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“Every time we had a training rotation that sucked, Rice was always cracking everyone up.
But he had a serious side as well.” Their softball team was so talented, both Rice and Allen say, that they were set to fly out to Landstuhl, Germany, to play in a multi-platoon tournament. “We had to deploy.” For about a year, beginning in December 2009, Rice, Allen and the rest of an eight-man squad occupied a large camp called Combat Outpost Nerkh, in a valley outside of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Sometime that evening, Rice left camp to patrol the perimeter. When Allen and an accompanying sergeant ran to the site, they found Rice on his back. Rice had stepped on a “toe popper” – a land mine – after taking a knee on the ridge. “Just the fact that one of your brothers got fucking mangled like that,” Allen says. Though Rice left the hospital in December of 2014 without being diagnosed with PTSD, he battled with telling signs: anxiety upon hearing loud noises, unsettling dreams, and depression.Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments for war trauma victims – those delineating from conventional western medicine, like mindfulness meditation and “movement therapy” – have been proven helpful.Government funding for CAM treatments has been ratcheted up the past couple years, but one 2012 study found that only 40 percent of vets seeking help for their mental trauma were actively engaging in CAM treatments – many vets are not eager to talk about their PTSD to someone other than their therapist. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD says that although alt-treatments have yet to get a definitive study, they are often immensely helpful – that is, as long as vets are not forgoing traditional remedies altogether.Here, Ben phones his family in Houston, Texas, to see how they are weathering Hurricane Harvey, while Tom prepares to attach his prosthetic.But in July 2012, Rice and his troupe embarked on a stretch of service that saw far more danger, while holed up in an outpost in Afghanistan’s Charkh Valley.