29 January 2008

29 JAN 2007 Garry Trudeau gets it

29 JAN 2007 Garry Trudeau gets it

I am a longtime fan of the work of Garry Trudeau. When I was just a toddler, he was documenting the Viet Nam war and the reaction on college campuses. A few years later I read a collection of his wartime comics and I was amazed how the characters came to life. Zonker's slacker Zen approach to life and B.D.'s intensity as he wore his football helmet in Viet Nam after enlisting made these real characters who grew and changed through their experiences.

Trudeau has been a staunch supporter of veterans. He has met with troops and written their stories. He has donated royalties from "The Long Road Home" and "The War Within" to Fisher House. These two books tell the story of B.D. fight to live after losing a leg to an RPG and his subsequent battle with PTSD. He has also worked to help Disabled American Veterans and hosts a forum for milbloggers called the Sandbox.

In the past three months, the daily Doonesbury cartoon strip has been relating the story of Toggle, a specialist injured by VBID in Iraq. Toggle is introduced as the soldier who programs other troops' iPods before they go out on a mission.

(Source: Doonesbury, Trudeau, 2007)

He injects his own personality and individuality into his duty as a deployed troop.


He may bend a rule or two, but he is all about the mission.


Last month, Toggle's HMMWV is hit by a VBID.


He suffers an eye injury and a brain injury causing aphasia. He is evacuated home in a C-17 through Landstuhl to Andrews.


Trudeau knows details of our pipeline home for the injured that one could have only gained by being there.


When Toggle arrives at Andrews, he is met by B.D., who feels a need to be at his side, in spite of, or perhaps even because of his own struggle with PTSD after his own injury.


I know that Toggle isn't real, but I read in him so many young men and women we launched from Balad with high hopes that they would find a future life of recovery and happiness. Perhaps he seems so real because Trudeau has come in contact with so many troops fighting to get their lives back after injury. I don't think I'll know how it turned out for thousands of the troops I sent home. I'm hoping that Toggle does okay. Maybe if he can make it, the ones I knew did too.


mary ann said...

Chris, As an author who donates to Fisher House, you are in good company with Trudeau. I've been reading him since you were a toddler. I am amazed about his knowledge of current details.

Laurel (booksforsoldiers.com) said...

Trudeau gets his knowledge of current details by interviewing our troops. See Trudeau's book just out, "The Sandbox: Dispatches From Troops In Iraq and Afghanistan" (Doonesbury.com). A portion of the proceeds from Trudeau's book are being donated to Fisher House. Trudeau is a great supporter of our troops, as well as a great supporter of Fisher House.


Hey sir, wanted to stop in and thank you to linking me and helping me give Duncan some recognition for his strong fight. I know that as a surgeon you must see these kinda of tragedies a lot, and I just wanted to thank you for what you do for us and in doing your best keeping our buddies alive so that they can go home and be with their families. Thank you for your service and I'm sure you've made a difference for more than one.
SSG Ruark

Chris said...

Mary Ann, It impresses me that a person is able to peg the feeling not just once but twice in history.

Laurel, I've submitted to the Sandbox before, and I love reading the many different impressions of the war from many different Americans!

SSG Ruark, Thank you for your comments. We share a common friend in Laurel. If the opinion of a Fobbit matters, let me say that my hat is off to you. I wish my extended medical family could have kept Duncan alive. It is one long strong fight that young man put up. I'm greatly humbled by the fact that I've been given the chance to care for troops. I've had more than one troop say to me that they fight fearlessly because they know that our hospitals are available to save them if there is any chance. That confidence is a weighty responsibility and my bros and I try every day to live up to it.

Be well, stay safe, come home.

Thank you,


troysteward said...

Chris, Thank you for spreading the word on the great things that Garry is doing spreading the word. He is a fabulous guy, a hell of a Patriot, and a man with a huge heart for the American Service-member. Garry and I have become good friends and I continually push his works to everyone through my blog also.

1SG Troy Steward

Chris said...

Dear 1SG Steward,
Thanks for stopping by and also for making me realize I had mispelled GBT's name! The things that happen when you write in the wee hours. Next time you communicate with him please tell him that there is yet another troop out there who has been inspired by his dedication to the troops.

Be well,