Danny Reed: Ranger In Need

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Most of you know about Danny Reed, the man who was arrested last week for interfering with an airline flight en route to Great Falls. Sounds like a no-brainer, but there is more to the story: he is a former Army Ranger who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has witnessed some truly horrible events, which apparently – when coupled with some alcohol before and during his flight – caused him to behave erratically and wound up getting him in some very hot water. I found some comments from his mother, Sonja, over at the Topix Great Falls site, where she states:

danny is a former army ranger serving his country in aghantistan and irag. he suffers from post traumatic disorder from being in both wars. army rangers are a special forces. danny was a good child and teenager he started having ptsd sytoms when he came home from iraq.

That certainly paints a different picture – instead of a raving idiot who just got ticked off and went berserk on a commercial flight, it sounds like a traumatized man who drank a bit too much and began suffering some sort of flashbacks or “waking nightmares.” Of course we can’t dismiss his behavior – the rules governing commercial flights are critical to public safety – but in this case, it sure seems that treatment might be the better option than jail.

UPDATE, January 2008: Danny Reed is now doing much better – he received treatment, underwent counseling, and now operates a taxidermy business in West Virginia. I’m glad that things turned out well, and wish Danny continued success and good health.



  1. yup, knowing all of that allows him to break the law and not be accountable for it. what if he got into the cockpit and downed the plane?

  2. Of course you’re right, Sean…but that DIDN’T happen, so perhaps the court will take that into account. I’m not arguing that he shouldn’t pay some price for his crime – just that it be tempered – somehow, someway – due to his mental state.

  3. It’s too bad that we are in a position to scoff at those who allow us to enjoy the freedom of scoffing publicly.

    As a United States Army combat veteran, I can empathize with Danny Reed, and any servicemember who returns from a combat zone and is ignored until he or she hits the front page with something like this. Feelings of frustration, confusion and even anger can combine with the unimaginable sensations that comes with combat, and it seems as if this explosive mix was ignited within Danny Reed that day.

    Sean, it sounds as if you are a reasonable person, so I urge you to just reach out to one veteran you know and do something not many people do–listen. Listen to what sights, sounds, sensations that veteran carries around within him- or herself. Allow that veteran to vent in a safe, healthy environment, okay?

    Perhaps, because of you, Sean, we’ll have one less incident that prompted this discussion.

  4. Chuck I am a veteran of Viet Nam, luckily I was only there for 8 months. I came back drinking way to much which I carried with me until the early ’90s and I’ll probably pay for it more and more as I get older. I don’t blame anyone for it except myself, I’m the one that did the drinking I could have done other things to clear my mind like many friends of mine who took up running and lifting weights during the free time. Thank the good Lord above it didn’t hurt anyone or get into any problems with the law since I’m gainfully employed today and making pretty good money ($100K) for a guy with zero college with a family that’s been together for over 30 years.

    I’m not into psychology to me it’s making excuses for ones shortcomings. I think folks have got to look at their past and say I did that and now I’m going to do this to get on with my life and be a productive citizen.

  5. Sean, I agree with your premise, but I disagree with the implementation.

    “Making excuses for one’s shortcomings” sounds like something a person says when they choose not to extend a helping hand to another hurting human. If you were bathed in a divine light, and can say that no one helped you or inspired you when you turned your life around after ‘Nam, then you are truly an exception to a rule.

    Thank you and God bless you for making it possible for me to serve in a free country, Sean.

  6. Hi guys. I read all of your comments and here is how I feel.
    I know that we are and that we have brought back a lot of men and women from wars and not handled their psychiatric needs appropriately.
    If a soldier came back from war with broken bones we’d fix them, but just because the issue can’t be seen does certainly not mean it doesn’t exist.
    I believe more emphasis needs to be placed on helping these vets learn to manage their issues through trauma rehabilitation and counseling. I don’t want the Iraqi vets to wait the way our Nam vets have.

  7. too bad danny reed is using his so-called service as a means to get out of trouble with the law and the judge and/or prosecuting attorney did not look into his background to see just how many times he had actually been in rehab for the previous 7 years…or look into his teenage years with, yes you guessed it, rehab!!

  8. danny reed never went to rehab in his teenage years. Who ever you are you don’t know me at all. i was a friend with danny and visited his home . he got coined and was a good ranger

  9. i never went to rehab in my teenage years lets see i joined in 2001 got out in 2004 and the plane shit happened in jan/2007 how in the hell does that make sense. i know who left that reply.

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