By Dexter Chase
On this Memorial Day I look back 75 years, to May 30, 1941. This was just months before the December 7th invasion at Pearl Harbor, the day that would go down in infamy!
It was at that parade in New York City that a five-year-old appeared uniformed (right, front row center) to patriotically support our troops. Neither he, the marching bands, troops, and dignitaries in attendance were unaware of what was to come six months later. Nor did my father, Ronald M. Chase foresee his enlistment in the U.S. Navy as a physician and a psychiatrist during the time of the Vietnam War and Tet Offensive – March 1968.
During his career as a psychiatrist, my father had two tours with the Department of Veterans Affairs in which he established the first PTSD treatment program for Vietnam combat veterans at Lyons, VAMC, New Jersey in 1983.
He has been passionately concerned with health issues of combat veterans for so long that when the War in Iraq and Afghanistan was making headlines regarding the inordinate suicide rates among returning veterans, he was challenged to do something about it. In 2008 at the age of 72, my father took a position as civilian contractor in psychiatry at Winn Army Community Hospital, Third Infantry Division, Ft. Stewart, Georgia, seeking to develop programs for PTSD and to favorably impact mental health care delivery for combat veterans.
The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs became his focus.
On this day, Memorial Day, my father and I both celebrate the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives.
Dexter Chase is an Insurance Agent in Apopka. His father, Ronald M. Chase, M.D. wrote a book about his experiences as a psychiatrist in the military entitled “Solo With Giants.”