Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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 now.

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.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judd Reiger
Attending Psychiatrist
Cliffton Veterans Hospital