Episode 353 Rachel Oswalt Military Mental Health: Culture, Preparedness, and Support Transcript

This transcript is from episode 353 with guest Rachel Oswalt.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

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Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Rachel Oswalt. Uh, Rachel is a Navy veteran, a military mental health advocate, and the host of the Your Story Doesn’t End Here podcast, which allows military [00:02:00] veterans to share their stories and bring awareness to military mental health issues.

So, uh, welcome to the show, Rachel. I’m really glad to have you here.

Rachel Oswalt: Thank you. You got a chance to be on mine, and now I get the opportunity to be on yours, so I’m really excited to be here.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll, I’m going to link to the episode that we did on your show, uh, in the show notes for this episode, uh, so that folks can go check that out and know where to, uh, get your podcast as well. Um, but we’ll, and we’ll talk about that a little bit more, uh, later as well, but, um, I guess, uh, Yeah, let’s just jump in.

And, um, so mentioned earlier, you’re a Navy veteran. Uh, tell us about your time in the Navy. Um, or maybe even before that, uh, what. Prompted you to join the Navy and what, what got you, uh, kind of started on this, uh, this path?

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah, so I initially joined the Navy in 2012, and in 2012, I joined for reasons of being in a toxic relationship, I was working [00:03:00] multiple jobs, and I was trying to figure out options to Help me and the individuals dating at the time kind of build our life together. And, and what I realized is that A, E1 pay is not enough to support two people and B, it just didn’t make sense for me at the time with what I was doing in my life.

So I actually ended up in 2012 dropping out of the delayed entry program, was told by my recruiter that I could never join. The Navy again, I was okay with that because I wasn’t like dead set on it. It was a little disappointing knowing that, but wasn’t dead set on it. Didn’t make sense for me at the time.

Well, two years later, surprise, surprise, same recruiter calls me back and says, Hey, we need people in the Navy. And for a brief period of time, we are allowing people to join with waivers. Um, obviously now I know there’s waivers for everything. So, you know, it wasn’t that urgent probably, but, um, at the time I worked out really well because I had actually just gotten out of that.

Really bad relationship and, um Given myself kind of a [00:04:00] relationship break and I just started dating my now husband, but I was in this mindset of, you know, I am making decisions for me. I’m not going to allow other people’s opinions to impact my decisions. And so I decided to just go for it. Then I was in a much better position the second time around because I had paid off the money that I owed to the university so I could get my transcripts and join as an E2 rather than an E1, a little bit of a bump in pay, um, and, and I ended up trying to go for Spec Ops, and, uh, I was the only female in the entire state of Iowa.

That was going for a spec ops job in the Navy. All these guys wanted to be SEALs, go figure. Um, I was going for air rescue or diver. The qualifications just varied by the, uh, number of pull ups I believe was the only variation there. So one was six dead hang pull ups, one was four dead hang pull ups. Um, and, and I really grew some of the runtime was a little bit different too, but I grew so much as a person [00:05:00] over.

Those months that I was training to just qualify to get a contract and I didn’t end up getting a contract in Spec Ops. Um, I ended up hitting the qualification times right before I was supposed to ship out, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for me to pick up a contract and make it, but that’s okay. I ended up going avionics in the Navy and uh, ended up being an aviation electronics technician my time that I served.

So that was my beginning into the Navy story.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like just backing up a bit, like your, your first go around when you first were trying to get into the Navy, um, you know, just wrong time, wrong place kind of thing. And, um, you know, uh, And knowing all the waivers and stuff that people get in on, like, honestly, not that big a deal. It, It,

probably was better off for you and the Navy that you didn’t go in at that point and, uh, waited a couple of years.

And, um, you know, that, that recruiter was probably looking at his [00:06:00] numbers and saying, Hey, we’re, we’re a few shy this month or whatever, and picked up the phone and just started calling people. Like, Hey, well, we got waivers. We can figure it out. Yeah. Maybe it’s a little more paperwork, but we’ll, we’ll get you in,

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah, yeah, and I would have joined as an HT the first time around, which now I know is like the plumber of the Navy. Um, so I don’t know that I would have enjoyed my job so much on the ship side as I did more on the aviation side. So everything ended up working out.

Scott DeLuzio: I mean, the stars aligned, everything worked out. That’s great. Um, so when you were, you actually got into the Navy, um, you know, what was, what was your time in, like, what, what was your experience in the Navy like? Obviously better than it would have been,

um, but, but what was that like for you?

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah, so obviously I wasn’t a plumber, aviation electronics technician, I had no experience in avionics, so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I had really no Navy background, a few family members that served in the Navy back in the day, but not really [00:07:00] family members that I frequently talked to at the time, so I really had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

Um, when I went to boot camp, I got this sense and this, um, this feeling that the, The Navy was going to be like this safe place where people were respectful to each other and took care of each other. I found very soon after bootcamp when I joined A School that the military was not that safe place because the, the A School environment, I think it kind of creates that environment because of people coming off of bootcamp and there was a bar on base and you got Marines mixed with Navy and, and, you know, it’s just this whole shebang of people that.

They try to phase in the freedom, but you really can’t phase in freedom for people on that capacity. Right?

Scott DeLuzio: It’s all or nothing.

Rachel Oswalt: yeah, exactly. Uh, so, you know, I found myself even like sneaking around and, you know, I’m on phase one. I’m not supposed to leave base in anything but NSUs and I’m like [00:08:00] changing my clothes, um, taking them in a backpack, like doing my own sneaky things too.

Right? So, you know, I definitely partook in the sneakiness, but I would say culture wise when I was. In A School, I noticed that that’s where a lot of sexual assaults were happening, and the respect that I thought existed in the military did not exist like I thought it did. And training environment, so I was definitely hopeful when I went to my First actual command and, uh, really was met with the same thing.

My first work center was just this cesspool, uh, where, you know, there was a lot of sexual harassment happening in the work center. Uh, you know, inappropriate touching happening in the work center. And because it was behind locked closed doors, I think that’s where people thought it was okay because I worked in a secret space.

So you had to put in a code. There was no windows in there. And it was just the group that was in there was the group that was in there. Um, it, [00:09:00] there’s just this really unhealthy, toxic environment, um, that, that was cultivated there and kind of, it stayed that way for the entirety of the time I was at that first command.

Well, I was only at that command for a year and a half. I went to another C school towards the end of my time there. When I was at my C School, my very first one at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is when I started to experience my mental health issues. It started to experience them prior to that, but when I realized, okay, I need to do something and I need to start seeking help is when I was in my C School and thankfully I had an instructor who was also very open about his own mental health issues, very open about the fact that he was in therapy.

He had a therapist that he was willing to give up his appointment for so I could go see a therapist out in town. So I added more red tape and layers to it. But he was the one who really pushed me to start on my own mental health journey in the military. [00:10:00] Um, thankfully, you know, after my C school for three months, I was only at that first command.

For a very short time, and then I got picked up by my next command, which was my Sea Duty. And in my Sea Duty command, it actually started out really well. And, and I don’t think I talk about this enough when I’m speaking on platforms about my Navy experience, but I really enjoyed that command when I first got there.

What was concerning to me when I look back on that command is that I watched myself I watched myself decline mentally. I watched myself go from a super motivated sailor who was coming in when I was in C school, coming into my parent command and working on qualifications and gleaning as much knowledge as I could and, and really going above and beyond.

And then I watched myself turn into this person who, who realized that the system was working against me. Uh, more the culture was working against me. And that it didn’t really matter what I did because there’s a certain way that things go. And so I watched [00:11:00] myself decline mentally and also my motivation for what I was doing.

And so, you know, everything combined when I was at my second command, as different leaders took over and as different processes happened, it was one of those commands that was supposed to sun down in 2017 and they kept pushing it out and pushing it out. And that command still exists today. Um, supposedly sundowning soon in the next few years, but, you know, when you, when you create this environment of, oh, well, this command’s going to go away, so we’re going to stop sending sailors there.

And then all of a sudden, the Navy’s like, oh, just kidding. We need to send a bunch of sailors there because this command isn’t going away. And so the way that the leadership was, it wasn’t like this consistent, well oiled machine that, I don’t know that any command in the Navy or military really is, I mean, I’m sure some are, but there was a lot of choppiness there and people being thrown in and we need to fill billets, we need to fill spots, so.

This is that. And so [00:12:00] looking back, I think that’s a lot of what contributed to that toxic environment. But during my time served, I’m not all at the same command, but I did lose three friends to suicide while I was active duty, which really took a toll on me mentally. And ultimately, I saw how bad a culture can be in an organization when the leadership is not appropriately trained to handle certain situations.

And, and I think that’s what really spearheaded me onto a lot of what I’m doing today. In the mental health space is, you know, when I talk about my active duty time and all the things I experienced, yes, it was very painful at that time, but now I am able to use it to help other people because I can look at it more objectively.

So to summarize my six and a half years into short period of time, that that probably gives the best explanation of it. Obviously, I’ve left out quite a bit, but

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. [00:13:00] I mean, there’s obviously, you know, lots of details. You can’t give everything in there, but I do appreciate you sharing those, uh, experiences, not that they were, uh, great experiences to go through, uh, necessarily, but, uh, they, they shaped who you are now. Um, they, they have, uh, given you a new mission now in which you’re, uh, doing through your, your podcasts and the mental health advocacy work that you’re doing. Um, And, um, you know, one of the things I wanted to ask you as you were, you’re talking is, uh, your experience. In the mental health system, um, you, you know, you, you said you had that one instructor who, who encouraged you to get the, the mental health, uh, support that you needed. Um, what, what was that, uh, experience like, uh, going through that system?

Rachel Oswalt: yeah, so when I first went to, I didn’t start out going to mental health. I started out just going to [00:14:00] regular Navy medical and I set up an appointment and I walked in and there was a corpsman in there and I told the corpsman, Hey, I have, I think I have anxiety and I knew I had anxiety, but I didn’t ever have an official diagnosis.

So you know, we got to start somewhere. Um, and the first thing that he says when he looks at me is you cannot be in the Navy with anxiety. And it took me back a little bit because I knew that I could be in the Navy with anxiety. I knew several people that were in the Navy with anxiety. And so I’m like, okay, well.

Uh, I don’t exactly remember how the conversation went, but somehow we got to this point where he had prescribed me hydroxyzine, which for anyone listening that doesn’t know what hydroxyzine is, it’s basically a high strength Benadryl, and it has been shown medically to be used for anxiety, for the calming effects of it.

But the problem is because it is a set a sedative type medication, I could only take it at nighttime. And when I took it at nighttime, it just made me really groggy the next day. So it didn’t really help anything. [00:15:00] The other thing that he did was he referred me to occupational health to go speak with the psychologist that was in there and the psychologist can’t prescribe medication.

Her job was just to talk to me. But when I went and I saw this occupational therapist and Uh, she was just handing me coping mechanisms and we weren’t really talking and getting to roots of anything or figuring out anything, but my anxiety was so bad that I wasn’t actually putting into practice her coping mechanisms.

And this is one of the reasons I sought help in the first place, because I have.

And one of the key characteristics of that is that I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t complete things. One huge example, and one of the red flags for me was that I signed up for a bunch of classes at a local community college, went through the whole tuition assistance process, and then literally the week before classes started, I dropped everything.

And that was this pattern that was beginning to develop, and I didn’t want it to carry over into what I was doing in the Navy. Because I really [00:16:00] wanted to excel in what I was doing. And so when someone’s handing me coping mechanisms, and I know that my pattern is that I am not completing things because of anxiety.

How do we get to the root of this, that I, the thing that I came to, for help for in the first place? So I told her that I think I need medication that’s gonna help me with these physical symptoms of anxiety that I’m experiencing and that I would like to combine medication with therapy so that I can still learn the tools at the same time and she looked at me and she said You’re either going to be on medication for the rest of your life.

And if that’s what you want, then that’s fine. Go be on medication for the rest of your life, or you can try therapy, but you can’t do both. And I was so taken back by hearing that I almost stopped going to mental health altogether because for me, I was like, well, that’s incredibly rude. First of all. And second of all, I know you can do both of these things.

Like, it’s not like it’s an off the wall request. Right?

Scott DeLuzio: It’s not, it’s not one or the other

with that. And for the [00:17:00] listeners, like that’s just bullshit advice. Like that, that doesn’t make any sense at all. Like actually the way, uh, medication was, uh, some of the medication for mental health was. Described to me was that it, it almost acts as, um, uh, I don’t want to say a crutch, uh, but, but actually maybe in a way, like a crutch, like if you break your leg and you just got to go walk around the way you normally walk around, well, you’re not going to be able to, you’re not going to be able to get around all that easily.

So you need the crutch to help you get through that tough time that you’re going through and, and going to mental health, the talk therapy, the, uh, the treatments that you go through. It’s difficult to do, sometimes, to talk about some of the stuff that Happened. Some of the traumatic things that happened in your past. And so sometimes you might need a crutch, if you will, to get through just [00:18:00] being able to open up and talk about something, which may allow you to get to a point where now, okay, you’re, you’re able to see some benefits from the therapy. But that was just. When you said that, my jaw almost,

you probably saw it, my jaw almost hit the floor when you said that.

I was like, no way,

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: tell somebody that.

Rachel Oswalt: That is what I was told, and I remember one of my friends at the time, one of my good friends, I actually knew her from boot camp. I told her what was going on, and she was like, well, you should go talk to, go to actual mental health. She was like, the lady at the front desk is really sweet.

It’s a really long intake form, but they’ll, they’ll, they’ll help point you in the right direction, and so I went there. I explained to the lady at the front desk what was going on with me. And she actually told me that there’s two psychiatrists at mental health. One is active duty. The other one is a civilian.

She said, because you do not present physically as having anxiety, [00:19:00] because essentially I wasn’t falling apart in the office. She’s like, he’s probably not going to give you medication. She’s like, but the civilian psychiatrist probably will help you. Which if that alone doesn’t Speak to the culture of mental health system systemically.

I think that, um, that’s horrible because had that lady not been at the front desk to tell me that information and had it been someone else that was like, Oh, we’re just gonna throw you with a psychiatrist. And I had gone to see someone who didn’t help me. I mean, I don’t know where my life would have ended up.

And there are people who take their lives over things like that. It’s, it’s really, it’s no joke. And so to, to know that there are people that are working medically in the military that are picking and choosing, um, and I get it, there has to be a level of discretion there, right? Like you don’t want to give someone medication.

Um, just cause they’re asking for it. But I think someone that really continues to take these steps to say, Hey, I’m trying this, it’s not working. I’m trying this, it’s not working. [00:20:00] Um, to have someone invalidate that is, is horrible. But now when I did go see the psychiatrist, that was a civilian, he did give me Zoloft, which helped a lot with the physical anxiety symptoms.

I saw a therapist at. Mental health, who I just, I didn’t feel like her and I were a good fit and it’s not that she was a bad therapist. Um, she was giving me a lot of coping mechanisms too. I have always wanted the therapist that talks to me to get to the root of the problems. And I didn’t feel like the Navy mental health system was really helping me resolve those.

And looking back now, I realize it’s because mental health when you’re active duty is just trying to get you baseline so you can still do your job, which explains why. They diagnosed me with an adjustment disorder, and that is such a common diagnosis for members of the military, at least on the Navy side, I can’t speak for other branches, but they like to throw this adjustment disorder diagnosis because it’s just enough of a diagnosis that, yeah, we can help you just a little bit, but it’s not so [00:21:00] much of a diagnosis that we have to really deep dive deep and, um, and it looks bad on paper.

Um, I assume that’s what it is because when I got out __________________________________________________________________________ The VA diagnosed me with PTSD, which is a very, very different diagnosis than an adjustment disorder when I knew I wasn’t having problems adjusting. So, um, it’s, it’s just wild.

Scott DeLuzio: And it’s, it’s sad that that’s where, where it’s at. I’m, I’m hopeful that these things will change over time. Uh, we have come a long way.

With regards to mental health, uh, the, um, the stigma around it and all of that. It’s come a long way, uh, since even 10 or 15 years ago, but even, even further back, you go back to, you know, Vietnam era, World War II era, you know, mental health was basically non existent.

It was like. You know, suck it up buttercup. [00:22:00] Go, go, go, uh, you know, get back into the fight. And I mean, unless you were like completely lost it and you couldn’t even, you didn’t even know where you were kind of thing, like, obviously they’re gonna, they’re gonna do something for you, but it wasn’t. Let’s sit down and talk and get to the root cause.

It was, it was like, okay, this guy’s gone nuts and let’s lock him away for a bit, you know, until he

calms down. Um, you know, so you mentioned earlier, um, that you lost, uh, three friends to suicide. Um, I mean, that’s obviously the last, the last. Thing that you want to happen to anybody, um, uh, especially a friend or somebody that you served with or whatever that you, you know, um, those, those types of tragedies though, I feel like they might, I’m going to choose my words kind of carefully, but they, they might spark something in [00:23:00] other people.

Um, not to say that these are good things to have happened. Um, given the fact that they did happen, they like in you, did you, do you feel like that sparked something that kind of. Make you realize just how bad the mental health system actually is.

Rachel Oswalt: Absolutely. And, and the reason I say that is because the individual, the last one that took his life to suicide, I didn’t see that coming. Um, he was one of the happiest people, one of the, you know, the, the people that makes the The crass military jokes that, uh, everyone makes, right? And when you see someone like that take their life.

It makes you think about every other person that’s making the crass jokes. Are they really struggling on the inside? And is there something I’m missing? And for me, I really struggled for a long time with that particular loss. Because The last time [00:24:00] that I had talked to this individual, he did seem off, uh, what off from his usual self and, and, uh, me and a friend of mine and him were out on the plane together and it was late at night because we worked overnights and he was getting off his shift, we were coming on ours and, um, he was just venting and talking and, and I think for us, we felt that allowing him the space to vent And to speak freely was enough.

And it never crossed my mind that he was hurting that bad. And I, and I don’t know if that situation contributed to his death. Ultimately, I’ll never know what exactly the circumstances were surrounding his death, but I did carry that guilt for a long time. And it opened up my eyes to what is, what is it that I’m missing in people?

Because oftentimes we think that just. Listening is enough, but is it enough?[00:25:00]

You know, if I could go back to that moment, I would have asked more questions and I would have made sure that he was in an okay, as much of an okay place as I could have made sure he was before making sure he went home for that night. Um, and you know, there’s only so much that we can do as people at the end of the day, but, uh, but yeah, I learned a lot from that circumstance and that one was the most directly affected suicide.

The other ones were Um, they were in different states, there were people that I had served with, but, but this is someone that I had actually had that direct connection with for the last one, so that’s why I use that as an example.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And you know, 2020 or sorry, hindsight is 2020 where you, you look back and it’s like, Oh, if I did this and I did that and I did this and I did that, then maybe there would have been a different outcome. But, um, you know, in the, in the moment, you know, maybe there just weren’t those, uh, [00:26:00] signal words or whatever that. Really would have triggered it to you that, Hey, there is something wrong. But looking back, you’re like, well, yeah, maybe you could rationalize it.


So, you know, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over what happened because, um, you know, maybe, maybe it was like he. And I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but maybe it was just like, he didn’t want to, uh, you know, burden you with, with that and didn’t use some of those words.

Maybe he knew what words might, might set the radar off for you and it just didn’t do that. I

don’t know. But, um, you know, when you look back on, on things, you know, you look at it a little bit more clearly and you see, um, You know, where, where there, there could have been those clues, Right.

Um, you know, I, I had a similar situation where several soldiers that I served with, uh, when I was in Afghanistan, um, you know, they came home, uh, you know, they were unharmed from, from the, the combat [00:27:00] experience, but, um, they ended up taking their lives after returning home. And, you know, It was actually the reason why I started this podcast was because of those people. Um, because I started to realize not only was this an issue with some of the guys that I served with, but it was, it’s an issue across the entire military.

Where, you know, the, the 22 a day or whatever the number is, I know it fluctuates, but, you know, whatever that number is, it’s too many.

If it’s, if it’s more than zero, it’s too many, you

know? Um, and so, like, I started this show because I wanted to have people like yourself on to come share your stories and, uh, show other people that there is hope out there, that there are people out there who care, who want to talk to you, who want to, uh, you know, help you get through whatever it is that you’re going through, and that there’s resources that maybe you don’t even know about.

I want, I want To share this with as many people as possible. And this was the best way I could think [00:28:00] of at the time to do it. So, um, you know, sometimes I do wonder if I’m doing the right thing, saying the right things, bringing on the right guests or, you know, whatever, kind of like, like you, you know, did I say the right thing at the time, you know,

all of that. And so, um. But I think when you do nothing, you know you’re not doing the right thing because

something has to be done, Right.

And so, how do you feel when it comes to your show, which has a similar mission? We’ll get into your show in a minute, but how do you feel about that, uh, you know, to me it’s almost like imposter syndrome.

Like, am I doing the right thing? Like,

who am I to be doing this kind of show? Right?

Um, what do you feel like?

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah. You know, I definitely do get imposter syndrome quite a bit because when, when I look at just a, I use Spotify for podcasters as my platform and I look at the statistics and, and, and I will often compare myself to other, compare myself to other shows that I [00:29:00] feel like are doing more than me.

Um, but I think when I look at the big picture, uh, when I look at the people that reach out to me, even if it’s just once a year, someone reaches out and says, Hey. Thank you for this episode. It meant a lot to me. Or Spotify wrapped 2023 was a huge, huge confidence boost because I saw how many people had the podcast in their top 10 and how many people listened to the podcast constantly.

And then, then I think what was the huge eye opener for me was when I compared this year, cause I, I’ve just hit. I just completed year two of the podcast. So I compared year two to year one. And I remember numbers that I would get so excited about in year one that I far exceeded in year two. And so reminding myself that if I’m just helping one person, that that’s enough.

That if one person decides to stay on this planet because they [00:30:00] heard someone else’s story, or if one person feels less alone because they heard someone’s story on my podcast, then I’m doing something and I’m doing the right thing.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that, that’s a great way to look at it. Actually, I, I had a similar experience recently. I, I was looking at some of the statistics. I’m a geek anyway, so with numbers and stuff, I I look at that stuff and I’m like, I, I get all into it. But, um, I, I took a look at some of the numbers that I was doing and, uh, I found that, uh, it took me the first. Almost two years of doing this podcast to hit some of the numbers that I did in the last 90 days. Uh, and I’ve, I’ve been doing it for a little over four years now, four and a half, probably years now. And like back then, like you said, I was stoked with some of those numbers back then. And I was like, whoa, this is awesome.

And then I, I was looking at it. I was like, holy crap. I did this in, in the last 90 days. Holy,

like this is, this is amazing. [00:31:00] So, um, yeah, but you’re right. You do get those messages every once in a while. And, uh, you know, even if it’s just once a year, you get a message or once ever, you get a message from someone saying, Hey, that really helped me.

It’s like, okay, well then it helped and it’s achieving its goal. You know, it’s, it’s helped somebody. Uh, and I know when I started, I was like, even if this only helps one person ever. I’ve done my job.

Um, and so, you know, it’s, and you get those messages. More often than, uh, than once a year anyway,

so, um, you know, it’s, it’s a good feeling knowing that, that there are people out there, um, that, that are getting that kind of help, um, I, I had one person, um, it wasn’t even the person who needed the help, it was a mother of somebody who you.

Needed the help. Um, and the guy was just not in the place to be receiving any sort of help, but she listened to, uh, so [00:32:00] many different episodes. She would, she would just constantly be listening, looking for just little clips that she could send to him when he was ready. And she’s like, jotting down, okay, episode number, whatever at this timestamp, go, go here and listen to this, uh, you know, five minute.

Segment or

Rachel Oswalt: That’s awesome.

Scott DeLuzio: it’s not like overwhelming. Cause there’s like 350 some odd episodes of the show. Um, you send them that it’s like drinking from a fire hose. He’s never going to get

anything, you know? So, so like that type of thing, uh, is another reason why I do it is because there there’s people, they’re not.

They’re not ready right now, maybe, to get the help. There’s somebody out there who cares about them who’s, who’s ready to do the work and do the groundwork. And that way, when they’re ready, now we got, boom, all of these resources that are available, or all these stories that might help, or whatever the case may be, um, it’s all out there.

So it’s, it’s awesome that you’re, you’re doing that and continuing to do it.

I think, I think that’s, um, you know, definitely commendable. So, um, as far as the show [00:33:00] goes, um, tell us about it. all for coming. We briefly mentioned it in the beginning of the episode here, but tell

us about the show, uh, and what the mission is of your show.

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah. So your story doesn’t end here as a military mental health podcast. The mission is to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice, bring awareness to mental health issues, provide value and solutions. And then I added a piece end of last year to change the culture when it comes to mental health within the DOD organizations.

And I added that culture piece because I recognized that, yeah, we can push for policy changes all day. We can push for instructions and new this and new that. But until that culture changes, I mean, how many times in the military do we see And instruction get pushed out and the culture of the group is like, yeah, or we’re just going to check the

Scott DeLuzio: we’re not doing that.

Rachel Oswalt: No, we’re going to do the five minute training, sign the paper. Good to go. It was like when I got out and I did taps, I literally just clicked through

Scott DeLuzio: Check the box.

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah, I [00:34:00] didn’t glean anything from it. So, um, you know, the, the biggest thing that I recognized when I looked back at my service objectively was that the issues didn’t lie.

in military policies. There are, don’t get me wrong, there are issues with military policies, but the biggest problems that I experienced came from bad leadership, uh, came from just toxic cultures, and a lot of that is created from just the military environment, the work schedules, the sleep schedules, the people just not knowing what they don’t know.

And, and it was very healing for me to recognize that because Now, the blame isn’t on one specific person for making my military experience bad, um, or the blame isn’t on, you know, so and so as a leader because I didn’t get to do this because of this person, but I can now look at the system and say, well, the culture itself needs to change.

And so the [00:35:00] big part of that culture contribution is Having people come on and share their stories, A, on one hand it’s very healing for people to share their stories. For me, I learn something every time I talk to someone that shares their story. But I also have leaders in the military who have told me, Rachel, I listen to your podcast because I want to be part of that positive change.

And until they know other people’s stories and experiences and what that person would have needed, they’re not going to learn all sides of the spectrum. And so when I first started, I started because I thought that if the civilian population knew how bad mental health was in the military, they’d be outraged.

So I did start with a little bit of rage as my initial, uh, initial driver. But then as I got more into it, And I realized that there’s people, there are people that are learning from this and there are people that are using these stories to not only heal themselves, but be part of that healing change for others.

And hopefully one day someone from high up in the Pentagon [00:36:00] listens to enough stories on the podcast that they understand what it’s really like in the ranks of the military that they don’t see every day, or even with veterans that are experiencing things that aren’t being brought up to the higher ups to really be able to make those changes.

Scott DeLuzio: Right, and even, not even just, you know, the high up ranking people in the Pentagon or whatever, but, uh, just on an individual leader basis too, you can’t expect every, uh, you know, every, you know, uh, you know, every leader in the military to have this background with mental health in mind,

because we’re, we’re not all trained that way, you know, but we can bring awareness to the fact that not everybody’s going to handle things the same way.

You know, you, you may, Be out in a combat situation. You may get into a firefight and one person handles it like, you know, whatever, man, it was just another day at the, [00:37:00] at the office. Right. Or

you might have somebody else who’s like curled up in a ball in a corner and you have these two polar opposite extremes. And as a leader, how do you deal with this?

Like, what do you do? And, and, you know, you just yell at the person who’s balled up in the corner and tell them to suck it up, or, you know, I, I don’t know, like, what do you do? But being aware of the fact that, um, you know, this is just a normal reaction to a pretty abnormal situation,

um. you know, just makes them a better leader. And so doing, uh, stuff like what you’re doing and, uh, you know, coming from a place of rage, uh, I get that. Um, you know, but, uh, but, but doing what you’re doing is, is helpful for people, uh, you know, who want to. Know this. I mean, there’s going to be people out there who just don’t care.

And those, those are the leaders who probably shouldn’t be leaders. Um, and those are the ones who are, they’re not going to listen. They’re not going to listen to this kind of message because they, they don’t care. They, they [00:38:00] just, they’re going, they’re out there for themselves. They’re looking for their own career advancement and all that kind of stuff.

And they don’t, they don’t care about anybody else. They care about themselves. And, you know, but those are not the people that, uh, those people eventually probably get weeded out at some point

Rachel Oswalt: Let’s hope so.

Scott DeLuzio: so. That that’s, you know, fingers crossed, but, um, through the conversations that you’ve had on, uh, your show with other veterans, what are some of the common themes or maybe challenges that you’ve noticed from these conversations?

Rachel Oswalt: so one of them definitely is the culture and the military. It still continues to be. A challenge for quite a few people. I think that comes up in a lot of stories for people that I talk to. Obviously you have your, your kind of blatant challenges like military, sexual trauma, that almost every female that I talked to that I served or serving has experienced, um, which is concerning.

And you have the mental health challenges that are also experienced by most of most of my guests, because that’s [00:39:00] just the niche of my podcast. But I think that the theme. That I see quite a bit is within that culture piece and so that, that is the part that I think needs to be tackled is how, how do we create a better environment for the military so that the military can still function as the military, but, but we can treat people as humans and that’s why I asked Just about every guest that comes on to my show, you know, what would you have needed?

What would you do? What advice would you give for the listeners or any like last profound words you want to leave the listeners with? And, and usually that’s where we glean some knowledge about, okay, well, let’s talk about solutions instead of just focusing on the challenges. Cause I think that’s where the mindset when I was serving active duty, I was so focused on the problems.

And not the solutions that now I want to be able to present. Well, here’s the problem, [00:40:00] but this is what we can do to work towards solutions. And, and I don’t, I don’t think it’s a one size fits all thing because there is so much involved in just the military environment in general, but you know, the more we can focus in on what we can fix solution wise, we can one piece at a time, make this culture better.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that’s, I think we, we can’t tackle this whole thing all at once. You gotta, you gotta pick a piece and work on that. It’s like the, there’s a saying, you know, how do you eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time, you’re

not going to just shove the whole thing down your throat, right? So the same idea here, this is a big beast, uh, to tackle, and we’re not going to solve the mental health. Problem in the military community by just trying to figure out everything all at once. You got to identify, okay, culture, that’s one thing. Okay. Well, how do we fix that? And what’s, what’s the [00:41:00] solution for that? And maybe there’s a, maybe there’s a, maybe that’s a big elephant too. And we got to break that down into smaller pieces.

Um, And, but it’s, at least we’ve identified something and then we can, we can go take a look at that. We can go identify what are the problems in there and we can break that down and, and, and work on those individual problems, a subset of the culture. Um, and then, then we can, um, you know, start making some changes.

Once you start identifying what the problems are, then you can start figuring it out. But if you just like, Oh, we need to fix mental health. Okay. Well, that’s a huge. Friggin thing. How

are you going to just go, yeah, okay, let’s just go fix mental health, no problem, we’ll do that this weekend, we’ll be

good by Monday. Like, no, that’s not going to happen, right? Um, so, you know, you have a lot of people on your show talking about their experiences and things like that. Do you see that the storytelling aspect of thing, uh, [00:42:00] of things is an effective tool for raising awareness about mental health issues? Um, and kind of creating that, uh, maybe a culture where people are more willing to talk about their, their mental health.

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah, I think it humanizes it more because I think we could sit there all day on social media and at rallies and And, you know, in, in boxes of politicians and leaders and saying, this needs to change. This needs to change. This needs to change. But, but when it, the approach and from a psychological perspective, when, when people hear a story and they can maybe relate to a tiny bit of that story, or maybe they can’t relate to a tiny bit of the story, but they see the human side of things, it, it brings a different type of perspective to the table where people.

That are in these positions where they can be a part of the change. Like I talked about earlier, people that I know that are leaders in the military, they hear these stories and they use [00:43:00] these little bits and pieces to be better leaders themselves. To me, that’s more effective than saying, okay. Well, Chief So and So, you need to look at this issue, like you said earlier, mental health, and fix it.

Okay, well how do we do that, right? If we don’t even know what’s going on, and I say this all the time, when that higher up comes to the base, and they do this all hands call, and you bring in all the E1s, and you sit them down, and they’re like, alright, tell me your issues. That E1 usually isn’t gonna stand up and be like, yeah, the mental health system, it’s shit.

I need you to fix it. Um, I had this problem. Like, there’s just, A, there’s not enough time to have those conversations, which you can get the time in a story, right? Like, you can hear all the bits and pieces. that put the puzzle pieces together, as opposed to standing up and asking one question. But then B, it brings in so much more to it, to where there [00:44:00] is more understanding.

So I, I wish that, I mean, I, I don’t want to say that. Time and place for storytelling. I think that podcast storytelling, it’s great because of the environment. Right. If we were to try to bring storytelling mainstream into the military, I don’t know that it would work as well because people probably wouldn’t be comfortable telling their vulnerable stories in front of large groups of people, but

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah. And it’s, it’s kind of strange because when you talk about it, like when you, you have a podcast out there, it’s literally out there for the entire world to

listen to. You talk about a large group of people, there’s, there’s billions of people who

potentially could listen to it. Right. Um, not to say that they’re going to, but, um, but it’s, it is definitely a different environment when you have, um, a group of people with all those eyes staring at you and. And hang on on every word that you say and piercing your soul with their eyes and their, you know, like that is, that’s intense. You know, especially if you don’t have a public speaking background where you’re used to that kind of, um, [00:45:00] uh, environment where you’re up there telling a story and, and sharing it with a group of people. Um. That’s got to be a little bit more difficult. So probably no, that, like you said, that’s not going to work. But, um, you know, I think in some cases there are people out there who don’t know that they’re going to need some sort of mental health support at some point in time, like maybe,

you know. Right off the bat, getting into the military, maybe they, they grew up, life was fine, they had no major traumas in their life or anything, and they, they’re like, okay, well, that’s, that’s just something that happens to other people.

That’s not gonna happen to me, right?

But until you get to that point where something happens, and now It is something that, that you need. Um, you may not even think about mental health as a thing that needs to be, uh, discussed, but people are hearing these stories, like you were talking about, they [00:46:00] are potentially going to be more likely to relate to just like.

A little piece of this person’s story and a little piece of that person’s story. It’s like, Oh yeah, something like that happened to me

or to somebody I know maybe, and Oh, maybe that, uh, that maybe that explains why, you know. Uncle Bill is, uh, you know, a little, a little, little different, you know, he acts a little bit differently at, uh, you know, in certain circumstances.

Oh, cause

he kind of had something similar happen. Okay. Well now you’re starting to put the puzzle pieces together and it starts to make a little bit more sense. So,

so Yeah.

I think hearing those stories, uh, from people, um, Is Is effective in raising awareness, uh, for this type of stuff, right? Um, I know we’ve talked a bit, a bit about the culture, uh, in the military. Um, I got to imagine that’s one of the changes that you’d love to see or improvements, uh, in the military, um, with regards to mental [00:47:00] health. Uh, there aren’t any other things that you, you would suggest? Like if you, if you had a magic wand, you can wave it over the military with regards to mental health and you can just wave it over and tomorrow. It’s going to be fixed. And it, and it, it’s that big chunk of that elephant. We can just wipe off one of those and, and move on. Um, what would you do, or what would you suggest anyways, uh, to improve mental health within the military community?

Rachel Oswalt: So outside of the culture piece, if I had a magic wand, I would bring. I would pour money into mental health services. And when I talk about mental health services, I’m not just saying bring in a bunch more talk therapists. What I’ve learned being in the mental health space is that there are so many modalities of therapy that for one person, talk therapy might be great, but for some person, some, for some people, Equine therapy might be their thing.

Maybe music therapy is their thing. Uh, bringing all [00:48:00] these different modalities and options, but then also now opening up this space to where members of the military Can use therapy as a preventative measure so that we don’t get to the state of crisis because if you think about People that join the military a lot of them are just straight out of high school They’ve never had to to deal with life before because it’s just been like, you know Living with mom and dad and go to school and meals are taken care of or we’re living off of fast food Like it’s just with there’s people in the military.

I’m sure you know this that can’t even Basic hygiene isn’t even like a part of their life, right? Like, and, and a lot of people don’t realize this who have never served is that there are people in the military who don’t know the basic things or what, I guess, for most people would be considered basic things, but for them, the norm is not wearing deodorant or showering really ever because they just didn’t grow up like that.

And so [00:49:00] you take this group of people who are very young. And they don’t know much about life and you throw them into these massive changes all at once and they really are so many changes back to back to back to back to back that it’s like there’s this constant state like heightened state of just cortisol flowing through the system and then then maybe that comes down a little bit when that member of the military takes a leave or maybe it comes down a bit When they’re doing something relaxing or enjoyable, but then it gets hit all at once again when a deployment happens and there’s change after change after change after change.

I mean, there’s this constant needs for mental health support exist in the military. But what I found talking to my guests is that. The military really doesn’t seem to have the capacity right now to help with these preventative things. And what I found, uh, with the base that I live next to in particular is that it is a lot more difficult to try to bring outside [00:50:00] resources in.

And we’re working on it here where I’m at, and I’m hoping that we can bring more modalities to, to the base, because if the military can’t support it, how can? We bring these other modalities to support it, because there are so many non profits out there that have these options available to not only veterans, but also active duty.

So, I think that’s an important piece, too, is that yes, we can work on changing the culture, and I think we are working on changing the culture through platforms like yours and platforms like mine, and the people that are willing to listen to these stories, but if there was something that the military could do systemically, Then I would say just pouring more money into mental health if we had the capacity to do that.

And if there were enough therapists out there that had the capacity to help on the military basis. I mean, again, a multi layered problem to where you obviously can’t just wave a magic wand, but it would be so incredible to say from day one in the military, [00:51:00] you have support. If you need to talk to someone.

Here is this person, they’re your therapist, if they’re not a good fit, or you don’t like this modality, you have other options. And people not feeling like they’re gaslit or feeling like they’re walking on eggshells when it comes to taking care of their own health, which really that could extend to physical health too, not just mental, but.

Scott DeLuzio: Right, it absolutely could. And even things like you were talking about, like just basic hygiene and taking care of yourself, like that, uh, that could be affected too, you know, when you, you’re depressed or, you know, whatever, you’re, you’re not thinking of taking a shower, you know,

cleaning up after yourself and all that kind of stuff all the time.

Like, I mean, I can’t say that that’s a thing that automatically shuts off, but sometimes you’re, you’re just, you don’t even want to get out of bed, nevermind get in the shower. So, um, I, I kind of laugh when you mention that, though, like the basic hygiene, because I, uh, When I was deployed, we [00:52:00] had a couple of soldiers in our, in our unit who, I mean, hygiene was like the last thing they were thinking of

Rachel Oswalt: In Afghanistan.

Scott DeLuzio: in Afghanistan, it was, it was hot.

It was,

you were sweating constantly and they stunk like hell because they hadn’t taken a shower in God knows how long. And. Like, we had to tell them, go take a shower, but it, it actually, and I, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but it didn’t occur to me until you just mentioned this, uh, this kind of scenario that it’s very likely that the only times that they took a shower in their whole life is when their mother told them to go take a shower.

And now we’re in a situation where mom’s thousands of miles away. And. I’m mom now. I’m, I’m the one who has to take care of them, like, you know, until they figure out, Hey, if I, I want people to actually come around me and not be like holding their nose and about to puke,

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: I gotta take care of myself. I [00:53:00] gotta, I gotta shower.

I have to brush my teeth. I have to put deodorant on. I have to, you know, take care of my feet so they don’t get all, you know, rotted and disgusting. Like

you got to do all sorts of things to take care of yourself. But yeah, when. Mom’s constantly telling you what to do. You just kind of wait until mom tells you to do it

and maybe mom didn’t tell, tell you to do it every day.


you didn’t kind of get the memo that you

need to take care of

Rachel Oswalt: And then they probably weren’t sweating in Afghanistan weather conditions every day. So yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: Coming from a colder environment, maybe like

Rachel Oswalt: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: maybe, maybe you can get by with a, you know, a few days without a shower and, and maybe it’s okay. I don’t know. Um, but, yeah, throwing, throwing more money into, to this, I think, you know, a lot of times I, I don’t want to just say throw money at a problem, um, because. If you’re doing more of the same thing, it may not be the right thing. And that’s, that’s wrong. But, uh, you know, I know I’ve heard people [00:54:00] who waiting months, actually myself included, have waited months after calling for an appointment for mental health, just to get that initial. What’s wrong appointment,

you know, not, you’re not sitting down doing anything constructive during this appointment.

It’s like, Hey, what’s wrong? Where can we, where can we put you? Like, what therapist can we put you with to, uh, you know, solve this? And it was months, like four or five months or something like that, that go by and You start to lose people during that, that time period, depending on the severity of, uh, you know, what’s going on with these people. Um, so yeah, having more of these resources available, um, you know, hiring more therapists and Having the different modalities, like you said, are important too, because, um, yeah, you don’t want to just force everybody into talk therapy because some people just don’t want to talk.

Um, I had a guest on a few years ago [00:55:00] on the show, didn’t want to talk to anybody about the mental health, uh, things that were going on, but got involved with, uh, artwork.

I think it was, uh, like sculpting and things like that. And when. She would bring her stuff to the, the art shows to display it. People would start talking about it and she would go over and she would say, Oh yeah. And she would start describing why did she do it this way? And

it was all basically her form of talk therapy,

but it wasn’t sitting on a couch in a therapist’s office.

You know,

it was, it was a, just a different way of, of doing that. And so she expressed herself through her art. So yeah, having, having art therapy or equine therapy or All these different modalities that are out there. I mean, there’s so many, and like you said, there’s so many nonprofits out there too, who with the right funding could reach a ton of people. Um, if we can get some of these nonprofits into these military bases and just say, Hey, this is your, your dedicated mental health time,

[00:56:00] go, go take care of yourself. Um, that would, that would be probably a great place to start. So I

like that. I like that. Um, are there any resources, this is maybe a flip side to the same question, but any resources that already exist that are just being underutilized, um, and maybe need more attention in the military community?

Rachel Oswalt: So one thing that I’ve been focusing on a lot lately on is the transition and reintegration piece. And, and I had a little bit of a hard time shifting my focus to this a few months ago because I was like, well, you know, we’re focusing on mental health, right? How does transition and reintegration, how does that help mental health?

Well, then I started to think about the amount of people that stay in the military because they’re afraid of what’s on the other side. The amount of people who get out of the military and they don’t have that support as a veteran. And so they do take their life or they’re depressed or stuck doing something they hate.[00:57:00]

And so a resource that it’s kind of a multitude of resources, but this group, the San Diego Veterans Coalition. Uh, has helped cultivate this really just timeline, this transition timeline that I’ve been very much involved with lately in my own community. And it starts with an app called Managing Your Transition Timeline.

The website is mytt365. online. And I can send that to you so you can post it too. But what it does is it takes service members up to two years. From the time that they separate prior to the time that they separate from the military. And it takes all these transition items and it puts them on a mobile app checklist.

So that already is helping because now it’s not relying on the career counselor and the piece of paper and hoping we hit everything. It shows that progress, which I’ve read psychologically, just seeing progress on like a thermometer or a timeline is helpful for people to get things done. [00:58:00] The other cool thing is that career counselors can also have access to this tool to see where their Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen are at in their transition.

So now that support piece is there and so, um, the, the other piece to it is, you know, programs like Onward Ops that help connect service members with a sponsor in their community when they get out of the military that can help with that transition process. But the main key piece to this. Is what’s called the CMVR or the Center for Military and Veterans Reintegration, and it’s only set up in a few communities so far.

So Southern California has a few of them. We’re working on getting one set up in Woodby Island, Washington. I believe Quantico, Virginia is working on getting one started as well. But the CMVR model prepares communities to accept the, the veterans back into the community. So a lot of communities wanna know, what can we do to help?

Well by, by basically the CMVR pools, the [00:59:00] resources together. So it takes all these collective for-profit and nonprofit resources, it brings ’em to one place. So that when the veteran needs help or they need resources, they can go to their CMVR and they can get the help they need. Then, so, I say that’s underutilized because there are people in the higher up government that know about these resources, whether it’s the Managing Your Transition Timeline.

Onward Ops is actually intertwined with the VA program, ETS Sponsorship. So that is already pretty much a government thing. But the CMVRs, if we could get more communities, To establish the Center for Military and Veteran Reintegrations, whether they do it virtually for their community or have a physical center.

I imagine that the outcomes for veterans and military would exponentially. Be more positive because people know, people know I’m going to go back home and for example, Chula Vista, [01:00:00] California will send a welcome packet to veterans that are coming into their community and they’ll say, hey, thank you for your service.

Welcome home. These are their resources. This is, this is information about the community that you’re moving into. And I think there’s so much power in that, because people feel so alone in this day and age, especially after COVID. And that small little gesture of like, hey, we see you, we recognize you, the mayor is sending you a letter and saying, welcome to our community.

Like, that’s It makes people feel important. So

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. And when you have, you just lost that, that group of people that, you know, the Navy or the Army or the Marine Corps or whatever that you were in and you’ve lost that community that you were just a part of. And now all of a sudden this, this new town that you’re moving into sends you a letter and, you know, list of resources and things that can help you out.

It’s like, Hey man, this is pretty cool. I’m, I got a new community now. I got, I got, these are my people now, you know, like [01:01:00] that’s pretty cool. Um, so. Rachel, uh, before we, uh, end up in this episode, uh, where can people go to find out more about, uh, or find your podcast and find out more about the stuff that you do?

Rachel Oswalt: yeah. So my website, ysdeh. com has the Spotify and Apple link to my podcast. You can go through there or you can go directly to Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio. Google, I think is turning into YouTube, but last I knew it was still on there. I don’t know what’s going on with that whole thing, but, um,

Scott DeLuzio: I think that’s coming off.

I, I, I’m not sure when, but,

Rachel Oswalt: And I haven’t started on YouTube yet.

I’m playing around with it, but I don’t know how I feel about it yet. So, um, but we’re not on YouTube yet. I will say I do have, um, for most platforms, if you search either YSDEH or underscore YSDEH on Instagram, Facebook. Um, I do have a YouTube channel that I just kind of post shorts on. Uh, you can find me on all those social media platforms, which should be linked on [01:02:00] my website as well.

But definitely if you want to reach out, fill out the contact form on my website. You can reach out to me through there and, uh, I would absolutely love to connect with anyone.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I’ll have the link to that in the show notes as well. So people can find that easily so that they can, uh, check out the podcast and subscribe there. Um, you know, I know we have similar missions and I know the, the folks who are listening to this show are probably the same type of people who. Might be interested in listening to your show. So I’d love to, uh, you know, spread the love and get more people, uh, involved in, in this message here. Um,

before we wrap up this episode, I want to do, I like ending episodes with a little bit of humor. Um, and I do a segment now called, uh, is it service connected? Uh, and I love doing it with other veterans who are on the show. Cause I always get to laugh. Um, it’s basically like America’s Funniest Home Videos, like a military edition of that, where you take a look at a video of a service member doing something stupid, um, and. We try to predict whether or not whatever happened in the video would qualify [01:03:00] for some sort of disability somewhere down the line. Um, they may or may not always be US military, but we can just assume, you

know, that they were, you. know, or whatever, cause it’s, they’re, they’re funny and people all over the world do stupid stuff. So, um, I’m gonna, uh, I’m gonna, um, pull up this video here in just a second.

Rachel Oswalt: All right.

Scott DeLuzio: so that you can, you can share as well. Um, And let me just make this a little bit bigger. Where’s that? All right, there we go. Um, so for the listeners of the podcast, you can’t view the video right now. I’ll try to describe this. Um, this does not look like us military right now, but, um, based on the uniforms, um, but it looks like there’s, let’s see, six, six

guys standing around a circle, um, and I don’t know, let’s give this a play and see what happens. Okay, they’re passing something around the [01:04:00] circle. Looks like it’s smoking, which probably is not a good thing. And they threw it in a hole.

Rachel Oswalt: Was that a

Scott DeLuzio: Holy shit. Yeah, it looked like it was a grenade. They’re passing, they’re playing hot potato with this grenade. Passing it around. Going around in a circle. The last guy throws it in the hole and they all jump out of the way as the thing explodes.

Rachel Oswalt: Uh, they made it to like a solid five people and then they’re like, nope.

Scott DeLuzio: And the last guy is like, screw this. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna be the last one holding this thing. I have my whole life flashed before my eyes. Oh my


Rachel Oswalt: they didn’t look like they, uh, they didn’t look like they were too injured when they hit the ground. So I’m going to say no, no, not service connected.

Scott DeLuzio: No, that not service connected. I mean, there may be some, uh, mental health conditions there

after doing that, but,

Rachel Oswalt: You know, you can make any, any condition in the military service connected if you really want to, but

Scott DeLuzio: I’m sure you could.

Rachel Oswalt: the physical, side of that? No, no,

Scott DeLuzio: no, the physical side, they’re, they’re good to go. I mean, they, they, [01:05:00] the grass look pretty soft there

where they’re, they’re jumping onto,

so I think there’ll be okay, but holy crap, uh, just playing hot potato with that thing, throwing it around

and then.

Rachel Oswalt: like something a Marine would do.

Scott DeLuzio: It does. Yeah. Uh, I wasn’t gonna go there, but you did, so that’s fine.

We, we can, we can go there. Yeah, the Marines probably would do something stupid like that. Um, uh, yeah, I could see that. But, um, yeah, it’s, it’s almost like Russian Roulette that they were playing. Like, that, that seems like a terrible idea. Like, who would do something like

Rachel Oswalt: Listen, I’ve never, I’ve never thrown a grenade before, so I can’t relate, but like, if you are that close to a grenade. Is it, like, isn’t there more of like a aftershock of some sort? No? No? It’s kind of like a small,

Scott DeLuzio: It’s, it’s not, it’s not what Hollywood makes it out to be in the

movies. It’s, it’s, like, in the movies, like, they throw a grenade and like, like, it’s, it, [01:06:00] they make

it look

Rachel Oswalt: like an atomic bomb.

Scott DeLuzio: off or something. Like, it’s not that. It’s, you know, there’s, there’s obviously the noise and there’s like the clouded dust that comes out, uh, you know, but it’s not like this huge fireball inferno coming through, like,

Rachel Oswalt: So you could totally play hot potato with it and just

Scott DeLuzio: You could, I mean, for a couple seconds anyways, and then you want to get that thing out of there.

Rachel Oswalt: Not recommended.

Scott DeLuzio: No, don’t do it. That’s true. Not recommended. Don’t do it. You didn’t hear that here. Don’t do that. It’s stupid.

Rachel Oswalt: Disclaimer.

Scott DeLuzio: Disclaimer, don’t sue me because someone blew their hand off or something stupid. I don’t know.

Rachel Oswalt: Scott said,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Scott said it’s fine. You could do that. No, I didn’t.

That’s not what I said at all. I’m an expert because I threw a grenade a couple of times.

Like, no, I’m not an expert.

Rachel Oswalt: Listen, military standards are an expert. One time,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. One time. Good to go. Check the box, move on.

Rachel Oswalt: I shot the nine millimeter two times at bootcamp, twice only because I failed the first time. [01:07:00] And I think I got marksman. And I still have the ribbon. I should not be a marksman. I should.

Scott DeLuzio: you’re, you’re, I mean, you’re damn near an expert

Rachel Oswalt: I’m qualified. Yeah. Yeah. Right?

Scott DeLuzio: me all about it. Tell me how to shoot it. That’s

Rachel Oswalt: Yeah. Right? Give me all the 9mm handguns.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Awesome. Well, thank you again for taking the time to join us. I appreciate everything that you have done for, uh, for mental health awareness in the military community, uh, as a whole. So thank you.

Rachel Oswalt: thank you so much for having me, Scott.

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Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into [01:09:00] this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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