Full Transcript is Below:
– Welcome to our September 2023 NFM Salute. I’m NFM TV’s Greg Sher. We welcome in Marine George Waltz, who served three tours overseas from 2004 to 2008, and he’s got quite a story to share. He joins us from his hometown of Houston, Texas. George, thanks for being with us on NFM TV and thank you for your service.
– Thank you.
– We’re gonna get into what brought you to NFM today. It’s an unbelievable story of generosity from a charity that NFM is close with. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about your three tours of duty a little bit. First one was on a naval ship, the USS Ogden, where you traveled to Australia, Kuwait, and also Ghana, and you did humanitarian work. You later would serve two tours in Iraq where you man radio transmissions and provided enemy position reports to keep Marines safe. Also, you disposed of hazmat. George, on the humanitarian mission on that ship, what are some of the things that you did?
– The first deployment was actually a blast. I loved it. It was actually a deployment I always wanted to do since I was a kid, when my family members told me about it. So for that being my first deployment was very interesting and fun. You go out, hand out food, water.
– And then came the war. Tell us about your time in Iraq.
– So I was a radio operator, so the gist of it is set up comm, communication for the battalion. When platoons needed or wanted a actual radio operator, then they could request one of us to go with them and we’d go with them.
– And in that position, how close to the action, so to speak, is someone like you with that job?
– I’m there with them.
– I know you’ve had serious bouts of PTSD. Don’t wanna peel back too many layers, ’cause I know it’s something, it’s a fresh wound, right? I wanna talk about, just because there are other veterans watching right now that might be struggling, right? And even though you still are facing what you’re facing, kind of put yourself back to when it was the darkest. And we have some veterans watching right now that could probably use some words of encouragement. What would you say to them having been through what you’ve been through?
– You’re not alone. The best thing is the talk about it. Just don’t hold it in, because if you hold it in, you’re just gonna bottle it until you explode. And so find a community of like-minded people, veterans that served in the war or just veterans in general, or somebody who’s gone through the same situation as you, or been through the same situation as you and talk to the person about it. He can probably give you the best advice that you never thought of.
– What is something about war that people don’t know about?
– You’ll come back a totally different person. For my first appointment, I was myself, and I came back and I was a completely different person without even realizing I have changed. It took me close to 20 some odd years almost to realize I was not the same person I used to be.
– When you struggle with PTSD, is it an everyday thing? Do you get to a place where you’ve healed so much that you’ve got the coping mechanisms in place all the time? Or is it a constant struggle?
– Every day is a new day. It can be a good day, it can be a bad day. You just gotta stay grounded.
– Were you homeless recently, looking for a place to go with you and your son? Is that a safe way of putting it?
– Yeah, I was homeless for about four, five months until I found an organization that helped me with my issues. And when I graduated the program, I was able to secure a job at the organization and find a place for me and my son, and that’s when I heard about Code of Vets and they helped me out about getting the security deposit and furnishing it as well.
– And you and your three-year-old son, Theodore, now have a roof over your head thanks to Code of Vets. I know you must be just so grateful for them.
– Yes, I am.
– Well, I just want you to know you’ve got a country of people who are grateful for the sacrifice that you made and the sacrifices that people made that you know who did not come back. None of it was in vain and you’ve got a whole country behind you. And so, I’m really happy to share your story and to look at these pictures of your beautiful boy. What’s next for you? What do you have to accomplish? You’re still a young man, right? So as you continue to heal, what is something that you hope to achieve or accomplish in the future?
– I wanna get a house, but I gotta work on that. That’s gonna be part of my five-year plan and go back to school, become social worker, a family social worker.
– That’s amazing. And I’m sure you’ll do it. You’ve overcome so much as it is. And we wanna thank the Code of Vets and thank you for this conversation. In honor of Code of Vets, we’re gonna donate $1,000 to the charity to the wonderful people over there, Dr. Cindy Walter and Gretchen Smith. This is an amazing nonprofit. George Waltz, Marine. I asked you, should I call you a former Marine, retired Marine? You said, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I can certainly appreciate that. Thank you for your service and best of luck to you in the future.
– Thank you.
– That is once a Marine, always a Marine from 2004 to 2008, George Waltz from his hometown in Houston, Texas. I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. We’ll see you again next time.