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What about the forgotten few? The partners and the children of those who went to war, the ones who were abandoned by their military spouses suffering from PTSD. With no one to turn to for any kind of support, with no voice to speak out about the atrocities that they unwittingly have had to endure and still endure, whilst their partners are looked after and compensated by the defence force. 

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Review of Exit Wounds by retired Staff Sergeant David Hartshorn
The one sentence from Exit Wounds that sums up retired Major General John Cantwell as a commander is: “As much as possible I shield
the unit commanders in Afghanistan from the deadening touch of defence bureaucrats and political wrangling, but not always successfully”. John has demystified, in my view, one star rank and above. The Australian generals of the 70s and 80s who influenced my early army career, and dare I say John’s, still mostly displayed the British “stiff upper lip” attitude of show no emotion. John has shattered that myth forever. He has also reminded me about the positive aspects of army mate ship and camaraderie, which have been and will be evident for time immemorial. John has provided a fascinating insight into the policy and decision making at senior officer level, and shown that even at his level, an army general on leave is still at the mercy of policies of “the muted defence public affairs machinery.” While every combat death is sad, the saddest incident for me was the one involving the two soldiers who detonated a buried improvised explosive device while doing pushups in their platoon over watch position. As I finished John’s story I was left with a strong wish that his mates from the first gulf war, Steve and Pete, who John said he has not been able to reconnect with, will get to read this moving account of the unique experience they shared together on the battlefield. 

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