The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 16, 2013

Vet who saved many in Iraq couldn’t escape demons

(Continued)

A few months into their tour, McNabb says, both he and Linnerooth — with the approval of on-site doctors — began taking antidepressants. “He had to have training wheels,” McNabb says. “We all did.”

They worked non-stop, even overnight sometimes. They listened so intently, their nightmares were not their own.

They saw guys who’d witnessed Humvees vaporize before them, medics barely out of high school dealing with double amputations, women sexually assaulted in combat zones. There were soldiers suffering from paranoia, bipolar disorder, anxiety — one was wetting his bed. And then there were those escorted under guard after threatening suicide.

“People are in rough, rough shape ... it’s misery all the time and it does affect you,” McNabb says.

Linnerooth — the only trained psychologist of the three — was frustrated by what he regarded as the Army’s view of mental health as a second-class problem that can be minimized or overlooked during deployment, McNabb says. At times, he also felt powerless — stabilizing soldiers, then having to return them to missions, knowing they’d be traumatized again.

“Sometimes he felt he was putting a Band-Aid over a bullet hole,” McNabb says. “It would be ‘I got you to where you can sleep through the night ... but guess what? You have seven months left in your deployment.”’

For about half his tour, Linnerooth’s office was a 12-by-12 trailer. His heavy-metal soundtrack — he banned the Beatles and Pink Floyd, deeming them too sad — provided a sound buffer. A thermal blanket serving as a makeshift room divider also provided a modicum of privacy.

Linnerooth brought hope to those gripped by hopelessness. In a desert, he could always find the glass half full.

He turned tragedies into cathartic moments: When a platoon lost a member, he’d encourage the survivors to deal with their grief by writing letters to the children of the fallen soldier, recounting the great things about their father.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014