My Being Present At The Ramstein Air Show Disaster Had Another Unintended Consequence

My being present at the Ramstein air show disaster had another unintended consequence.

I’ve already written about how I struggled with PTSD and guilt after everything happened. I had run from flaming debris, leaving my friends and my wife alone to fend for themselves. Eventually, through therapy provided by the Air Force, I was able to see that reaction as normal.

But I wasn’t quite there. Not yet.

Which is why, a couple weeks later, I was hanging out in the Non-commissioned Officers Club. And there was this guy across the table who I’d played baseball with.

Never liked him much. Let’s call this guy Brad.

Another friend at the table said, “Yo, Paul. How you doing these days? You had a pretty rough time at the air show.”

To which Brad said something like, “All I know is I’d never leave my wife if there was trouble.”

I use the words “something like” because, to this day, I’m not really sure what Brad said.

Nor do I remember lunging across the table, grabbing the front of Brad’s shirt, dragging him to the ground, and beating the daylights out of him.

Or the fact that the rest of my friends tried dragging me off him.

At that point, everything was a blur.

I still have scars on my hands from Brad’s teeth.

There were consequences, of course. Turns out Brad outranked me. And in the military, assaulting a superior officer is a serious offense. I was placed in the base’s stockade for a while.

They released me a bit later on. Mitigating circumstances. By then, most everyone knew what I’d been through. Prevailing wisdom said Brad had it coming.

I’ve never done anything like that in my life before or sense. From my point of view, PTSD is a very real thing. It makes me feel for our soldiers coming home having served in a war zone.

That’s a lot to process.

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