US Marine Corporal Joshua Earl “Witt” Wittenauer, born September of 1980, in Dixon, Illinois, beloved son to Diane Langham and Roger Wittenauer.
Wittenauer had enlisted at 17. “He just liked the discipline of it, and he thought he could make a difference,” said his mother, who lives in Texarkana. “He loved it until he went to Iraq.”
Langham said her son rarely talked about his experience during the 2003 invasion. He told her his unit had fought hard in Fallujah to recover the bodies of other service members and once hinted to his brother “that he had killed his daughter a dozen times over there, meaning I guess (kids) the age of his (brother’s) daughter,” Langham said.
“He hid a lot of stuff really well,” she said. “And there was times that he was like the old Josh, but then there was times that he was quieter, withdrawn. And you’d ask him what’s wrong: ‘Oh nothing. Thinking.'”
Langham encouraged her son to talk to a therapist or minister, but Wittenauer wanted to become a police officer and he thought mental health treatment would “go on his permanent record” and dog him for the rest of his life.
Cpl Joshua Earl Wittenauer lost his battle with PTSD, March 18, 2009, in Bedford, Texas. He was 28 years old.