West Seattle Veterans Day 2012: Vets on a new mission

Cindy Craig was on a ferry from Southworth to Fauntleroy on Sunday when she met the three veterans shown in her photo, which was taken as they walked off the boat at Vashon, carrying flags. She explains:

They were invited by the Vashon Island VFW to come for dinner in honor of Veterans Day. They started walking (Sunday) morning from the base at Bremerton and will be walking from Vashon to Joint Base Lewis/McChord (today, Monday). They are all veterans (one young man removed his sunglasses to speak with us and he is missing his right eye from a combat injury) and their goal is to raise awareness of and support for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among veterans and others affected by major trauma.

Cindy didn’t get their names, but we found a Vashon Beachcomber story about their visit online. Chess Johnson, Andy Britt, and Will Carroll are the trio. Johnson’s story was told in a documentary called “Exit Wound” – you’ll see and hear from him in this trailer:

Cindy last saw them as they continued walking onto Vashon.


She said the men hoped to spend time today talking to people they meet while walking south on Vashon, where another ferry will take them across to Tacoma.

12 Replies to "West Seattle Veterans Day 2012: Vets on a new mission"

  • ramona November 12, 2012 (7:25 am)

    An interesting and important story here.
    Thanks, WSB, for sharing it !

    Blows my mind how stories like this get so little comments yet a short power outage or Whole Foods get a LOT of comments.

  • ALC November 12, 2012 (7:39 am)

    Thank you Veterans for all that you have done & continue to do for us & our country. May the Lord bless you. So impressed with the work Camp Higher Ground is doing. Let’s continue to support & encourage our soldiers. The suicide rate is so sad & not ok from PTS.

  • kayo November 12, 2012 (7:53 am)

    Great story and documentary. Glad a light is being shone on this issue. These soldiers deserve better.

  • kumalavula November 12, 2012 (7:53 am)

    i heard a very interesting interview on kexp mind over matters on sat morning with a returned infantry vet now working at coffee strong in lakewood. i was so interested in what he was saying, i found myself going to their website and thought i’d share it for others here to check out.


    the psychological/emotional toll taken is beyond words to describe. it pains me to see so many veterans on the streets and unemployed after their tour(s) of service. we can do much better in terms of supporting them once they return.

  • Km November 12, 2012 (8:13 am)

    I agree with Ramona. The image of the three men and their story will last a lot longer than a short power outage. While a power outage is annoying, it’s most likely going to get fixed. The trauma these men experience will not get fixed so quickly. Our military men are the best. Thanks to WSB for reporting both stories. I was wondering why my clocks said zero:)

    • WSB November 12, 2012 (8:30 am)

      I didn’t publish this story till after midnight, so have some faith in humanity, the day is early in terms of discussion. As for power outages, please remember that we ask people to let us know the status where they are – and that’s what most of the comments are, information, not opinion – so I’m glad to get lots of responses on those stories too. Same, we hope, if and when we get a winter storm – the “comments” are information as much as our “story” is. Anyway, BIG thanks to Cindy, who spotted this trio and shared the story – we would never have heard of it otherwise, and that is the WSB magic, if you will – sharing the news when you encounter something/someone interesting in your world – http://westseattleblog.com/contact – TR

  • Cindy Craig November 12, 2012 (10:04 am)

    Thank YOU, Tracy, for providing the forum and the additional research for this story. As we talked with these young veterans yesterday, I wasn’t thinking about the possibility of sharing their story, but just before the ferry docked the ‘light’ came on and I was inspired to take the pictures as they walked on to their next destination. For others reading this…if you haven’t watched the video clip of Chess Johnson talking about his struggle with PTSD, please take a moment to picture him as ‘the boy next door’ and keep your cameras ready for those interesting moments that might help tell a story others would like to hear.

  • Michelle R-R November 12, 2012 (10:15 am)

    Really powerful image – thanks for sharing it and their story. Thinking of all our vets today, including my Papa. Thank you all for your service.

  • MB November 12, 2012 (12:52 pm)

    I really hope some of my Vashon peeps came out to talk and walk with them a bit. The hubby and I were bummed that we already had plans yesterday evening and couldn’t get over there to meet these guys ourselves (my husband is also a vet who struggles with PTSD and we’re both from Vashon). So glad the blog got ahold of these pictures (thanks Cindy!) and was able to share this story. I love seeing stuff like this ;)

  • Carraig na Splinkeen November 12, 2012 (8:11 pm)

    Thanks veterans! I am humbled by your service to our country.

  • jeunglady November 13, 2012 (11:00 am)

    PTSD is a very real issue and concern. Awareness about this debilitating condition is very important. These are very powerful images.

  • rascal November 13, 2012 (6:58 pm)

    Oh these wars have cost our dear Servicemen and women so dearly. Their family’s and friends as well.
    This is the longest war in US history, it’s time to end it.
    I Thank ALL of our Veterans for your service. Let’s bring our men and women home. This seems like a realistic, bipartisan goal amongst most of us.

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