Dr. Pete Linnerooth touched many people’s lives.
He did his best, each and every day, to care for those who needed his help.
He did it at what ultimately became a terrible personal cost to him and his family.
He shares something in common with many other Soldiers who did their best each day during tremendously challenging times. Each only wanted to take care of the Soldier on their left and right, performing their duty to the best of their ability, fighting back fear of failure, injury, or death, all the while wishing they were home but never leaving their post.
I don’t want that to sound trite.
I had the privilege of serving alongside the outstanding Soldiers and Family Members in my battalion as part of the Dagger Brigade. I will always be in awe of those men and women. My service with them forever changed me.
As one of their leaders, and, as an American, we will never be able to compensate them or say thank you enough for what they did and still do each day.
Pete is just another example of how special these young people are that volunteer to serve their nation.
The last decade plus of war has taught many valuable lessons. Unfortunately some lessons were only known after the fact.
Pete is an extreme example of “provider burnout,” and I think we have to be concerned and watch out for all providers – doctors, chaplains, and anyone else who provides care.
We have to be vigilant to signs that they have taken on too much of everyone else’s burdens, and need help themselves.
That was one of my key lessons from that experience.
Unfortunately, I didn’t learn it soon enough to take care of Pete. I’m sure Pete is now helping folks in a better place, and I hope he finds personal peace there.
Army Colonel Keith Sledd is a former brigade commander, currently serving in Afghanistan. He was Dr. Linnerooth’s battalion commander in the Dagger Brigade, 2BCT/1st ID, in Iraq in 2006-2007. The views expressed here are his own.