About Me

I’m 40 41 42 43 44.

In college I lost my faith and then became a comparative religion major.

I worked in finance and publishing for a couple of years after college and then joined the Marines.

In 2007, after my second deployment to Iraq, PTSD, moral injury and severe depression took over my life. I began trying to drink myself to death. Thoughts of suicide became common until they were a near daily presence by 2011.

In early 2012, after thoughts of suicide had evolved into plans for suicide, I began to have breakdowns. At rock bottom, a description for a circumstance I used to think cliched until I met it personally, I somehow made the right decision. I entered into therapy and stopped drinking. Minus a few days, I’ve remained sober. I also take medication.

The concept of a future is available to me again; PTSD, moral injury and depression take that from you. It is an incredibly profound joy to once more have a life ahead of me.

More importantly, my soul, which I had kicked into a hole and subjugated years ago, is getting healthy too.

I can be reached by email: Matthew_Hoh (@) riseup.net

+ In February 2016 I was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury in addition to my psychological issues. In the October of 2016, I received a diagnosis of neurological-cognitive disorder.

Professional Biography:

Matthew has nearly twelve years experience with America’s wars overseas with the United States Marine Corps, Department of Defense and State Department. He has been a Senior Fellow with the Center For International Policy since 2010. In 2009, Matthew resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan with the State Department over the American escalation of the war. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Matthew took part in the American occupation of Iraq; first in 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, Matthew worked on Afghanistan and Iraq war policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. Matthew’s writings have appeared in online and print periodicals such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Defense News, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He has been a guest on many news programs on radio and television networks including the BBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, Pacifica. and RT. The Council on Foreign Relations has cited Matthew’s resignation letter from his post in Afghanistan as an Essential Document. In 2010, Matthew was named the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling. Matthew is an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts, North Carolina Committee to Investigate Torture, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War, and is an Associate Member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He has been certified by North Carolina as a Peer Support Specialist for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder.

49 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hey Matt,
    Its always great to see you so active and out spoken. Its great to see more and more soldiers come forward and sharing their experiences with others. I haven’t spoken too much about why I was medivac from Afghanistan. Well its because I am one of those guys who tried to end it all myself. I had reached a point of stress in my life thinking that the life in Afghanistan had become a norm for me and that there wasn’t any going back to being a real part of society. That last deployment in 09′ was my 3rd deployment. I wasn’t always a Civil Affairs soldier. I was also an Infantry soldier who served in the invasion into Iraq in 03′ with 101st Airborne. Like you I think we have both seen enough blood shed, and tears from both our brothers and sisters, and the countries we have effected. When you wrote that letter of resignation as our DoS rep it inspired me. I thought I was the only one who felt that we were fighting for a corrupt government in Afghanistan. I am glad you came forward like you did, and I think that you have been an inspiration to a lot of soldiers out there. As far as the PTSD goes I have been suffering from it for a very long time. I was suffering from it when I got back from Iraq and didn’t even realize it. Like you I was drinking a lot. I was being irresponsible, and lucky that I didn’t get anyone killed in the process. Thanks for all that you have done and are doing. Keep up the great work.

    David J. Leavitt

    Like

    • Thanks David. I’m really glad we are staying touch. I had no idea of your personal history, I didn’t even think you were old enough to be in the service in 03! I hope you can contribute to this page and help others through your experiences.

      Like

  2. Matt,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It reminded me of a similar path that I created for myself. Unfortunately, it does take rock bottom for some to realize it is time to get help or talk with someone. For me it took 3 years to admit I needed help and waking up in the hospital after drinking a whole bottle of whiskey and pills. Most importantly, listening to my family and friends for the pain I caused provided the wake-up call I needed to seek help and put forth the effort needed.

    You are an amazing individual and a person I respect greatly.

    Thank you,
    Lillian

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing your story Lillian. I don’t know why we allow ourselves to hurt like that and to let the pain and suffering continue for years.

      I’m hoping you can continue to contribute to this site and help others figure out why we choose to suffer for so long. Maybe your experience will help someone stop their suffering. There are a lot of people out there who will benefit from your thoughts, experiences and advice.

      I hope you are well Lillian and I am very glad you are still with us. You always impressed the hell out of me. I hope to see you again sometime soon.

      Matt

      Like

  3. Who knew. We have the same story.
    Well, we don’t – but we do.
    Suffering is suffering even if circumstances are different.

    Excited to see what comes out of you and into the world through this blog!
    Thanks Matt.

    Like

  4. Matt:

    As a friend of my son and from the little I have learnt of you from your Facebook posts I have gotten to like and appreciate you. We met in Okinawa and at my son’s wedding. I feel for your pain which I would never have suspected you were undergoing. I am delighted that you have survived it and that you’ll continue onward.

    Like

  5. Matt,
    I absolutely appreciate what you are doing. This is so very, very important. Not omly for the many others who went and go through the same experiences, but also for the outsiders like me who know that there is so much going wrong in these efforts for “stabilization”, and who need insider perspectives like yours. I am teaching refugees from afghanistan the language of the country they seeked assylum in, and here i see the other side of the coin of traumatization. Same brave young, intelligent, sincere, caring people. It is so very important to speak out, to give a voice to truth. And there is not much about the fate of people like you, the ones Ben Fountain gives a voice.
    I am thinking of my (german) father who participated in WWII, the way he was brainwashed as a a juvenile and then, as so many men of his age who survived these atrocities, was never able to talk. He took all his experiences with him into his grave. You belong to a different generation and though i certainly do not want to compare the Nazi regime to your country, the suffering of the soldiers is similar, i guess. You, unlike my father, have a chance to speak out.
    You also help me to understand soldiers with similar experiences, to listen to them, to show them my respect, to encourage them to seek therapy.
    It is important what you are doing.

    I wish you all the very best.

    Batul (this is not my real name)

    Like

  6. a) Love the moral injury stuff, very important
    b) I was the elections analyst in Afghanistan in 2013, and you are way off base on your US News & World Report stuff. There are a number of posts at Phi Beta Iota (http://www.phibetaiota.net) from Robert Young Pelton (gonzo journalist), Andrew Garfield (pollster for State) and myself, and they all add up to the following talking points that clearly have not reached Kerry or you:
    1) Abdullah is 100% Tajik — impossible for him to win, polls in both 2009 and 2014 bear out the baseless nature of his claim
    2) Abdullah is the face of the Panshiri kleptocracy, Karzai acknowledged Ghani’s win as early as April 2014, they have been desperately trying to pitch Ghani on Prime Minister and other slots, the Panjshiri definition of “power-sharing” being “license to loot.” To his credit Ghani has refused — he may finally have thrown them a bone recently, as always State is the last to know
    3) The results are incontrovertible. Ghani won 60-40 without fraud and 55-45 with fraud orchestrated by Karzai for Abdullah. Perhaps you noticed that Abdullah has been fined for fraud in THIS election, and that the sheep take was from the LAST election.

    There is lots more. Here is the URL for the top post in a long series, I was the only member of the Pentagon’s JCS-level Afghanistan-Pakistan Forum to call it for Ghani two weeks prior to the election while everyone else was inhaling the Iranian caviar that comes with the Abdullah deception express. I nailed it — just like I nailed the BSA not being signed from September 2013, but no one wanted to hear it.

    http://www.phibetaiota.net/2014/07/yoda-ghani-declared-winner-in-afghanistan-recap-of-prior-posts/

    If you would like to interview any of us and do a serious story on how the US got it wrong, the US has no business trying to overturn a legitimate election or instal a criminal as co-leader, we’re out here–and you would have a story everyone else has missed.

    Very respectfully,
    Robert Steele
    Oakton, VA

    Like

    • Thank you for writing Robert. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything in your writings to disprove the mass fraud and ballot stuffing that occurred by all candidates.

      Like

  7. Matthew:

    Excellent interview on CNN this morning. I’d like to hear more from you. Are you on Twitter/Facebook? Great website, by the way.

    Ron

    Like

  8. I saw you on Moyers and Company and was relieved to hear a voice of reason. I appreciated your statistics as they helped place issues into perspective. I want to encourage and support you and your work.

    Like

  9. I watched an interview with you and was struck by your thoughts about our government and the war ongoing in Iraq. I had been impressed by your work and your actions previous to watching this latest interview, but now feel compelled to search you out and personally thank you for sharing all that you have with the world regarding your experiences and thoughts.

    My sons, who are 7 and 9, were sitting next to me recently when I flipped the channel and came across an interview with you airing on PBS. Of course, the boys wanted to hurry me past it onto Nick, Jr. or Animal Planet, but I explained to them that you had been in war and that you were trying to explain to the president and the people in our government what you had seen…and that I wanted to hear you finish speaking. They asked why you seemed upset. I told them that the people you were speaking to had made bad decisions and we were at war with another country because of that. (They know bad decisions are being dishonest about sneaking a cookie before dinner or telling me their homework is done when it isn’t.) I told them you stood up to bullies and it was hard for you to do that and it is still hard for you now. I told them what you saw in war made you sad. They told me people should be nicer to you and thank you instead of being mean. I agree.

    You are stronger than you realize. You are an inspiration to me.
    I wish you strength and peace.

    Like

    • This is incredibly moving and powerful to me Maria. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

      I think I am like this, because, like your sons, I have a good mother.

      Peace to you and your boys.

      Matt

      Like

      • Very touching letter to you Matthew.These words,,”You are stronger than you realize. You are an inspiration to me.
        I wish you strength and peace” say so much about how you have affected so many folks. The truth has a power all its own, and it paws and paws wanting to be let out into the world. Once out, it can never be shoved away again,, it is out there in the open. Thanks for letting so much truth out.

        Like

  10. Heard you on Democracy Now this morning.

    I’ve often thought it tragic that there are so many really powerful tools available that vets can use re: self-help that nobody in the community seems to know about.

    These resources come from the world of alternative medicine. Some of them have decent evidence bases behind them. Others are too unconventional to be studied formally … but they work anyways.

    Most of them are cheap … all folks need is the information about how to obtain and use them.

    I’d like to start a dialogue w/you about these things if you’re interested.

    Like

  11. Matthew,
    I just saw you on DemocracyNow. You make so many intelligent observatins about what the US has inflicted on the Middle East. It is remarkable how difficult it is for the decision makers, even when they are intelligent (which is not always the case,) to understand the basic facts on the ground before they send off troops of young men and women to die for causes that don’t make any sense morally, politically and even pragmatically. The worst part is how the US treats its veterans. How does a decent human being survive the wrenching experience of blowing someone’s head off and come back home and pretend to turn a page? And why does the country fail all those young people who have made the suprime sacrifice of their human values and their sanity end their lives in depression and despair? How do we live with that?
    I am an old woman who has lived abroad for the last 40 years but I find myself personally diminished when I am faced with the evidence that the government uses my tax money to feed military aggression (esp. Israel’s) overseas rather than take care of it national heros who have sacrificed so much for their country.
    Your example is inspirational to all of us as well as your fellow veterans. May strength, wisdom and good luck always be yours. You are a very special being!

    Like

    • Hello Ayda,

      Thank you for this very kind note. Those are very good and difficult questions you pose and I believe the answer lies individuals like you questioning our government’s policies and actions and then speaking out against them. Educate others Ayda. You possess both knowledge and compassion, share that with others.

      Blessings and peace to you Ayda. You are certainly a special being as well.

      Matt

      Like

  12. Hello Mr. Hoh: I am writing to you from Orvieto, Italy where I am a candidate in the Harvard Refugee Trauma Recovery training program. I just watched your two part segment on Democracy Now w Amy Goodman. I was very moved by your words and courage. I am a psychologist working in California w adults who suffer from severe mental illness. I also have struggled w my own trauma-related sequelae following a car accident, motorcycle accidents and assaults at work by delusional patients. I see a psychotherapist to help me w these difficulties. As someone who cares a lot about social injustice and the the harmful effects of war and other disasters, I hope to become more effective in helping others who are marginalized and suffering from psychological distress. It’s very rare to hear someone such as yourself reveal his own difficulties as well as the horror and injustice perpetrated during war in the name of ‘democracy building,’ ‘freedom,’ and pre-emptive military action against possible aggression sold to us by propaganda and lies in the media. I applaud you. I hope you will continue to give voice for all the wounded soldiers and reveal the hypocrisy and injustice of unjust military campaigns. I would also encourage you to run for office as you are seem very bright, you are very articulate and I believe citizens across many different social, political and economic lines will see the truth for what it is if you speak to them as you have in your interview w Amy Goodman.

    Like

    • Thank you very much Dr. Coker. Please let me know how I can help you in your efforts and thank you for the very necessary work you are doing. Peace to you in your own recovery and struggles.

      Matt

      Like

  13. Hi Matt,
    Greetings from the UK. Just caught your pieces on Democracy Now! I was very moved by your story and impressed with your ongoing modus operandi in furthering the truth about US foreign policy and the consequences of its actions. This is something that, as an author, I am very much aware of. My latest work is dedicated to ‘brave journalists and truth-tellers’ and could not have found a more appropriate person than yourself. May I wish more power to your elbow.

    Sincerely,

    Roy David.

    Like

  14. Hi Matt,

    Well done on your fascinating talk in London at the Birkbeck Institute seminar: ‘Journalism, Whistleblowing and the Security State’. I managed to catch it all on the university’s podcast:
    http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bisr/events bbk-local?uid=3410eb910d2657ac2ed86adc38b65acf
    Hope you enjoyed your trip and managed to remember to first look
    right when you crossed the road!
    Kind regards,
    Roy David.

    Like

  15. Sir,

    I can understand the DOS resignation, after having seen only the Iraq side of things, twice. I am saddened at your losses. My own war scars are, luckily, less intense. But why did you feel the need to state the obvious? I mean the nation building, the corporate contracts, the graft, the idiocy of our policy regarding the regional politics. The people you wrote to care primarily for their careers. That is and was my experience. Did you believe your leadership drank the cool aid? Anyway, it was incredibly well written.

    PS. I also believe the Mexican situation, you site in your resignation, is the result of poor US Drug Policy. Another badly thought out and planned war.

    Former SGT, US Army
    GWOT

    Like

    • Thanks for writing and sorry for my delay in replying. To put it simply, when I resigned I felt I was stating the obvious and so basically I was saying FU to my leaders. I wish I could tell you something more complex or thoughtful than that, but that is basically how I felt and what I did.

      I agree completely with you on Mexico.

      Thank you for your kind words and stay in touch. Happy Holidays.

      Matt

      Like

  16. My wife read me a part of your your most recent post that she found on the Huffington Post. You have no idea how it effected and affected both of us! We are NOT alone! And from the comments and from what we know of others especially around us here, there are many more!It is people like you that give me hope, not so much that “we” shall “win” against the wickedness of this world’s systems, but that no matter what comes to pass, there are others ready to go down together knowing that there is another Way. God keep you!

    Like

  17. Hello Matthew,
    My name is Adriana, I am a girlfriend and daughter of a Veteran. My father served in the Army for 27 years which he just retired a week ago. My Boyfriend is also retired from the army. He got hurt in 2007. He was a tanker and his tank in Iraq ran into an IED and injured him and almost died from basically burning alive. He is now paralyzed from the waist down, has one arm and his right arm that he has, he can only move his thumb. He cant fully open his hand. You can Google him, his name is Jerral Hancock. Other then that, we live a basic normal life. We have two kids and are planning on getting married next year.
    I just wanted to write to you and tell you that I appreciate everything you do. Thank you for helping other veterans get through their struggles everyday. I am actually writing a paper on veteran suicide. Just wanted to get some input on you. I also wanted to get your input on the VA and how it helped you or not. I want to include the VA in my paper because I hear from about 90 percent of veterans who either hate the VA or say bad things about it.
    Does the VA really help Veteran from committing suicide?
    Does the VA wait till the last min to help?
    Just wanted to get your input.
    Thanks for taking your time and reading this and thank you for your service.
    Adriana Gonzalez

    Like

  18. Matt,

    I came across your blog after seeing the documentary Dirt Wars. I have I say, I love what you are doing. Your resignation inspired me. I was in Iraq for 719 days, during ’05 an then again in ’07-’08. I was in psy-ops, and hen went back with an infantry unit. Mid way through my second deployment it hit me hard, that what we were doing was just plain stupid. I came back (after being wounded, and being denied a Purple Heart) as an outspoken critic. I also suffered bad PTSD and still deal with that, along with the guilt, to this day. That me for the subscription, and if you get a chance, check out my blog. I wrote commentary about Iraq, and well as fictional and memoir stories about my time in Iraq. Writing has helped me immensely in dealing with the pain that war left me with. Thanks again and take care. -orry
    Lifebehindmysunglasses.com

    Like

    • Thanks Orry. I really appreciate you leaving this note and thank you for letting me know about your writing and your work.

      I hope you are doing well and keeping peace with yourself and your past. I live in Raleigh, NC, if you are ever here, let me know.

      Matt

      Like

  19. I am sure You know some Good contacts that might be able to HELP OUT some Combat Vet’s. I have looked into this across the USA and I am NOT the ONLY one affected by this.

    I am a 40% VA rated Combat Veteran of ( 2005-2006 )Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    I am awaiting another VA claim from Aug 2012.
    I was placed in the IRRR Due to Injuries on Nov 2013,
    I have been working for the Kilo-Roger co as a Butcher, for Over 28 yrs.( been back to work since returning home 2007). I have been demoted 2 times due to my physical injuries, I am not able to do the job I did before I went to Iraq. I was recently transferred to a new location because my supervisor (of 3 months time) had a problem with me confronting him on referring to me as a PATHETIC CRIPPLE and being LAZY and coming to the aide of some part-time employee’s.
    I believe My problems started After a manager Yelled at Me to ” GET THAT SH!& OFF YOUR HAT”, The SHI& he was talking about was My OIF Veteran hat along with my AMERICAN FLAG pin and my W W P pin. I asked for an apology and he said “No”. I went to his boss and She said “I was Overreacting its just pins and a hat”
    I have been at the previous location since 2008 with 2 different supervisor’s and 3 different store manager’s with NO PROBLEMS.

    I am at the new location less than 3 weeks and I am terminated for being a Verbal Threat to Customer’s ,Management staff & Fellow employee’s! I talked about a video game called Assassins’ Creed, I also was overheard asking a fellow hunting enthusiast “I like to go to the shooting range (in the winter I’m Not able to ride my Motorcycle) after a bad day at work, would you like to join me?”

    I am asking for some help in Who to contact. They are treating me like I am going to SNAP from A PERCEIVED PTSD!!!

    The Kilo-Roger co wants ALL of my Military, VA and Private Medical records.
    This ALL took place on 22 FEB 2014.

    In DEC 2014 I went through mediation with the UFCW Union and the( Hypocritical) Kilo-Roger co. I was portrayed as a Bat@#$% Crazy person that would SNAP & KILL these 2 people, ALL their relatives, and neighbors, do to A PERCEIVED PTSD!

    I have been found Wrongfully terminated from Kilo- Roger by the Ohio Unemployment commission.
    I have contacted ESGR, They said Kilo- Roger may or may not have done anything wrong, but since I am in the IRRR they dont handle this.
    I have contacted CRC in Ohio, and I am still awaiting a decision, the time frame keeps getting extended.
    I have filed with the EEOC in Ohio..
    I have also filed with the ADA, the time frame keeps getting extended.
    I am asking for some help in finding a JAG Officer (Ret.) that might be able to guide me in the right direction.
    I am about to lose hope in dealing with this HYPOCRITICAL Kilo- Roger co.

    Thanks for your time.

    Scott “FireBall”
    Wounded Warrior Project Alumni

    I.A.V.A. Member

    D.A.V. Life Member

    C.V.M.A. Life Member

    V.F.W. Post 7883

    Like

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for writing me and I am sorry for your troubles. I recommend contacting your local DAV or American Legion post. You can also speak with a VA social worker, although the timeline for that might be very long. Also, contact the state of Ohio’s veterans affairs office: 614-644-0898

      Finally, google “veterans affairs” “lawyer” and your town. That should provide you with a list of attorneys that may be able to help you that are local to you.

      Peace brother. I hope you find some soon.
      Matt

      Like

  20. Hello Matt,
    I don’t know if you remember me or not. I was with the PRT but in Kandahar and you bunked with us a couple of times.

    I was also in Iraq but not in a direct combat role. I was at BIAP and had additional duty helping the Army mortuary affairs guys. That messed me up in the head real good. I didn’t go down the road of alcohol but it almost cost me my marriage. While in Afghanistan I almost felt “normal” again for a while.

    Anyway, I don’t always agree with what you say but keep on doing what you do. I have retired now and can now publicly disagree with our policies without recriminations. I spent the last few years on active duty hating what we stood for and for what we supported.

    You probably have already noticed this but we are one of, if not the most violent country on Earth. If someone doesn’t agree with us we either sanction, bomb or invade them.

    Please continue to bring awareness to PTSD because there is a stigma attached to you if you say you have it. I work with an ex Marine (medical discharge) who was told he can never own a gun if he claims PTSD so he is suffering the nightmares and stuff without much help.

    Thanks for speaking what a lot of us thought.

    Jim Parson

    Like

    • Hi Jim,

      Thank you so much for this note. Of course I remember you. I’m sorry to hear about the troubles you have had because of the war, but I am glad you seem to be doing well.

      With regards to your friend, I’m not sure who told him he can’t own a gun, but that is not true. That is not VA policy. Of course, it is recommend that you don’t own one, so that you don’t use it on yourself, but there is no policy that does not allow for a veteran to receive assistance, treatment or benefits and possess a gun. Whoever told him that is wrong. Please encourage him to go to the VA and get help. It won’t get better on its own for him.

      Peace Jim and please let me know if you are ever in NC.

      Matt

      Like

  21. Separated by 18 years, it’s amazing at how utterly divergent yet eerily similar our lives turned out.

    Who you going to root for in the Series, Matt – is it even a question?

    Best wishes to you always.

    Like

    • I’m going to have to go with the Indians, because of our Ohio family connection, it’d be nice to see the Millers happy. Although, if the Cubs get in, I won’t be unhappy to see them win.

      I hope all is well with you. Give me a call or send me a note when you can. Love you man.

      Like

  22. hey, thanks so much for the message. it means alot. i had a rough few days but i’m much better. i tried responding earlier but somehow accidentially hit spam instead of send when i was trying to send my reply. thanks for reading & for caring. hopefully i’ll have more happy poems about farm animals soon. if youre ever out in hawaii let me know.

    Like

    • Thanks bro. The don’t ever need to be happy poems, I mean those are nice, but they always need to be honest. Be well and keep yourself safe and please keep writing and sharing.
      What part of Hawaii?

      Like

  23. Hi Matthew,

    I just saw you on RT, and saw some of your pictures. Whatever you think and feel about yourself, I thought you should know you’re stronger and braver than most. Thank you for speaking up!!!! I always believed change can only come from the inside so people like you are our only hope that something will actually change when it comes to these endless wars we are in…

    Thank you again,
    Adi.
    New York City

    Like

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