Solace in the sky: Flying helps combat veterans free themselves

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Solace in the sky: Flying helps combat veterans free themselves

 

by Vince Delvin
Missoulian.com

"Many military veterans who fought for your freedom now fight for their own – a freedom from symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder that threatens to take over their lives and relationships."

"Sadly, suicide is not an uncommon escape for those with PTSD. Jesse Roods, director and chairman of XSports4Vets – as well as a wildland firefighter who served as a Marine in Iraq – says an average of 17 veterans commit suicide every day in America."

POLSON – Brandon Bryant has done most of his flying from the inside of trailers.

The U.S. Air Force veteran piloted drones over Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya during his seven years on active duty. He steered the unmanned combat air vehicles with his feet firmly planted on a floor and his eyes not on the skies so much as on banks of computer screens.

So this was a little different, last weekend, when Bryant slipped on a helmet and took off from the Polson Airport on the back of what amounts to an open-air two-seat tricycle with a wing attached, and a motor capable of propelling it all through the sky at speeds up to 90 mph.

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Keywords: military veterans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, PTSD, suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder
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