Returning vets face a new challenge -- readjusting to civilian life
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Daniel and Lindsey Schauer of East Troy are getting used to life back in Wisconsin after serving nearly a year in Iraq with the Army National Guard. Terry Mayer/staff.
EAST TROY -- A little over a month ago, Daniel and Lindsey Schauer were stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, both nearing the end of a hot and dusty year-long deployment with the Army National Guard that brought them close to riots, a bombing and incoming enemy fire.
Now, on a winter's afternoon in late February, home base has become the sunny confines of a new apartment in East Troy, where the chaos is relatively mild: the chug of a washing machine, the ringing of the phone an the sounds of their son, Logan, nearly 2, playing with their 8-week-old puppy.
But the transition from military couple to nuclear family is an ongoing process.
Lindsey Schauer, 27, a four-year veteran of the National Guard, and a member of the military police, served as a prison guard in Iraq.
She watched detainees from catwalks in one of the compounds, or monitored them at area schools, where they were taught English or took other classes.
The desert conditions were fatiguing, and frightening incidents occurred, including riots, occasional incoming fire and a bombing in downtown Baghdad's financial district that sent reverberating shock waves against the concrete walls of the buildings in the military base were they were stationed.
And all the time, they were away from their family.
"I had a really bad case of depression because of my kids," said Daniel Schauer, who also has a 10-year-old daughter from his first marriage. "I had been gone so much out of my daughter's life because of the military."
Feelings of depression, frustration and anger are understandable and not uncommon in returning soldiers, said John Jansky, colonel with the Army Reserves and a clinical psychologist with the military. Jansky also teaches psychology at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn.
Read the full story in the July 30, 2009 e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.