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Marine Hero Shares His Personal Story

Seven years ago, a photographer accidentally captured one of the most iconic images of the War on Terror. It showed Staff Sergeant William "Bill" Bee receiving a single shot from what he feared was a Taliban sniper.

He immediately grabbed his rifle and prepared to fire back. The Marine's wife, Bobbie, was seven months pregnant with their son Ethan. Bill risked his life by running to a nearby wall without wearing his helmet or Kevlar vest and aimed at a window 150 meters away. His friends in the 24th Expeditionary Unit thought he had been hit.

Seven years later, heroic Sergeant Bee offered his first interview. The 33-year-old veteran served his country five times overseas. Since then, he has had outbursts of anger where he punched holes in the wall, and he has suffered memory loss where he would find cigarettes in a milk jug and sweaters stacked in the fridge. Although he doesn't remember how those items got there.

He also blames himself for the death of his two friends who were killed when an IED exploded during his final deployment in Afghanistan. He has struggled to get the psychiatric help he needs from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Today, he lives with his wife Bobbie and their seven-year-old son Ethan in a small house in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Sergeant Bee requires regular treatment and medication, but he only gets an appointment every nine months. In between appointments, the only person he can talk to is his wife.

Bee says, "She puts up with all of it. When I can't take it anymore and need someone to talk to, she's always there, she realizes that she can't understand what I've done and what I've been through, but she also realizes she can help."

He has flashbacks that require anti-psychosis medication and regular appointments. Yet, he's always met with administrative obstacles and told to wait. He is frustrated with the VA's lack of resources while bureaucrats work on lucrative, tax-payer funded contracts.

His regular psychiatrist moved to practice, so, the VA is further delaying his sessions and they are trying to re-assign her patients. Bee said "I need someone to talk to outside of my wife, because I cannot expect her to take anything more upon herself than she already has."

In recent months, the VA has been under fire for their shortfalls in providing care for troops, in addition to not holding staff responsible when accused of misconduct because they don't have enough employees to meet the demand.

Dan Caldwell, CVA's Legislative and Political Director, said "The bureaucracy (at the VA) is out of control, and it is starting to resemble a quasi-criminal organization like the Mafia. That might sound like very strong rhetoric, but if you look at how they’re behaving in terms of not holding people accountable. Allowing people that have committed serious crimes to remain on the payroll and oftentimes longer before they can actually go and fire them, it’s completely unacceptable. It’s one of the many problems with the VA but it’s the biggest."

Bee recalls his fourth tour in Afghanistan--the Battle for Garmsir, "People seem to think that when we get deployed, we are fighting every day, almost like it’s a game of Call of Duty. It's definitely not. As an Infantryman, I could count on one hand the number of firefights I had been in. But Garmsir changed that. From the day we stepped foot in the district, we were receiving fire daily. Not just a platoon in the company, but every compound from 4th platoon were in firefights three times a day."

Bee says "If someone came to me, telling me they were thinking of joining the Marines, the only question I would have for them is: Why? Yes, you can get a job skill, you can get free college benefits and free healthcare. But if that is why a person wants to join, by all means go for it. But do it someplace else. The Army, Navy, and Air Force all offer the same benefits. People who join the Marines typically do it because of the challenge it offers."

He went on to state "But you'll actually get the chance to kill the enemies of our country. Whether people are willing to admit it or not, there are people in the world who not only deserve death, but require it. These are the ones that will decapitate a little girl and sew a dog's head onto her body because of the girl giving information, the same people who will decapitate a mentally handicapped man for the same reason, or execute a child and put it in a bombed out building to make it appear to the media that Marines kill innocents."

Sergeant Bee's wife Bobbie said, "When he got home he was completely different. The person I said goodbye to is not the person that came home. We have since had to adjust to our new normal life."

Photo: Daily Mail

Ex-marine gives his take on the military.

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