Sarge Lintecum, Blues Musician

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Sarge Lintecum, Vietnam Blues

Sarge Lintecum

Combat Tested Blues.. for Peace

How I advanced my healing from the Vietnam War by writing and singing the blues..

I thought it might be helpful if I explained how I brought my life back from the deep pit of PTSD. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) A disorder brought on by too much combat.) I was unable to go to group therapy sessions because hearing the sad stories of each veteran coming around the circle towards me would so seriously increase my depression that I would have to leave. In fact, just going to the VA Hospital for appointments would increase my symptoms so much that I would often have to turn around and go home because I couldn't even enter the building. However, when I was fighting for my service-connected PTSD compensation, I would have to be hospitalized for thirty days at a time, which really backed up my healing process. So I had to figure out something on my own.

I started writing things down that I couldn't even talk about to my wife and we had been married for nineteen years at that time. To my surprise, my writing always came out in poetry form and then I would convert it into the blues, but the most amazing thing was that I would feel some measure of relief just by getting my Nam experiences down on paper. I had no idea this would lead to a full blown career, but that's another story. At any rate, writing is where my healing began.

However, every day of my life was still controlled by my PTSD. So I tried to use the old sixties method of going inside your own head and trying to fix things, but this nearly resulted in my head exploding! I don?t know where it came from or when it hit me, but one day I said, "Sarge, look around you and see how many people could use help worse than you", so I quit thinking of myself and started helping others. This is when my healing really began to advance.

When I found out how good it made me feel to hand a few dollars to a homeless person, often a veteran themselves, I began to realize what the basic problem of PTSD is and that is a shattered self-image. Because I carried the M-79 grenade launcher in Nam, (big explosion when the bullet hit), I found that most of the terrible names people called us when we got home were true about me. When I realized that I was suffering from a badly shattered self-image from all of the things I'd done in the line of duty in Vietnam, but that I could rebuild my self- image by helping others, I got creative and thought of a lot of different ways to help those folks who were in worse shape than me. My "Vietnam Blues" has become very popular and I now have a new and happy life thanks to my being touched by the blues.

By Sarge Lintecum

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