“Coming Back With Wes Moore” examines war veterans’ struggles at home

Coming Back With Wes Moore Ryan Berenz

Coming Back With Wes Moore examines war veterans’ struggles at home: This new three-part PBS documentary series reveals how, for some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the battle for a new life begins when the war ends.

Coming Back With Wes Moore

No one comes home from war unchanged. For some veterans, those changes can be as dangerous as war itself.

The three-part PBS documentary series Coming Back With Wes Moore (Mondays at 8pm ET beginning May 13) delves into the lives of a handful of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to explore why some struggle and some succeed in life after their military service.

Moore, an Afghanistan veteran, visits with some former soldiers who’ve been able to adapt and chart a new path in life. Christopher Phelan turned his military experience into a law-enforcement career, and he raises a young daughter while his wife does her own deployment in Afghanistan.

Others, like Brad Farnsley, struggle with continuous physical and mental pain. “To my last day on Earth, this will be a work in progress, trying to get as close to where I was before all this mess happened. Every day, I just try to take a step forward,” Farnsley says. “My husband came home from Afghanistan and he’s alive and everything, but my husband that I sent to Afghanistan never really came back,” says his wife, Ashley.

Letrice Titus maintains a strong connection to her military service. She works for a Veterans Administration crisis hotline, talking other vets through their darkest moments. “It’s horrible because there’s no training on how to recover,” she says. “Some life events you just have to deal with, figure out how to deal with, because there’s no easy answer, no easy fix.”

Bobby Henline was the lone survivor of his Humvee when a blast tore through it, leaving his entire face severely scarred. He now does standup comedy and has gone to entertain troops in Afghanistan. “I love helping others. It’s another way to continue to serve,” he says. But PTSD has made social situations difficult, even with members of his own family. “PTSD isn’t something that we can just expect him to deal with,” says his wife, Connie. “We’re going to all have to adjust our lives a little bit more just to learn how to help him through that.”

Their stories are a call for America to learn how to support the 2.5 million veterans who’ve served and sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan, not just over the next decade, but well into the future. “We are their community,” Moore says. “It’s our job to embrace the men and women who’ve risked everything because we asked them to.”


Photo: Courtesy of Powderhouse

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Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife