Learning to Scale the Wall

  • Vincent F. CapaldiIIEmail author


One of my most vivid memories of Afghanistan was all the fences. I remember standing in a line looking out at an Afghan village wondering what life was like on the other side of all the barbed wire and security barriers. My attention was drawn back to reality with the sounds of gunshots. I had just realized that I left my earplugs in my bag at the stress control center. I just arrived in Afghanistan and I had to verify that my M9 handgun was in good operating condition, should I ever need to use it. Thankfully I only had to shoot three rounds and I can still hear out of both ears. Getting to this point in my story was not exactly a straight shot. I grew up in a rural community in north western Rhode Island. I attended a boarding school in Connecticut for high school and then went on to Brown University for college. As I consider it now, I have been fenced in all my life. My high school is truly a beautiful place with buildings, walls, and arches made of stone. Brown has incredible rod iron fences which separate the people of Providence from students inside. Walking through the gates of Brown, I knew that I wanted to be a physician, but I had no idea that in 13 years I would be providing care with a weapon attached to my waist.


Combat operational stress reaction Mental health in wartime Afghanistan war Psychiatrist deployed in wartime Military psychiatrists 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral BiologyWalter Reed Army Institute of ResearchSilver SpringUSA

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