The Veteran's Report with Dodge Citizen was inspired and created as a direct result of the show host's long, painful and arduous journey through the complex and harrowing maze of disabling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the wake of wartime service. Dodge Citizen was forced to navigate myriad PTSD (CHRONIC) related obstacles since returning home from serving as a US Army officer and combat leader in Iraq's notorious Sunni Triangle during the 2003-2004 timeframe. During this journey, Dodge Citizen has found solace and comfort in participating in veteran's advocacy efforts, and using music therapy and broadcasting as tools to heal the complex and varying wounds of service-related trauma that exist within the veteran community.
During wartime Service in Iraq, show host Dodge Citizen provided tactical leadership of a Forces Protection "Gun Truck" Detachment that operated seven days a week out of Baghdad International Airport. His detachment ran nonstop convoy operations during some of the worst and bloodiest days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this time, Dodge Citizen's detachment saw almost every imaginable manifestation of the hell of combat that one can conceive of. His unit experienced countless instances of hostile enemy contact and suffered casualties with almost daily regularity. As detachment officer in charge, Dodge Citizen has expressed that he witnessed first-hand more than he is now able to forget. While serving as a combat leader in Iraq, one of Dodge Citizen's many jobs was to type-up and process all manner of incident reports, and he even had to box-up a KIA soldier's belongings and send them home to his parents with a personally composed bereavement letter.
Dodge Citizen was deeply impacted in August 2003 when his unit lost Darryl T. Dent, the youngest member in their organization when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on a critical gun truck mission. Dodge Citizen would later express that "I carry the guilt and shame of his death with me to this day." He further stated that "as detachment officer in charge, company executive officer, and 3rd platoon leader -- and as a key leader of our unit's chain of command, I felt like I had failed in my mission, which was to maintain positive care, custody & control of the men and women in our unit and bring everyone back home alive."
When Dodge Citizen returned home from combat, he stated "I struggled mightily with re-integrating into my family life, community, and society in general. I eventually lost everything that meant anything to me in the life that awaited me upon my return from the war-zone. I was ultimately medically retired from the US Army for complications related to my PTSD. I also spent time at a PTSD Domiciliary in Martinsburg, WV to address issues and receive therapy for PTSD." Some of the recurring program themes featured on "The Veteran's Report with Dodge Citizen" were developed during that time as well.
Additionally, while undergoing intense clinical therapy for PTSD (CHRONIC) "The Service Connected Album Project," which is a poignant collection of songs that was born when a doctor in the Washington DC Veterans Administration Hospital's Trauma Services unit began initiating a cognitive therapy approach with Dodge Citizen in sessions for PTSD (CHRONIC). to write down his experiences so that they could be dealt with in therapy. As Dodge began to put his thoughts and experiences from war down on paper -- he later recounted the he had "found it hard to stop writing and equally as difficult to stop weeping." The "Service Connected Album Project" deals with issues of death & dying, memories of combat, the eventual failure of Dodge's marriage after returning from combat, and many other aspects of his struggles with PTSD.
"Service Connected Album Project" is also a soldier's strong statement of pride and resilience. Both "The Veteran's Report with Dodge Citizen" and the "Service Connected Album Project" are poignant chapters in the story of Dodge Citizen's life, and they both serve as open love letters / testaments to the bonds of friendship and loyalty that are forged through uniformed service.
"The Veteran's Report with Dodge Citizen" and the "Service Connected Album Project" serve as rich and textured examples of the absolutely vital, redemptive and life-saving role that creative arts & art therapy can play in the healing process for veterans trying to make a way after service.
Dodge Citizen has stated the he was "ready to "give up" on life." However it was veteran's affairs related broadcasting, arts therapy, and the overall creative process that gave Dodge a reason to believe in the face of PTSD -- and he has stated he is greatly heartened and appreciative of that reality:
"My life was literally saved by learning to write about my pain and being able to tell my story and the stories of other veterans through song, written & spoken word. I am deeply humbled by the way that gifted expression and the creative process has been a direct and helpful component to my treatment for PTSD (Chronic) And the treatment of others veteran's and their families as well."
Finally, "The Veteran's Report with Dodge Citizen" is dedicated to Darryl T. Dent, whom Dodge Citizen had the honor to serve with in combat. Darryl T. Dent was killed in action on August 26, 2003 by a makeshift explosive device while on convoy duty near the town of Hamariyah, Iraq.