Manage episode 358811845 series 2813344
Piers Stacey, aged 17, joined The Corps, “…six days after the Twin Towers were hit…”
Joining 42 Commando late 2002, “...we all went into pre-deployment training for the build-up..it was pretty intense, pretty rapid for a fresh faced 18 year old…”
In Kuwait, “...we landed in the desert…nothing there…over time, defences went up, sandbag walls…” and acclimatisation training, “...we kept our phys up and exercised out in the heat so we could condition ourselves to be able to fight in that way…”
“As we went in…jumping out of the Sea King…I remember just hearing the crack and thump…All of us were getting shot at and that was the start of it…”
We hear how intense operations became, “...I was a real ‘ops junky’, as terrifying as it was…” and how after Op Telic, Piers became a combat intelligence specialist working with the Special Boat Service.
After 19 years, Piers planned his exit from the Armed Forces,
“...the one thing I did not consider was that sense of belonging and that sense of being part of something bigger…It was not an easy transition…I didn’t know what to say or who to say it to.”
Piers’ mental health deteriorated and he considered driving into a head-on collision.
This was the turning point for seeking therapy which helped, leading to today having set up ‘Hollow Heart’ where supporters wear a pin to let others know you're open to talking about mental health.
“…Even to this day, if you asked me, ‘Piers, what are you?’ There will be a massive part of me that would just want to say, ‘I'm a Royal Marine, or I'm an intelligence officer….’ I think it's going to be really difficult to shake that part of me in terms of what my identity is.”
Please support Hollow Heart and The Royal Marines Charity
Follow Piers on Instagram
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces community and need support with your mental health, Op Courage can help.