Today I salute Veteran Marine Corporal Robert A Serocki. His story is inspiring as he shares his service and tells about his struggle of overcome PTSD.
Corporal Robert A Serocki Jr. served two tours in the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm) in the Marine Corps from 1988-92. Serocki was a Combat Engineer (land mines and demolitions) and received training as a Scout Sniper after the war. Serocki received a Navy Unit Citation, Marine Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, South West Asia Medal and corresponding ribbon has two stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Kuwait Liberation Medal. He was a honor Graduate Regimental Scout Sniper School.
What was your training? Engineer School was at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Sniper School was at Camp Pendleton, California. The Sniper School program was something new they started at Camp Pendleton when I was there and they picked me to go and I completed Regimental Scout Sniper School.. Engineer school was a couple months long and consisted of learning about all the land mines, booby traps, anti-personnel mines, obstacles and munitions used by every other military force in the world. Then, we trained installing them, removing them and breaching obstacles.
What were your duties? My duties in the war were, clear minefields, breach obstacles, destroy munitions and bunkers, provide flank security, M60 E3 machine gunner. After the war I became Corporal and was a squad leader.
What did you like most about serving?
What I liked most about serving was what the Marines taught me about discipline, self motivation, work ethic, attention to detail and most importantly, overcoming adversity and completing my mission. Serving was something I wanted to do since I was the age of 5. At first, I wanted to be in the Army because my dad was in the Army. But, as I got older, growing up in a rough neighborhood in Detroit and getting beat up and picked on, I decided to join the Marines because I wanted to be the best and I had something to prove to myself.
What was your greatest challenges serving?
The two greatest challenges I faced was surviving combat and dealing with and overcoming PTSD. I suffered with it for 20 years and it took me 6 years to overcome it. During that 20 years I lost my job of 16 years, both my houses, filed bankruptcy, tried to end my life twice, ended up on 5 different medications, was in a wheel chair for 2 years, gained 80lbs and lost touch with my family and friends. I have since overcome all of that. I am no longer on medication, which I quit all 5 meds at once cold turkey, lost all the weight, got out of the wheel chair and now I am an Investor and full time author educating the public and helping others to rebuild their lives.
I was in the war where we got shot at by things so far away that we couldn’t see them and had no means of retaliating. We just had to take it. Planes, bombs, tanks, artillery, etc. We even got gassed 5 times with nerve gas delivered through artillery shells. I was sent on a suicide mission for the purposes of finding out what would happen once the ground war actually started. One of the most horrible experiences I had was killing a man at point blank range inside a bunker after I crawled down a tunnel into the bunker. That has haunted me my whole life and I could never get his face out of my head.
What was the most rewarding experience? The most rewarding was graduating boot-camp. That was the proudest day of life.
How did serving effect your family?As far as the part about my family goes, all I can say is that I have not talked to most of them or had any contact with them in 8 years. I talk to my father weekly now, but I have only recently re-established that connection about a year ago. But he is the only one I talk too. I was married the last year I was in the Corps. But we got divorced after I got out. I was engaged two more times after that, but it never worked out. I have a 10 year old son from one of those relationships.
How has PTSD effected your life since the war? As far as the PTSD goes, it caused me to lose my job of nearly 20 years as an archaeologist, I lost two homes, had to file bankruptcy. I tried to end my life two times. Each time ending up in the hospital. I was put on 5 different kinds of medication and after being on the medication too long I ended up in a wheelchair for two years and gained 80 pounds. It was at this point that I got mad as hell and decided enough was enough. I forced my self out of the wheelchair, lost all the weight, quit my 5 medications at once, cold turkey. I went into my doctors office at the VA two months later and dumped them all on her desk and told her I was done. She was quite surprised. I was mad that they put me on all that medication and just left me alone. I decided this was going to change. I had to do something.
I wrote the first book because I had a story to get off of my chest from the war, but I didn’t want to and couldn’t talk about it. So, I figured I could just hand people a book when they asked. I also wanted people to know what really happened because people think our war was easy and nothing happened. I have taken grief for that my whole life and it simply isn’t true.
I wrote the second book about my PTSD experiences for two reasons. One, to show people what its actually like to have it and what its like to go through the process of healing from it and overcoming it. When I was on my journey I always had wished that I had a book to reference so I knew that what I was going through was normal, that I wasn’t going crazy. There are books to tell you what to do, but I couldn’t find any that told a person what it was actually like. It would have helped me stay on track and perhaps I wouldn’t have suffered so long. So, with the book, I hope to help others achieve their goal of healing and hopefully it will help shorten that journey for them. This is what makes my book so unique.
What advice do you have for those who are thinking of serving their country? As for advice, I would say take into consideration what you may have to go through if you ever have to serve in combat. Decide if you are willing to pay the price for it. The war part is the smallest of battles you will face compared to what you may have to face once you come home. My books describe all of these experiences. Both during combat and once you return home. Educate yourself!
“Take time to heal, become inspired, move forward and become successful with your life!”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from my experiences as a United States Marine fighting in the first Gulf War. It describes all of the events of my life and everything I encountered and suffered through for over 20 years. It also shows how I decided to turn my life around and become successful with it and how that process took six years to accomplish. By reading this book you will benefit from my life and gain more than 20 years of knowledge, insight and experiences that you can apply to your own life and the lives of others!
The Chrysalis is specifically about my struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder rom my experiences as a United States Marine fighting in the first Gulf War. It describes all of the events of my life and everything I encountered and suffered through for over 20 years. It also shows how I decided to turn my life around and become successful with it and how that process took six years to accomplish. By reading this book you will benefit from my life and gain more than 20 years of knowledge, insight and experiences that you can apply to your own life and the lives of others!