Army Sergeant Jacob David George, of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Jacob served honorably in the United States Army as a paratrooper and explosives expert. He was part of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan earning the rank of Sergeant. SGT George was honorably discharged in 2004.
Jacob came back a changed man. He said that after witnessing wholesale slaughter and picking through body parts he was affected by Post Traumatic Stress. He understood that to be profoundly affected by war was not a disorder. Jacob often talked about the moral component of PTS, the trauma caused by taking part in or witnessing events that are contrary to your very being. This is different to the PTSD of the military psychiatrist who is interested in events that put the individuals own life in danger. This is the opposite, it is trauma caused by harming others.
Jacob spent the years after he served in Afghanistan riding the country on his bicycle, sharing the ugly truth that he was told to live and experience, in the supposed name of democracy and freedom. He protested, sang, shared his story, assisted others having a hard time and fought hard for peace and justice. Jacob cycled thousands of miles, “A Ride Till the End,” he called it, to promote peace and justice. He rallied fellow veterans to take political action. He stood strong for military resisters–especially those who were prosecuted for refusing to do the things he himself had participated in.
Jacob advocated for healing rituals and ceremonies to come to terms with the trauma of war. He talked about the need to heal the soul as well as the brain. He described throwing his medals back to the US Government during the 2012 NATO protests in Chicago as the most therapeutic thing he had done.
Jacob spoke of the limitations of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which he said “isn’t designed to address the depths of the wounds we have.” The VA doesn’t “really look at the soul and how the soul has been injured in war.”
One more soldier who returned home wounded, broken, torn apart on the inside and left to deal with this new stranger within by prescribed drugs that didn’t help, and ineffective ‘counseling’ practices of a VA too strapped by its own inadequacies to actually provide effective treatment, assistance, guidance, healing, or authentic help.
He took his own life because he could not face the pain and torment of life seen through the eyes of one who has faced the hell of war and brought the accompanying demons home with him. Like so many of our youth who have returned from the killing fields, the effects of PTS reached farther and deeper into his soul than he was able to heal.
Jacob David George lost his battle with PTS, September 17, 2014, as a result of moral injuries sustained in Afghanistan. He was 32 years old.