Home From War, Former Recon Marine Struggling With Deep Psych Wounds, Subject of Pulitzer Prize Project

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The Story of Scott Ostrom

Photos by Craig F. Walker
Video by Mahala Gaylord

Denver Post, Jan. 3, 2012

Scott Ostrom's story is one of a former Marine who comes home severely wounded by his war experience. But his wounds are inside his mind, from an enemy named PTSD. It is one battle he has never been trained to fight. Says Ostrom of his struggles, "... I have no fuse and if I get attacked, I'm going to kill... I don't want to feel this way."

After serving four years as a reconnaissance man and deploying twice to Iraq, Brian Scott Ostrom, now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. “The most important part of my life already happened. The most devastating. The chance to come home in a box. Nothing is ever going to compare to what I’ve done, so I’m struggling to be at peace with that,” Scott said. He attributes his PTSD to his second deployment to Iraq, where he served seven months in Fallujah with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. “It was the most brutal time of my life,” he said. “I didn’t realize it because I was living it. It was a part of me.” Since his discharge, Scott has struggled with daily life, from finding and keeping employment to maintaining healthy relationships. But most of all, he’s struggled to overcome his brutal and haunting memories of Iraq. Nearly five years later, Scott remains conflicted by the war. Though he is proud of his service and cares greatly for his fellow Marines, he still carries guilt for things he did — and didn’t do — fighting a war he no longer believes in.

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