In 1966 Ken joined the US Army, and after basic training and AIT entered Officer’s Candidate School. As an Army 2nd Lieutenant, he was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and then volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War. In 1968-69 he was stationed in Cu Chi South Vietnam, as an Artillery Forward Observer, for six months on the ground, and then six months in a helicopter. He took part in numerous co
mbat missions, and earned numerous commendations including The Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star and Bronze Star.
Following his military career, Ken returned to his home town of Richland Michigan (just outside Kalamazoo), and spent just 15 months trying to sort through his post-war life, while dealing with issues that have come to be known as PSTD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Within fifteen months of returning from the battlefield, the nightmares, explosive rage and excessive drinking drove him from his family and home. He headed off to San Francisco in an effort to turn his life around, and with a tremendous force of will he was able to stuff back the negative emotions and give up his unhealthy lifestyle. He poured himself into work and within a few months met Paula, who he married in the spring of 1972.
Over the course of the next fifteen years, he remained restless and on edge. Feelings of betrayal and rage still plagued him all too often. In the late 70’s he and Paula became involved in the Personal Growth movement in California, and both took numerous seminars that dealt with many life issues – though they never touched on the subject of war. In 1988, the couple began studying with a Martial Arts Master, and from their experiences in the dojo, and an introduction to Eastern ideas, the seeds for healing were planted. Ken was at last able to open the festering wound of war, give it a voice, and allow true healing to that place.
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