My name is David Smith and I have been one of the lucky veterans to be able to obtain a service dog through The Rescue for PTSD.
I enlisted into the US Army NG at the age of 18, right out of high school. September 13th, 2004, I flew to Ft. Benning, GA, to complete OSUT as an infantryman (11B). After graduating OSUT, I was assigned to the 36th infantry division which was preparing to mobilize to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While in theatre, my platoon was tasked with combat patrols in the Wassit Province to slow the flow of smuggling weapons from Iran. We also ran joint patrols alongside the Iraqi officials to ensure they were well-trained, in control and order in their country.
My platoon was responsible for the arrest of 12 high profile subjects of the Mahdi militia.
I returned home at the end of 2007. We lost 12 of our comrades to suicide or overdose that year.
I spent the remainder of 2007 and 2008 training other infantryman to prepare for their mobilization until we received word that we needed to prepare for a second mobilization to Afghanistan.
We began to prepare when I had to back off that deployment because of the loss of my first son. After his burial in 2009, I was mobilized with the 1836th transport company and obtained my truck driver MOS (88M).
In 2010, I was again mobilized to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which changed to Operation New Dawn while I was overseas. We were responsible for bringing equipment from the northern-most part of Iraq on into Kuwait.
I’ve struggled with back issues and PTSD ever since. Having my service dog next to me has allowed me to slowly come out of isolation and provides me with stability.
Knowing that Ipa, my amazing wife Clare, and The Rescue for PTSD has my 6 makes me feel that much more comfortable.