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Sidney Alvin Lee - U.S. Army Airborne Ranger

In the old days, they taught a boy to swim by tossing him into a lake and telling him he was on his own.  Well, that actually happened to me.  Dad took a weekend job with a crew to float a barge sunk in the Pearl River.  I was with him and stood on shore watching.  When the barge surfaced, and the men tied it off, Dad walked casually over to where I stood, picked me up and tossed me in the river.  Then, he sat down on a log and lit up a smoke.  To a six-year-old, the Pearl was a damned big river and no doubt teeming with sharp-toothed and needle-fanged monsters.  I panicked, of course, wailed and screamed like a banshee, but Dad pretended he didn’t notice.  I beat the surface of the water, clawed at the sky and begged God or anyone to save me.  No good.  Finally, I realized no one would come to get me.  I was on my own in that river, so I gave up and started swimming.  Somehow, I flailed and kicked and fought until I crawled ashore soaked and covered with muddy slime.

  • His father’s method for teaching a six-year old to swim would be considered emotionally abusive by today’s standards. It is also a good example of the caregiver-perpetrated stressor that can predispose an individual to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder if exposed to a traumatic stressor later in life.


1. Racism in the Military
2. Tossed into a River
3. Dad's Death
4. MLK
5. Jump school
6. Rosie Marie
7. A lot of action
8. The world turned to shit
9. Attacked from three sides
10. Green tracers
11. The last day
12. PTSD symptoms kick in
13. Too petrified to move
14. No support from Uncle Sam