What Happens When Soldiers Come Home From War?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tonight we have one soldier's story. Joseph Dwyer of Long Island was called a hero when he rescued a terrified Iraqi child more than two years ago.

These days he's making news for the wrong reasons. His family says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

N.J. Burkett with the story.

Christine Dwyer-Ogno, Soldier's Sister: "To me he hasn't fully left Iraq."

Christine Dwyer-Ogno is at a loss. When her brother, Army Private Joseph Dwyer carried a 4-year-old Iraqi boy safely through a fire fight he became a symbol of what many Americans believe the U.S. invasion was all about.

Two years later he's become a symbol of something else.

Christine Dwyer-Ogno, Soldier's Sister: "My mother saw that picture and she wasn't as happy as I was. She made a comment that that kid is going to need help - that kid's hurting and she was talking about her son."

He returned to the U.S. with nightmares and flashbacks and last week in El Paso, Texas Joseph Dwyer held police at bay for three hours after he began firing a 9mm pistol in his apartment. No one was injured. Dwyer was arrested and later released to Army psychiatric teams.

Christine Dwyer-Ogno, Soldier's Sister: "He's a very sweet person and he always puts other people first so that was not my brother at all."

Joseph Dwyer grew up in Mount Sinai, Long Island, the son of a New York City police lieutenant. He and his wife no live in Texas and are expecting their first child.

Michel Devaux was Dwyer's 8th grade science teacher and himself a Vietnam vet.

Michel Devaux, Soldier's Teacher: "The average individual is not going to step forward and say 'I need help' because you don't want to be tagged that you needed help, that you couldn't cope with this, that you couldn't put away your demons."

Christine Dwyer-Ogno, Soldier's Sister: "I want my brother back, not for me. I want him to be healthy, I want him to have a life with his family and his pregnant wife and not in pain, not hurting."

The U.S. military, she says, needs to do more and it is not only about saving Private Dwyer.

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