Department of Veterans
July 14, 1987
Dear Ms. Peabody,
I am writing you in response to your inquiry concerning the mental stability
of Richard Francis whom you are considering promoting to the position of
Chief of the Security Force of Cliff College. Mr. Francis has authorized
me to discuss his records in full, insofar as I feel that the information
might be relevant to your understanding of his mental health since his return
from Service in Vietnam fourteen years ago. For the record, Mr. Francis
has spoken very highly of you through the years and of his trust in your
fairness-- since trust is something that does not come very easily to Mr.
Francis, I am sure that you will exercise discretion in divulging any information
about him to anyone else.
I first started treating Mr. Francis (then Sergeant Francis) in 1973, within
weeks of his return from 38 months of duty in Vietnam. He was then exhibiting
all the symptoms we now accept as classic for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome,
coupled with the very natural hostility he felt toward a society able to
villify him simply for having done his duty. I must admit that I have realized
during the years since, though, that many of Dick's anti-social tendencies
were rooted more in the miserable, restrictive, loveless "home"
in which he grew up than in the difficulties of being (his words) "an
unappreciated Vet working as a meter maid at a college filled with spoiled
brat rich kids whose idea of war is a heated debate over whether or not
Descartes is better read under the influence of pot or acid."
Dick's ambivalence toward his fundamentlist, undemonstrative, intolerant
parents has been the not-so-guiding force of his life. Even after their
deaths, he struggled to let go of their standards and accept his sister
for the open way in which she has chosen to live a lifestyle that was so
unacceptable to their parents that they held a funeral for their "dead
daughter" rather than acknowledge, let alone accept her. But, as the
years have gone by, Dick has learned to be his own man-- a man whose devotion
to his sister and her daughter are the most important things in his life.
And, through his acceptance of Maud, he has come to accept himself and
even to accept his parents for being flawed and misguided and simply human.
Dick's tendencies toward inappropriately violent behavior (you alluded to
the recurring incidents with Dennis Dubois through the years) have been
brought under control, I believe. Though, there is no denying that he does
bear Chief Dubois (in particular) and the tribe (in general) a particular
animosity that I've never understood. I do not believe that this is rooted
in any racial prejudice, since I have never heard any hint of such from
Dick. In fact, I wonder if there were some incident between the two many
years ago (they have known one another since childhood). Bottom line--
we have felt no need for Dick to be on any medication for almost two years
I appreciate your point that Dick is intolerant of "failure" in
other people and that he can be cruelly critical, but I detect a mellowing
in him lately. For example-- he complains bitterly about one of his associates,
Ty Powell, but has lately begun to explain to me and himself why Ty is a
careless, irresponsible slob. As we all know, understanding is a big step
toward tolerance. Many of the qualities you are concerned about in Dick
are those which would probably make him an excellent choice for the job.
He will work hard and, but for his sister and niece, will let nothing ever
get between him and doing the best possible job he can. For, whatever high
standards he applies to the rest of the world, they are rungs lower than
those to which he holds himself.
I hope that you will consider this my endorsement of Dick's ability to control
himself and his temper in the interest of performing well at whatever job
he holds. And, I hope that that job will be the post for which he has applied.
Thank you for your obvious interest in his welfare.
Dr. Judd Reiger
Cliffton Veterans Hospital