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“I just wish that there would be some kind of medication where we could take and clear the mind, forget about it.” (audio interview, 1:10:12)

   Reynaldo Puente
Collection image
Reynaldo Puente with the 1st Platoon and a Pershing Nuclear Missle [n.d.]
War: Cold War
Branch: Army
Unit: 1st Firing Platoon, Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment
Service Location: Fort Polk, Louisiana; Lawton, Oklahoma; Germany
Rank: E-4
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Reynaldo Puente may not have served in direct combat, but his duties as a nuclear missile crewman put him on the front lines of the Cold War. With the knowledge that a nuclear strike would cause unparalleled death and destruction around the world, the mental stress of serving on combat alert status left a lifelong impact. After years of suffering anxiety and sleepless nights, he was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his experiences. Nevertheless, Puente says if he could do it all again, he would answer the call to serve his country.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Audio Interview 
Download: audio (73 min.)
»Photo Album  (1 photo)
 Personal Correspondence
»Letter to Puente's sister, signed in his own blood.
 Other Materials
»Two telecons dated 10/25/1973 and 10/26/1973 from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to George Rowland Stanley Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer
More like this
»PTSD: A Lasting Impact of War
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Delaying joining the Army at his father’s request; enlistment with his parents’ blessing; job assignment. (02:30) Training; assignment in Germany; only Hispanic soldier in his unit; arming nuclear missile; letter to his sister describing what to do in the event of his death. (07:31) Potential pre-emptive nuclear strike; nightmares; does not regret service. (04:21)
Suffering anxiety, sleepless nights, financial trouble; PTSD diagnosis; family support; difficulty getting help from the VA. (08:18)  

Home » Reynaldo Puente
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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