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Category: SN1

"Physics of War" by Peter Bourret

Image: Veteran Veritas LogoJust hours before I returned to the “Physics of War” for the 5th reading, I was listening to the Top 40 songs of the 60’s on an LA radio station- remiscent of the days in Vietnam when we had rare moments of respite from the rumble of war. On New Years Eve 1968, with a crummy transitor radio pressed to my ear I was listening to Casey Kasem’s Countdown on Armed Forces Radio. The tune etched in my musical memory is the hit song by the Rascals, “People Gotta Be Free.” The lyric, “peace in the valley, people gotta be free,” synced with the sky lit up by illumination and tracer rounds has been embedded in the recesses of my brain to this moment. I was on perimeter bunker duty that night with the 7th Marines. The joy was short lived, as we returned to search and destroy patrols and killing the next morning. Enter, “The Physics of War.” The revelation here is that 24 hour period in the life of one grunt Marine is where the notion of “parallel lives” may have had its origin. Moving from the elation of music to a lean, mean, killing machine in such a compressed fashion, is where the poet Bourret is at his best in corraling the consequent emotions. Few poets, novelists or essayists are as adept at penetrating these this dual state of being as does the author Peter Bourret.

His metaphoric concept of PTSD being “shrapnel through time,” leaves me speechless. One line, “with the abacadabra of an exploding mortar round, Nam magic turned you into Humpty Dumpty,” captures the night I was clocked beyond any literal diary entry. Ergo, the potency of poetry. Bourret has the right stuff and the bards knack to dive deep into those subterranean caverns of war experience. “Words fly away like geese in winter.” Bourret leave the veteran of war in a spiritual clearing with the primal knowingness that we are not alone in our memories of combat.

The soul is the center of our conscious life. No one can see it or calculate its existence, but we can ,”see it feelingly,” in the words of Shakeaspeare in King Lear.. Philosophers define the soul as the, “me” at the center of our sense of self. In one sense our soul liberates us from our surroundings, and brings forth the ethical “I” we call ourselves. Free to be and choose. In war, the the tribal mission reduces the soul to a nothingness that is replaced with a collective identity with power and tradition. Again, the advent of the parallel lives of a combat veteran.

The alphabet only has two letters tonight, VC.” says Bourret. The intense singularity of focus needed to survive and defeat the enemy vaporizes all ancestral notions of the life of giving thrust of the soul and turns one into a highly trained collection of instincts. The only way home to the the restoration of the soul and the remerging of those parallell lives is by way of the potency of poetry and , “The Pysics of War.

An evening spent with the collection of 47 poems will elevate and reconnect the civilian with the soldier in a mutuality of understanding of the pschic costs of war… “The Physics of War”, by Peter Bourret can be found on Amazon Books

Michael Patrick Brewer/ Squad Leader/Mortarman/ 1st Batallion 7th Marines/ Vietnam 1968-69.

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New Blog "Veteran Veritas" Now Posting

My friend, Michael Patrick Brewer, known as “Mike,” has begun blog posting for the Desert News Post. His blog, Veteran Veritas, was formerly featured in the TucsonCitizen.com.

His declaration to the readers here is to be diligent in bringing you timely and compelling material that relates primarily to Veterans Affairs and occasional critical issues related to life in this country of ours.

His mission is to provide a space for advocacy and dialogue with veterans worldwide. He is a trained Veterans Service Officer, and published writer in the arena of Veterans Affairs.

Mike and his wife moved to Apple Valley, California from Tucson, Arizona five years ago. The motivation was simply to be closer to their family who had all relocated to Southern California.

Mike served in the United States Marine Corps as a combat squad leader with the 7th Marines and 1st Marine Air Wing/ MAG-16 Provost Office in Vietnam. He has been a mentor for returning combat veterans, with the benefit of training gained over the past 40 years of advocacy for veterans.
~ Merritt Retreat Center Veteran Program in Payson, Arizona 2005-2010.
~ Resiliency Training via Trauma Resource Institute at Claremont College – Crisis Intervention Certificate
~ St.Mary’s Hospital Mental Health Unit – RN Nursing Program/ Crisis Intervention Counselor
~ University of Arizona Counseling and Guidance Community Training/ 1973
~ Gestalt Institute of Tucson -1975
~ Pointman International Ministries Inc./Arizona State Coordinator.1999-2010.
~ Vietnam Veterans of America Leadership and Veteran Advocacy Workshops
~ International Conferenc of War Veteran Ministers
~ Mindfulness 8 Week Training with Purple Mountain Institute.Dr.Terry Davis, student of Jon-Kabat Zinn.
~ Thirteen years in combat veterans group at Tucson Vet Center.Dr.Ken Mroczek
~ “Soldiers Heart” Retreat and Training for Military Chaplains, Psychologists and Family Therapists.Dr. Edward Tick author “War and the Soul.” Joshua Tree, California 2013
~ Desert Sanctuary Treatment Center for Youth. Counselor for last chance incarcerated youth.
~ Picture Rocks Retreat Center.PTSD and Spirituality.Tucson, Az.
~ Franciscan Renewal Center; Healing Memories Facilitator Workshop.Scottsdale,Arizona.
Volunteer at Victorville Federal Prison as Member of California Writers Club High Desert Branch
Member of High Desert Resource Network.

A former resident of Tucson, he now resides in Southern California, married to Lydia, a writer of her own fame, with three grown children, and three grandchildren. His daughter Heather is a Therapist in Santa Monica.

Mike attended University of Arizona, majoring in Nursing/Philosophy and Religious Studies. Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Sports Management/ Tucson University. Completed one year Journalism classes, under the fine tutelage of Jane White, Editor at Arizona Daily Star and professor at Pima Community College. Also contributed to the Aztec New

He was a member of the Tucson Citizen Editorial Advisory Board for the old print edition in the mid 1990’s.

He was one of the nine original Blogger for the “TucsonCitizen.com,” a Gannett owned newspaper,from June, 2009 until its perfunctory closing on January 31st,2014.

Mike moved to Tucson, Arizona from Dixon, Illinois in 1959. He loves to tell family and friends that he was the first paper boy for El Con Mall! What a wonderful way for a young boy to get to know a new city, by way of a relationship with all of the retailers at El Con, many of whom were long time Arizona families: Abby Grunewald, Dave Bloom and Sons, Levy’s, Steinfelds. It is no wonder he went on to a 24 year career in commercial property management and leasing. He was recruited by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson as a Property Manager in 1989.
The project was complete in 1993.

Brewer is a two term past president of the Building Owners and Managers Association International, (BOMA) and their Congressional Liaison for five years. He served for five years on the City of Tucson Downtown Advisory Committee, Chaired the Downtown Committee for the Tucson Trade Bureau, and served for nine years on City of Tucson Budget Advisory, 1989-99. was the founder of El Centro de Tucson Executives, was Executive Director of Pima County Sports Authority 1995-97. Selected for Tucson Town Hall Leadership and Consensus Building 2007.

Mike is a founding member and Past Commandant of the Apple Valley Marine Corps League;now Victor Valley Marine Corps League #1383.Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars; American Legion; Disabled American Veterans. Past President and Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America. Past Arizona State Coordinator and Chaplain for Pointman Ministries International. Member of International Conference of War Veteran Ministers. Volunteer at Orenda House for Homeless Veterans.

Over the past 30 years Brewer has served on the boards of: YMCA, Salvation Army, Fan Kane Neurohabilitation Foundation, American Youth Soccer/Area Coaching Administrator for nine years and Section Trainer. AIA certified High School Soccer Referee. Two terms as Grant/Campbell Neighborhood Association President. Boy Scouts of America Troop Leader and Chairman of Soccer and Scouting for Catalina Council. Director of Volunteers and Ambassador Program for Tucson Downtown Alliance. Certified Tourism Ambassador. Conductor for Old Pueblo Trolley. Recipient of two Copper Letters from the City of Tucson for civic involvement. Vice Chair of Victor Valley College Bond Advisory.

Mike loves soccer, the “beautiful game,” and coached for 24 years, both youth and high school. He is a certified National Referee. He officiated in high school for 11 years. He and his wife were part owners, along with retired Air Force Col. Bob Meacham and Dan Byers of the Tucson Amigos USL Soccer Franchise 1996-2000, a predecessor to FC Tucson, yet never permitted to play seasonally in City or County owned stadiums. It is joy to now see that soccer has a seat at the table in Tucson. No more upstairs, downstairs.

Mike retired in February of 2002. His life’s mission now is the beaches, mountains and lakes of California and to be accessible to family, fellow veterans and life long friends. Prayer is embedded in his life, as an Outpost Leader with Pointman International Ministries Inc.and International Conference of War Veteran Ministers.
Follow Mike’s blog for pertinent stories, many of which you won’t find in the mainstream media, featuring local, state, federal and international issues impacting veterans and their families.

Agent Orange Diligence Pays Dividends for Air Force Veterans

Image: Veteran Veritas LogoFull disability benefits are now granted to veterans of the United States Air Force who were assigned to Fairchild C-123 planes that dropped the poisonous herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The credit for this decision goes to Retired Air Force Major Wes Carter and his fellow servicemen who were exposed and who were tenacious in their fight to overturn a Veterans Administration decision on June 18th, 2001 that denied their claims because their service on these planes occured after the war ended. The pilots contested the decision with the assertion that the planes were contamined from their previous spraying of the agent Dioxin.
With the help of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences the VA position was reversed and now approximately 2000 veterans are eligible for claims

It is said, “With patience and diligence the mouse bit through the cable.” This aphorism fits well with the work of Major Wes Carter.
For years I have maintained that 100% Disabled Veterans are a powerful force to reckon with, as many have nothing but time and skills to seek rightful care and justice for their fellow veterans.
Major Carter was rated 100% disabled in 1990, as a result of spinal injuries incurred during the Gulf War. In 2011 he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, a illness that is on the Veterans Administration list of service connected debilitating and life threatning ailments. Upon discovering that many of his colleagues in the Air Force had the same diagnosis, with some fatal, he elected to take the VA to task. The symtomatic coincidences were closer to science than accident.
Many of these planes were used for reserve squadrons from 1972-1982 at three Air Force Bases in the United States. They were not clean or clear of dioxin which the research from the IOM concluded. These craft have subsequently been destroyed by smelting them down.
This saga was close to home for this writer as I posted many of Major Carters early findings and seminal research at the “TucsonCitizen.com” Veteran Veritas.
One of the Air Force Bases in the study was Davis Monthan in Tucson, Arizona where I resided until moving to Apple Valley in 2010. I continued the Blog for the Tucson Citizen and continued to track and post Major Carter’s relentless quest for justice for himself and fellow pilots.
You might imagine how surprised I was to receive a call one day from the U.S. Department of the Air Force wanting to know exactly who I was and why I was interested in this mans story.
I told them the raw truth. I am a Marine and also a victim of Agent Orange and that we as veterans of the Vietnam War  will never, ever quit in assuring that all those exposed to this defoliating chemical are identified and cared for at VA facilities. Creepy as that call was, they were quite polite and said thank you.This is what is meant by, “We leave no soldier behind.”