Marine Vet Running for President Reveals Personal Battle with PTSD

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Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., speaks to media during a campaign event held at the Liberty House in Manchester, N.H., on April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., speaks to media during a campaign event held at the Liberty House in Manchester, N.H., on April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Marine Corps Iraq War veteran and 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton recently revealed that he has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and sought treatment for the often-stigmatized mental condition.

The Massachusetts Democrat's announcement in a May 28 Politico story marks what the publication calls the first time in recent history that a presidential candidate from a major party has revealed he or she had received mental health treatment.

Moulton led Marines as an infantry officer during his four tours in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star with "V" device for his bravery in the 2004 Battle of Najaf.

"I just want people to know they're not alone," Moulton told Politico. "I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I'd have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat."

Moulton, who announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race April 22, has a campaign proposal that would require mental-health exams as well as annual physicals for active-duty military and veterans, Politico reported.

The lawmaker has served in the House of Representatives since 2015 and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Moulton said he sought counseling in 2009 and, after a few attempts, found a therapist that he began meeting with weekly, Politico reported, adding that the lawmaker has not taken psychiatric medication.

Since then, Moulton said he has learned to cope with his experiences.

"They'll always be there and there will always be regrets that I have, but I got to a point where I could deal with them and manage them," he told Politico.

Moulton began discussing his ambition for the 2020 race in February and argues that the United States needs to spend more on cyber technology and artificial intelligence and less on aircraft carriers and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Harvard University graduate said America is at "serious risk of being entirely leapfrogged by China and Russian by new technology."

Instead of trying to build new aircraft carriers to match the U.S. Navy's 11-carrier fleet, China has built an arsenal of 1,238 anti-ship missiles, Moulton said.

"That is our best estimate for how many Chinese anti-carrier missiles you can buy for the price of one U.S. carrier," he said.

Moulton also said he thinks the U.S. needs to strengthen its relationships with NATO partners and should be asking whether it makes sense to establish a Pacific parallel to NATO to counter China.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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