Six. That was the number of black bags Army Veteran Frederick Bourjaily and his comrades carried back to base after completing his first operation control assignment while serving in the Vietnam War. And though the experience happened over half-a-century ago, that memory lingers deeply in Bourjaily’s mind today.

Bourjaily shares this story precisely because he wants others to hear it. He wants today’s young service members and military prospects to understand what war is like and to be prepared for all its brutality. He also wants Veterans who may be coping with their own traumas to know that they will never be alone.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, Bourjaily shares what his war time experience was like while also being a father, and some ways he continues to help the Veteran community today as the national commander of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. More than just being a group that brings together Veterans who received the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bourjaily leads the group agitating for military-oriented legislative reform in political arenas.

Bourjaily was also a mentor with the Genesee County, Michigan Veterans Treatment Court.

What is a Veterans Treatment Court?


These Veteran-oriented courts – which regularly coordinate with VA – help many Veterans who commit non-violent offenses avoid falling into a cycle of trouble with the law. And Bourjaily helped Veterans who participated in this program follow a strict but manageable plan to get their lives back on track and get their crimes expunged from their record.


Bourjaily struggled to readjust to civilian life because of the images he saw while serving. But he argues that the help he received from Veteran support groups, including the services provided by VA, helped him tremendously. He hopes that other Veterans will take the step to reach out for help as he did. Veterans like him are ready to assist.

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By Calvin Wong is an intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He studies History as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis.

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Published on Mar. 28, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 646

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