Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Here is the definition of Treason :
Related Topics
Schenck v. United States

trea·son (trē'zən)
Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
A betrayal of trust or confidence.

Now if we take this literally then when an official of our own Government decided to ignore the message warning of the attack and act of treason was committed and it is punishable by death, in this case the death of 241 innocent men.
We need to let our government that we will not rest until this wrong has been righted.
Call or write your Reps today, tell them it is time to reopen the investigation, we can't turn our backs on acts of treason if we call ourselves Patriots. Now is the time to rise and be heard.

Installment 2 of Manuscript

Just a note to all who are reading this, first it is unedited and will change many times. Second if it sells, 80 percent of the proceeds will go to the walk and other Beirut Veteran Charities.

I am going to tell my story out of sync a little, so I will start with December 1983, we had been back a few days and I was getting into the swing of drinking and forgetting.
Sure I was haunted by the death I saw but not as much as the message I found in the rubble. On the third or fourth day of the recovery operation, we were well past finding anyone still alive but we also were not going to leave anyone behind, I was working about three feet from the body we had just found. He was a young Marine, possibly an Officer due to having a .45, he had blonde hair and was clutching his .45 tightly, after we found him, we called Marines and Lebanese Red Crescent Workers to ID and remove the bodies. About day two or so it came down that we were not to remove bodies due to fears that we would become ill from diseases that can breed in the decomposing bodies in the brutal heat of Lebanon. So I went to work picking up what looked like personal effects, one piece of yellow NCR paper caught my eye. I bent to pick it up and could already see portions of the message. It was from Mobile CIA in country, I knew that because I was privy to all the call signs of every unit on the beach and even to those in Washington, D.C. .
I picked up the paper and read all of the message;
Possible Syrian/Iranian hostilities against the US and other contingents of the MNF 10/22-10.24
Reliability high.

After that the message ended and the bottom of the copy had been ripped in half, but I knew that if I was holding the yellow copy that it was sent from this Comm Shack and that would have been unusual, most traffic of this nature would have been sent from the MSSG Comm Center.
I turned back toward the Marine, I knew he thought the threat was real, he had his .45 clutched tightly in his hand, so tightly that he had slept with it under his head and now it was apart of him. That sight along with the message delivered a blow equal to a 300 lb blitzing lineman catching you off guard. The air went out of me and for the first time fear spilled in.
It was this that I drank to forget, the message and the blaring fact that someone in my own government had ignored this warning and now 241men were dead. It filled my dreams night after night, the moment I found that message, reading it, walking to the aid station and weeping with a Marine who had just found his best friend dead in the rubble. These images were to be my hell so I drank more and more but I could not wash them from my mind.
On one of my drinking occasions we were at a shipmates apartment, I drank tumblers of Seagrams with a whisper of 7-up after 5 or 6 I passed out on his couch and I guess I talked about the message in my sleep. Because after that day, he and others called me a traitor. I am told that I asked why we had allowed them to die, why my own country had killed these men. I guess even alcohol can not wash away the truth or stop your mouth from spouting it.
I was not the traitor, the traitor lay hidden somewhere in the upper chain of command. Somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon, a building I thought existed to protect our country and those who pick up arms in her defense. My innocence was gone in a split second, along with my life. Over the next 6 months I would let this eat at me until it had consumed my very soul, the alcohol buried my feelings but the betrayal buried my belief and trust in almost anyone or thing.
By June of 1984 I had a few friends left and my life was quickly ending, I wanted to die, I prayed for it but now I had fears, something I was not used to. Before Beirut I was not afraid of heights, flying, death or anything really, I was foolish enough to believe that I would live forever and I could beat anything or anyone. Now that was gone and I was finding myself more and more paralyzed with fear each day.
In August of 1984 I knew I had to quit drinking but what I didn’t know was that under the rubble of the alcohol lay my remains. Not a weak after I quit drinking I was finding rage at every turn, I was not sleeping and I had no idea why I was feeling like this.
On one hot August afternoon, I felt the rage building past the point I knew I could control. I asked my wife to take the kids and go to a neighbors house. She looked at me with great concern, she didn’t know what I was going to do and neither did I. I was seated on the cool linoleum of the kitchen floor when she left, next to me a standard apartment counter and cheap cabinet doors. I felt a slight relief when they left, not so much as they were the cause but that if I lost my temper they would be safe.
As I stood to get a drink I caught the open cabinet door on my arm and cut myself, nothing big one of those you would curse a little and get on with your life things. I stopped and stared at the cabinet door and then in one quick motion ripped it from the hinges, I was now out of control. I knew that I had tasted true rage and it would be hard to control, it was like a living breathing creature inside me and it was now in control.
I walked to the other side of the kitchen and started beating the cabinets, I felt no pain in my hands but my soul was in great torment.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Book Being Written As You Read It.

November 11th 1983, Veteran's Day. Becky Ayers, the wife of Signalman Second Class Steven Ayers walked onto the orthopedics ward at Bethesda Naval Hospital. SM2 Ayers had arrived only a few hours earlier having been flown in from Germany,.
Her face was contorted with worry and fear, would Steven recognize her? Had he awakened in flight? How bad were his injuries? These questioned would be answered shortly, " Mrs. Ayers?" A Navy Doctor called out from just down the hall. " Yes", she replied her voice trembling. " We can talk in here", he motioned toward a small office behind the Nurses Station. Becky walked slowly toward the room and the waiting Doctor.
She moved in a fog, only following the motions of the man in the white coat, she sat in a chair to his right at a small round white generic table. This room was cold and plain, only work schedules and a hospital Plan of the Day decorated the walls.
" I am Captain Hamlin, Senior Ortho on staff here. Have you been told what happened to your husband?" Becky remembered the call.
Steven had been returning to the Portland when a rocket had struck the helicopter he was on, sending it and the 6 men onboard crashing into the Mediterranean Sea just 500 yards off of the beach. He had been assigned to the recovery detail after the terrorist truck bomb had destroyed the B/L/T/ HQ killing many Marines, Sailors and Army personnel. That much she knew, they had also told her that 3 of the 6 had survived but beyond that she knew nothing. " Only what happened,." Her voice cracked.
" Ma'am your husband is lucky…" he paused, " I know you don't feel lucky right now and I am sure he doesn't. Compared to the other injuries we have seen since the 23rd of October he is. Well let's start with the worst of the damage." He spoke methodically, like a man who had done this a lot recently. " A piece of either the rocket or the UH-1 he was riding in appears to have severed his spinal cord between the L-4 and L-5." He stopped to let this sink in. Becky felt like the wind had been knocked out of her, she knew in her heart it had to have been bad enough that they could not fly him home until he was stable but paralysis? How would she deal with this? How would he deal with it? The Doctor's eyes searched her face looking for a sign to explain what this meant. "This isn't as bad as it sounds, he will be able to walk with physical therapy, the main function loss here is the feet and toes. " He saw her body settle as the news washed over her. " The crash it seems has knocked all of his top teeth out and all but four of the lower teeth. His face is swollen and he looks a lot worse than he is. " He leaned back and waited for the questions, he left out the part about the coma, that was really the worst injury. They didn't know when or if he would ever wake up.
" Has he woken up?" She went straight to the question.
" No." He avoided the follow up.
" Will he?"
" Mrs. Ayers we really do not know when this will happen or the true extent of the injury to his brain." there he threw it on the table.
" Ok, when can I see him?" Becky asked, she wanted to see him but yet she was afraid of breaking down, they say that people in a coma know what is going on and hearing that might hinder his recovery.
" Shortly, the Dental Team is in there right now." He stood, waited for her to follow. " I can show to the waiting area." She followed the Doctor to a large room filled with women and children, tears flowing magazines flipped through nervously. This was the unseen side of a horrible act such as this had been.

November 11th 2006, this never happened but everyday since the moment we lifted off of the tarmac at Beirut International Airport in a UH-1 headed back to the Portland I feel as though I am in a coma and not really here. I am told this is PTSD, but to me it feels like a long dream, no, a nightmare, with a few happy moments.
I did take part in the recovery detail after the bombing that killed 241 brave American Servicemen. And I do live in a different world than most of you and I am going to try and explain that and what happened in Beirut to you. Grab a chair, open your mind and see if I can show you my world.
( the above is the opening of a book I am writing, please do not post it anywhere without permission. This is a non-fiction work based on my life and you are reading it as I write it, every line every word posted as I finish it everyday.) copyright Steven D Ayers 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beyond Beirut: PTSD the Begining

Upon my return from Beirut I went into a deep depression, this led to excessive drinking. What I didn't know was that drinking was a way to self medicate, and medicate I did. I drank every day, lunch a 12 pack, dinner a 12 pack and a large glass of Jim Beam. After dinner I would drink until 2 or 3 am then I would get up and go back to work at 6 am. The drinking and my mood swings were destroying my life and that of my family. One morning I said enough is enough and I stopped drinking, the first day was smooth but on the second I started feeling anger welling up inside. It was on the third day when I took my new car back to the dealer and they didn't want to fix it that all of this came to a boil. I came home and called the owner of the dealership, who was foolishly listed in the phonebook, and told him either he fixed the car or I would drive it through the showroom windows of his Mercedes Dealership. He agreed to have a tow truck pick it up in the morning.
That night sleep was fraught with angst and fears I had never felt before. Death was something I had not even thought about but now as I laid there the thought of my own death was starting to drive deep into my soul.
When morning came and the tow truck towed the car away I decided I wasn't going to work, which is not just a bad idea in the military it is illegal, but I was cut slack for reasons I was about to understand. By noon and the dealer had not called me I was feeling that rage building again, so I asked my wife to take the kids and go visit a friend in another apartment. Well being the loving caring woman she is she left and called the police telling them that I was depressed and a Beirut Veteran. They arrived with a Priest in tow and asked me to seek help, I had ripped a couple of cabinet doors off and was dripping with sweat yet the A/C was set at 65 and doing a good job.
I was seen at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital and promptly admitted, after 2 admissions I was told I had PTSD. Everyday since has been a struggle, one to explain to people I am not violent, I am not crazy I am just someone who has seen the worst humans can do to each other and I was touched deeply and it appears the impact is permanent.
Now I will not go into every detail of my life but I will say this, I do not see things the same way everyone else does, there is very little joy in my life, I don't feel warmth on my face in the sun, I cant remember what love was truly about and the biggest loss I have had was that I cant remember a lot of what happened after I walked off that beach in Beirut 23 years ago.
When I left for Beirut I had a 2 year old son and a 9 month old daughter, today I have a 25 year old son, a 24 year old daughter, a 18 year old daughter and a 9 year old son but they have not had much of a Father. I have not gone back to drinking, but I have been consumed by the memories of those days digging bodies out of the rubble, placing them in body bags and then those bags into containers and shipping them home. I remember taking incoming fire while we tried to dig hoping to find a survivor and I remember the smell of Beirut. To this day I can smell it and I can hear the screams for help, I can feel the dust upon my skin. I am not the only one, there a lot of us who live everyday with these feelings and it is for these Veterans and their families that I planned this walk.
A very wise Veteran once said for those who died the war is over for the rest of us it is only a nightmare away.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Elections and Voters

I sit tonight and watch local TV news reporters interview voters at polling places and I am scared. Not by the reporters poor questions but by the voters who can not form a simple sentence.
Now I believe in democracy and I make mistakes but when the mistakes roll of the tongues of voter after voter then I must question the intelligence of these voters. Is it that people pay no attention during campaign time and just vote for the party? Or maybe they decided at the last minute to vote and voted for the person with the name which sounds soothing to their ears.
I wish that we could test voters to make sure they knew what was going on before casting a ballot. We have all learned over two Presidential Races that each and every vote counts so these blathering fools are making a difference.
Now I know I was a little harsh but our future is the hands of people who don't know what is really on the ballot of who is on it. One voter on a local broadcast explained that this election was less important than the Federal election last year. I swear today I was voting for Congressmen and Senators and I don't remember a big Federal election in 2005, but I said that's one person.
Well the next commented that Morning Doves are just little birds so we shouldn't hunt them, well so are a lot of things we hunt. Maybe we should have looked into another reason to not hunt something besides being little and hatched from an egg.
These are but two examples I switch from channel to channel and hear the same stuff over and over again.
America maybe we should educate each and every person who is eligible to vote instead of worrying about Madonna's adopted child.