulder sleeve pocket, so I gave it back to him. I took it with my next deployment and reminded myself to go home.

Green’s company was stationed in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, on the border with Pakistan, at the center of the conflict. This was a time when women were not officially allowed to directly participate in combat, with no accommodation on specific missions for her and her two other women in her unit. did.

Luckily, she had no problem with the male soldiers and considered them brothers. Pondering this detail makes Greene a bigger point about how civilians here and now treat each other.

“We had a wide variety of races, colors and sexual orientations in our company. No. We’ve been in the worst of times and got along.People just need to be nice and love each other,” Green said.

Their duties included a variety of roles, mainly working with the Afghan National Army and local police to train them to manage their positions. They were also responsible for keeping threats off the road and monitoring entry control points. By midsummer, they had completed the final stages of their mission in the area and were instructed to relocate.

It was only a three hour drive to their new Forward Operating Base (FOB). But that trip would change her life forever. On July 19, 2008, her team she left Gardez.

“We were moving to a new base, so everything we had was on board. I was the main gunner for a four-car convoy. I was in an open M1151 Humvee,” Green said.

“I saw a little boy by the roadside. He had a shovel in his hand, and when he saw us he shook his head back and forth as if to say no. “I knew something was about to happen. Just as I was about to call, there was a huge explosion. We were hit from below by a remote-controlled detonator,” Green said. said.

Green explained that he had an out-of-body experience. She could see her lifeless body beneath her. She had blood in her eyes from a laceration on her forehead. I heard a little gunshot from the hill. Whoever detonated the explosives was now firing at them.

“As we began to regain consciousness, I realized our car was on fire and full of ammunition. I had to go all the way to the top, but when I tried to get out, the gun got stuck, so I had to crawl out of the back hatch. When I stumbled, the lieutenant let me put all my weight on him and we got to the car behind us before our car started to fly out,” Green said.

The shooting seemed to last forever. We had to part ways to hide. We didn’t have enough cars to bring us all back. Our medics packed our wounds while we waited for a support team moving from three hours away. said Green.

“Someone called air support. You see this thing zoom and then you hear it. Then you feel it.”

It was the most insane sense of pride to have our airstrike team come and annihilate the men who blew us up,” Green said.

All they left behind was the clothes on their backs. All their belongings burned up in the truck. When they finally arrived at their new base, Greene was sewn up and sent back. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in the explosion. She also suffered from PTSD. In November 2008, Greene was sent back to Fort. Stewart in Georgia for medical recovery.

“I self-medicated to work through my flashbacks and nightmares. Being sent home and unable to work left me feeling guilty, ashamed and weak. I think it was irrational, but that’s what happened,” Green said.

She received counseling and started taking medication for anxiety and depression. Greene also got a Yorkshire terrier puppy and named her Shady May. After serving on the base for several years, she was allowed to deploy again. In 2012, she returned to Afghanistan with her former unit.

“A lot of really crazy stuff happened on that tour,” Green said. “Our medic was shot. That’s what I said before, and that’s how I met my husband.”

At the time, Green on Blue was prevalent and several traumatic incidents occurred within the company. These incidents included Taliban incursions into Afghan forces that were there to assist NATO allied soldiers. Internal attacks against U.S. forces have become commonplace.

In February 2012, Erica’s patrol leader, James Green, lost two of his best friends and a fellow soldier in a Green-on-Blue attack. TJ Conrad and Jason Bourne. Erica was chosen to fill his one of their positions. In their grief and loss, James and Erica found comfort in each other. Erica is promoted to Sergeant and sent to another unit. Once they made their relationship public, they realized it was more than just a wartime romance.

“I knew he was the one, so I started planning an intimate wedding. “I agreed. James called my parents and asked permission. My only condition was that my dog ​​had to be there,” Erica said.

Erica and James have returned to Fort. Stewart on January 2, 2013. They got married on January 26th in Savannah, Georgia. Her parents brought in Shady May. The ceremony was held at Green Square, named after Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, who was an aide to George Washington.

Their marriage was glorious, but Erica was still struggling with her mental health. Her fellow team members were also struggling. .

“I wanted to die. “I thank God every day for him and my family,” Green said. We entered Laurel Ridge, a treatment facility. She returned to Fort. A month later, Stewart continued to work toward healing.

“When we started, we were both going to live for life,” said Green. “But after the trauma of our last deployment and the way we were routinely treated around the world, we decided it was time to end it.”

Erica retired medically in August 2014. she was 26 years old. Her contract with the James Enlistment ended in her November 2014. They bought her RV, took a seven-month road trip, and slowly returned to Texas to be close to Erica’s family. The Midori family moved to Madisonville in 2017. James is Sam He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Houston State University and is currently mayor of the city of Madisonville.

The Green family has four children. Ashton, Layla, Emily Jean, Ruby Ann. Healing is still an ongoing process for both. Erica believes she and James saved each other’s lives.

“I don’t know how we would have made it this far without each other,” Erica said. She said she had this epiphany several years ago after having time to broaden her horizons.

“I had never truly celebrated a day in my life. But this time, on the anniversary of my event, I had a whole new appreciation for my experience. I had a baby, and it changed my whole perspective on why I survived, why God spared me, and made me look at the event in a completely different light. I was so generous in bringing these beautiful babies into this world and I truly appreciate my life for making a difference. In that moment my outlook was forever humbled.Being a mom changes you in many ways.As a mother of three, I have a purpose and my mission is over. I can really say that it didn’t hurt me, it just slowed me down,” Green said.

Greene says the best medicine for her is helping other veterans who have gone through similar experiences. 1 year anniversary.

A museum is more than a place to store memorabilia and honor veterans. A beloved community location that provides outreach and support to all branches of the military. Green calls it a safe place for those involved with the service to be vulnerable and share their stories.

“Working here at the Museum, I don’t talk to anyone about my service. When veterans come in, I want them to feel important, I want to hear them, and I want them to A lot of the time they pour out more than they intended to, and the days are filled with work, especially when they didn’t come here to help me. Working with veterans has given me a purpose outside of the military, and I find it rewarding in a very humbling way,” Green said.

There are 8,000 veterans in Walker County, and approximately 19 million people live in the United States. Over 1.9 million soldiers served in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. At least 20% of soldiers who have served in the Middle East suffer from severe PTSD. It is estimated that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Veterans in need of urgent counseling can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-8255, connecting to contact Veterans Affairs staff, and selecting option 1. increase. Additionally, veterans, military or their families can text 838255 or visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/. for assistance.

For more information on the HEARTS Veterans Museum, events and programs, please visit our website at https://heartsmuseum.com/index.html.

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