I served in the Army as a medic for over 23 years. My journey started with an accelerated Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston. Soon after training, my whole unit was sent to Desert Shield/ Storm. With less than 12 months of military service under my belt, I had my first tour in a combat environment. From that point on, I would deploy six more times. I’ve served in about every position a medic can serve during my career – from working in postpartum and pediatric wards of army medical centers to spending dark nights jumping out of airplanes with the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC to serving as a medic in the 75th Ranger Regiment. On my seventh and final deployment, I served as a flight medic with 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii). Operating mostly in Southern Afghanistan, we flew in all kinds of conditions, and I was literally “learning on the fly.” It was mentally and physical exhausting. Upon redeploying to Hawaii, I was then assigned to Special Operation Command Pacific where I remained until my retirement.
When asked about my time in the military I always say, it never matters what you do or where you go. If you are surrounded by good friends and comrades, it always ends up as good stories later. Tough times don’t last. Tough men do.
Nevertheless, after my third deployment, I was having some serious problems that I never addressed. At the time, I thought I was stronger mentally and physically, and being surround around barrel-chested freedom fighters, its was really hard to admit I needed help. The times I did get help, it was not enough. Each deployment got harder and harder upon my return. Eventually, after seventh deployment, I was referred to Tripler Army Medical Center for a PTSD program. This program really forced me to open up and talk about things I kept close to my heart. During the program, I had the opportunity to practice meditation, yoga and Tai Chi. I had the mindset that yoga was a “girly” exercise and not for me. We didn’t even have an actual teacher, just a video they played as part of the program. I decided to try it anyway. Slowly, as the weeks went on, I opened up to the yoga more and more. The more I practiced, the more I started feeling relaxed. Yoga started changing my mindset and helped me to be more open minded. Nightmares and sleepless night were much less. After the program ended, I did not know enough to continue to practice on my own. I enrolled in a college level yoga course, and that helped, but it eventually ended too.
I discovered Warriors at Ease at a Team Red White & Blue event where they were offering yoga at the annual “Run As One.” I learned they have weekly veterans’ yoga class in my local area and across the country. Because of the connection to Warriors at Ease, I am practicing yoga again. I am thankful to be able to practice in a comfortable setting with other veterans so I may continue on my new path. I’m also grateful to have been surrounded by great warriors and a family that supported me throughout my career. Though it was not without sacrifice, I feel honored to have served.
Staff Sergeant Brandon Scott, U.S. Army Retired
Brandon Scott is a member of the Army of the United States Army (AUS) Retired List. Use of his military rank and job title does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.