Many people came together to assist in the release of Lance Corporal Jon Hammar from a Mexican prison including some of our Mexican brothers and sisters. While the efforts of the Silver Star Families of America and those working behind the scenes will not receive the acknowledgement that they deserve, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that put forth an effort to get Hammar released.
I believe it was an accumulation of all our efforts, an honorable Mexican judge and an exceptionally helpful and professional United States Consulate in Matamoros headed up by Mr. Koen, that lead to Hammar being home for Christmas. It is something we should all be thankful for.
As is often the case, while working on freeing Hammar, we stumbled our way blindly onto other facts that need to be debated, such as the other 400 or so Americans in Mexican prisons. (how many of them are veterans?) How many phone calls of desperate family members do our Consulates field every day? And come to think of it, how many veterans are in U.S. prisons that we have forgotten?
We were also surprised at the efforts of both the United States and the United Mexican States, that are working together to improve the Mexican justice system.
And lastly I believe we should ask why did Lance Corporal Hammar want to make the trip through Mexico? From news accounts it was made obvious that Hammar was trying to escape from the images and horrors in his own mind. Post Traumatic Stress is no joke and as we have seen many times it can often lead to making decisions that are not good ones. PTS can also lead to alcohol and drug abuse in an effort to escape from what they may see as reality in the own minds.
The Silver Star Families of America have been a leading advocate for those who have been wounded with PTS. The situation with Corporal Hammar should be viewed as a chance to discuss new and innovative ways to treat those so wounded. Lets have that debate now.
Thank you my FRiends
For you help, support and prayers.
Correction to the above article.
The Consul General in Matamoros is Thomas Mittnacht, proud father of a Marine Corps Captain with two combat tours. I am a step down as Consul and chief of consular operations at the Consulate General in Matamoros.