Saturday, 2 April 2016

British War Veterans Professionals at the Health Center Islas Malvinas

British War Veterans Professionals at the Health Center Islas Malvinas

                                                                 Eduardo C. GERDING

Professionals Left to Right: Bourdieu, Armour,La Madrid, Jackson,Stein, Gerding, Giunta and Cornejo

On March 30th, I took part in a most interesting meeting which took place at the War Veterans´Health Center Islas Malvinas in Buenos Aires whose General Director is Colonel Esteban Vilgré La Madrid and the Medical Director Major Martín Bourdieu (Psychiatrist).

It was headed by Dr Enrique Stein, DoD´s Coordinator of the Mental Health Team, Catastrophes, Humanitarian Help and Armed Forces Peace Missions.

The meeting was attended too by Captain Antonio Enrique Cornejo (Psychologist and Master in Integration of Disabled patients) Chief of the Peace Operations Department, Licenciate in Psychology Gastón Giunta ,Peace Operations Department and war veteran Alejandro Diego (ARA Bahía Buen Suceso)

Our British guests were Dr. David Jackson and Dr.David John     ´Lou ´Armour ,Royal Marines.

Dr. David Jackson
Dr. David Jackson is a former Royal Marine and during his time in Malvinas he served as a Corporal Signaller in the 3rd Commando Brigade under the orders of Brigadier Julian Thompson.

The 3,500-strong brigade is an amphibious rapid reaction force, highly trained for combat in extreme weather conditions and on difficult terrain.

The frontline of the brigade is made up of three lightly armed units - 40, 42 and 45 Commando - which each have about 700 members.

Jackson was diagnosed with PTSD and after a medical discharge from Royal Marines in 1995 he trained as a counselor and life coach and he worked within the profession for 14 years.

He studied psychology with the Open University and graduated in 1995 with a BSc(Hons), In 2002 he completed his MA in counselling studies at the UEA writing an autoethnographical exploration of his PTSD. This was a presentation of his MA dissertation called Unshedding the mask. Has my journey from Royal Marine to counsellor enabled me to embrace my experience of war and ultimately accept it?

Through this presentation Jackson gave an insight into the experience of PTSD from a war veteran now a counsellor perspective. His research was an opportunity for him to unshed his masks of masculinity and his mask of ex Royal Marine war veteran.

In 2010 he graduated from the University of Bristol completing his EdD. His dissertation was called Seven days Down South: a war story and uses film, photos, poetic representation, song and artefacts from the past as a representation of his story and the narratives of war veterans. Dr David Jackson is an expert in the social and cultural aspects of war veterans living in society.

David is the Co Director of Veteran to Veteran (Turning it around) a community interest group whose aim is to better the lives of war veterans and their dependants throughout the UK through furthering the understanding of the cultural and social difficulties for War Veterans and families within society through workshops and seminars and through research and publication. He was an academic consultant for the Lord Ashcroft's Veterans Transition Review.

Dr Jackson made a film which is a multi modal representation about his return to the Malvinas.

Dr. David John ´Lou ´Armour

Former Sergeant David John ´Lou ´Armour served as Corporal when the Operation Rosario took place on 2 April 1982. Naval Party 8901 at this time comprised just 42 men. Corporal 'Lou' Armour, commanding '1 Section', was positioned at Hookers Point when the Argentines disembarked. Shortly after the attack on Moody Brook, he was ordered to withdraw to Govt House, meeting up with Corporal David Carr's section along the way.He was captured, sent back to Britain and, with the rest of his comrades, returned to the South Atlantic to join up with the Task Force. His personal story of the invasion, his capture and his return to the Falklands, is told in Speaking Out - Untold stories from the Falklands War.

The Argies had some armoured vehicles moved up. At the time of the surrender, when Rex Hunt went out to talk with them, I was actually quite pleased we were stopping, I make no bones about it . . . I didn't fancy getting shot to bits. I was just glad it was finished. They made us lie down. Suddenly you're in their hands. There were two APCs [armoured personnel carriers] of theirs hit; they must have lost guys in them. There were three casualties lying in the garden of Government House. You think: What sort of mood are they going to be in when their oppos are shot up? When we were actually lying down I felt a bit humiliated but I also felt apprehensive about what was going to happen next. One of the Argentine officers came along and actually struck one of the guards and told us to stand up. We stood up and he shook my hand and a few other guys' hands and said that we shouldn't lie down, that we should be proud of what we'd done. I liked him. We were put in the back of a Hercules to be taken to Argentina.

Corporal Armour returned to the Falklands with his unit, “J” Company, 42 Commando, as part of the Task Force aboard the Canberra. His company of marines were held in reserve after the initial landings at San Carlos but later they were moved forward to Goose Green to re-inforce a second-stage attack on the settlement by 2 Para.

Amphibious Command Corporal Jacinto Eliseo Batista leads  Royal Marines on April 2, 1982

Lou Armour went to Lancaster university studied Sociology and Art History then did masters and did a PhD on the logical grammar of colour concepts.

Army Colonel Esteban Vilgré La Madrid

Army Major Medicine Doctor Martín Bourdieu

Dr. Enrique Stein

Captain (Navy) Licenciate in Psychology Antonio E. Cornejo

Licenciate in Psychology Gastón Giunta

War Veteran Alejandro Diego

Alejandro Diego, as part of the crew of ARA “Bahia Buen Suceso” ship, sailed from Port Stanley to Darwin, Strait of San Carlos, Howard and Fox Bay, where two Harriers attacked the ship They landed on Fox Bay, where they received several navy bombs, and air attacks. - 16 de Mayo ataque al ARA Buen Suceso

From Left to right: War Veterans Bourdieu, Armour, Vilgré La Madrid, Jackson and Diego.

We learned more about Secondary traumatic stress which is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another. Its symptoms mimic those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Accordingly, individuals affected by secondary stress may find themselves re-experiencing personal trauma or notice an increase in arousal and avoidance reactions related to the indirect trauma exposure. They may also experience changes in memory and perception; alterations in their sense of self-efficacy; a depletion of personal resources; and disruption in their perceptions of safety, trust, and independence.

Lou Armour depicted as well the differences between the ground forces experience in Afghanistan and Malvinas.

Summarizing. we learned a lot from each other updating health issues and sharing war experiences. We look forward to have more of this uplifting reunions.