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Clyde was born in 1913. He was just a small town guy from a textile milling town in the Western Carolinas. He joined the Army National Guard and was essentially called up and Federalized after Pearl Harbor. My God Father was at Pearl Harbor, he was a Naval Doctor aboard a ship. Since he was small in stature, during the aftermath of the bombing- he was sent down into the ships deep hull to retrieve bodies. My God Father did not know Clyde, but it always amazes me to see the 6 degrees of separation in life. As one beloved was being bombed, another beloved was being called to the fight, only in another region- another fight.

It would be six degrees of separation that would eventually lead me into the fray of CFS, GWI, PTSD and Suicide.

Clyde spent most of his training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. He went into The North Carolina Army National Guard. He said he was being deployed to help entertain the troops. He deployed to France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. We don’t have too many official military records on hand, due to a fire that occurred at a military records storage facility in Missouri. Many valuable military records were lost in that fire.

101 Years after Clyde was born, in early 2014, I was packing up a familial house in North Carolina. We were moving everything to the West Coast. I came across many trunks and many folded flags in that house. The house was rich with Southern and Military history. I took great pride in being entrusted with this job, but soon I would find that it was a bittersweet task.

The basement of the house was dark and dimly lit. Boxes of clothes and belongings were up a steep flight of stairs. Neatly packed into boxes, were Clyde’s personal belongings- his clothes, his hat collection- which I wear proudly and his miscellaneous trinkets he brought home from World War II. One of those trinkets was a lovely jewelry box. I opened it to discover a type written note that said “here is the key to my trunk, HANDLE WITH CARE”.

Since Clyde was not the dramatic type, I took seriously the capital letters used in the note then set out to find “the trunk”.  Down into the dark basement I went to find Clyde’s trunk. As I pulled the chain to turn the only light on, I was overwhelmed with how many trunks were stacked. Men who sent their trunks home to their families with detailed instructions. The amount of loss rushed over me as I leaned back on some ancient piece of junk that is my Huffy Bicycle. I startled as it fell over and for a moment- happy memories flowed forward instead of sadness. Those happy/sad memories are intertwined in my life and they flow back and forth like tides. I find it difficult to find my shoreline sometimes, but for the grace of God, have met great men and women who have managed to say or do something- that put my sails right.

The Huffy took me back to her original buy at a local used bike shop near Williams AFB. Air Force pilots trained there as well as pilots from all over the world. The Huffy was used as a “flight line bike”- meaning she was pedaled to and from the tarmac by pilots, who would hop off of her and saunter over to get into their planes. I made sure she had a basket on her, as that came handy for after flight activities. Like drinking and pedaling. Everyone thinks the AF is stuffy compared to the other branches. They are branded as “squeaky clean”. Believe me, they have just as much fun as any other branch, but they do it on the down low. In the larger planes, they also don’t have parachutes. So they know that on any given day it can be your day to die. “I’d rather be lucky than good” is the most common theme.

I had forgotten the Huffy had been shipped back here-to this house. I petted her gently and said, “I’ll never leave you again”. Talking to inanimate objects or gear is something I do. You learn to love your gear and take care of it, it becomes almost like an appendage.

I stepped away from the Huffy and found Clyde’s trunk, it was clearly marked in black bold letters with his name and unit number on it. The key he had left in the jewelry box opened the trunk. I started going through the trunk delicately.  I found binoculars, a type writer, a trench coat, a hat, some ribbons, medals and other items. I quickly realized this was not the trunk “of an entertainer for the troops”. I found serious navigational devices, notebooks and other items and intuitively knew I was going to need to tread carefully. I removed all the items, searched them then moved onto the trunk itself. It took me an hour or so and a large lamp for better light, then only by accident, I found a hidden compartment sewn within the liner of the trunk. I pulled out an old musty envelope from its’ secret hiding place thinking I would find more of Clyde’s very very personal love letters to his gal back home. But what I found instead, was horrific.

There were 12-20 black and white photos. On the reverse side of each photo, was neatly typed notes of the date, the location and other details about the photos. In one such note Clyde said, “I am beneath the covers in my tent by which I type these notes. Please take great care to get these into the right hands so these may be officially documented”. Obviously, they were in my hands and I was shocked. Clyde had taken the pictures and developed them behind enemy lines under fear for his safety. The pictures were unlike any others I have ever seen. They had a raw feeling to them, as if Clyde knew exactly what their existence would mean. They are the most horrifying war pictures I’ve ever seen; they are so realistic you feel as if you are there. The pictures were of massacred Jews from around Europe lying in fields, in trenches and in a factory. According to Clyde these were “secret” locales not yet known about.

I went upstairs and I picked up Clyde’s folded American flag and I fell asleep with it in my arms that night. The flag was in her protective plastic case in a box, I couldn’t let her be shipped back in a box; she would stay and travel back with me. I know that what Clyde experienced was similar to what so many have experienced while serving this Country. Its’ a universal feeling of sadness spread out amongst an apparatus from child to mother to wives to fathers and grandparents to children to significant others. It is also an honor above all others.  Its’ an apparatus you may not recognize unless you’ve been very close to that fire known as War and all of the tentacles that support it.

Our veterans that serve our great country do not deserve the way they have been treated as far as the medical issues that they have been bluntly hammered with. Furthermore, I don’t think that men and women go off to fight for the civilian population so that they could return home only to see the free they fought for suffering from a similar pattern of illness and distress. This is a lose-lose for everyone. This is America and we need to remember who we are.

I decided to do a project in the hopes that I would bring hope to millions of sufferers of CFS, GWS and PTSD because I have a link across the board with all of these illnesses. I’ve experienced all of these illnesses personally, with family, friends and loved ones. I’ve been treated beyond horribly and I’ve watched others be treated like less than dog feces while trying to seek treatment. And then there’s the fact that these diseases keep changing names every so many years. A new name equals a new stall tactic and perhaps we will all move forward with a new set of studies. In the meantime, people are becoming sicker and dying from CFIDS, CFS, ME, GWI, GWS, PTSD, TBI’s and their related cousin- suicide. Why do we have to go down more decades of suffering and death with more useless wrong way studies? Why can’t we start treating patients like human beings with treatments that are known to be useful right now? I’ve had a severe form of arthritis since my early 30’s. Modern medicine still doesn’t know what the exact “cause” of arthritis is, yet it is treatable!

There is a lot of very good sound data on these diseases that can lead to treatments now. The time for the continuous shuffling of this house of cards named GWI, CFS, PTSD, TBI’s and related Suicide is over. Cards that shuffle and play games, you’ve had your time in the dark ages. Now it’s time that all patients get to stand in the sun. It is time for action, hope, treatment and possible cures. No More shuffling.

 My story is just my own. It may not be status quo to other patients of CFS/ME, but its’ my story. It’s a story of truth. It’s a story of saving my sons life, fighting for my own life and of watching my friends die. It is a story of war and terror and all the scars and illnesses that we walk away with.

My son and I are good. I could walk away today and never look back on this issue. But that would be a false statement. I thought I would write a book and do a movie project based on the sole objective of helping other patients lead a more hopeful life, to improve patients’ lives and to bring International awareness to a host of serious biological illnesses that are being tossed into a wastebasket diagnoses within a psychiatric ball of crap.

But that turned out not to be the entire case. I am doing this project for all of the above. However, I am not only haunted by those suffering now. I am doing this project to honor those that have passed away. I am doing this for The Fallen. To those that have fallen, let me give everything I have in your memory to right these wrongs and along the way, may many more be spared.

On Monday June 27th The Preface of Viral Assault The Book will be released. We will be releasing the book chapter by chapter, every 7-10 days. Viral Assault can be read here or on Facebook or on Twitter and on Medium. We have chosen to release this in print and audio. There is no cost to read or listen to this book.





 Julia Hugo Rachel

Very Lucky Girl on Valcyte









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