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Chad Robichaux: Faith Gives An Unfair Advantage

A Wounded Warrior Returns 

After eight tours in Afghanistan as a Force Recon Marine, Chad returned to the United States a broken man.The bullets and bombs didn’t break him, but an insidious disorder, “PTSD” that causes fear, flashbacks, and fits of rage, and can ultimately lead to suicide. “I wasn’t a civilized man, I was a savage...It was like an atomic bomb exploded in my soul," says Chad. And he knew the sobering statistics associated with this disorder; three times the number of veterans die by suicide than in combat. But it was a long time before Chad began his journey to recovery.

An Early Call To Arms

Chad remembers only one childhood dream: to become a Force Recon Marine. He was driven by patriotism, family heritage, and a desire to escape his abusive father, a Marine Corp veteran of the Vietnam War. He wanted to learn how “to be a man” something his violent, absentee father could not teach him.

At 17-years-old, Chad enlisted in the Marines, like so many young men, to avenge the tragic events of 9/11. But within a few months of arriving in Afghanistan, Chad witnessed the same tragic loss of innocent lives as the Tailiban mercilessly killed the Afghan people. These atrocities against the innocents, especially children, filled Chad with rage, hatred, and bitterness. “Why was the God he knew allowing this carnage?”

Fighting The Enemy Within 

After eight deployments, Chad was sent home to battle the enemy within. Now officially diagnosed with PTSD, Chad remembers, “One day I was the golden boy of an elite military operation task force and the next I was benched, filled with shame and guilt and fear. Chad knew his pent up rage could explode at any time...and it did. It happened after he witnessed a man who caused a serious traffic accident flee the scene. Chad tracked him down and almost beat the man to death. Then, he exploded into a fit of rage in his own home while celebrating the birthday of his young daughter. Her childlike comment, “I don’t like the icing on the cake” was the catalyst for Chad to launch the cake into the wall. “I knew I was a raging lunatic, and that my wife and kids were afraid of me.” Chad acknowledges he knew that his condition was serious, but stubbornness, denial, and self deception prevented him from seeking help. Instead he threw himself into dangerous pasttimes, like becoming a world champion boxer. But the throngs of cheering fans couldn’t silence the war that raged within him. He could no longer deny the paralyzing fear, the panic attacks, and his heart racing so intensely that he thought he was having a seizure.

Chad's Day of Reckoning

The day of reckoning came when Chad’s wife left him. Alone in a small apartment, Chad remembers, “The reality of the choices I made and the wake of debris left behind overwhelmed me with guilt.” That’s when Chad said he decided that suicide was the only answer. He kept a loaded Glock 22, 40 calibre pistol by his side for several days. Hour after hour, thoughts of his children delayed his demise. Then, he received an unexpected visit from his wife with a challenging question. She asked Chad why he could fight so hard on the battlefield and in the boxing ring, and not fight for his life and his family. The Glock 22 hit the floor, and Chad’s fight for life began.

Recover, New Life In Christ, And Outreach To Others

Chad spent weeks in recovery, aided by medication, and a special pastor who mentored him in biblical manhood. He recommitted his life to Jesus Christ, and says that choice changed everything. He says he discovered his purpose for the future was to help other wounded veterans, like himself, on the path to recovery. That’s when “The Mighty Oakes Foundation” was born. It is a faith based program embraced by the U.S. President, Congress, and the Veteran’s Administration. Chad has also written a book, The Unfair Advantage: Victory in the Midst of Battle. Chad shares his own recovery journery and reconciliation of his family. Chad says, “The unfair advantage is undeniably Jesus Christ who leads us to triumph."

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