Brahmer did not tell recruits that picking up body parts had been a part of his job, or that he knew the smell of death that a roadside bomb left behind. He also didn't talk about his struggle with insomnia.

His "bubbly personality" was gone after he served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, his wife said. Combat stress had affected his testosterone levels and he was irritable. 

"I could see in his eyes [that] he wasn't the same --- [he had] cold angry eyes," Brahmer-Benson said.

HOPE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR

As frustration broiled, the advise she got from the military, she said, was not to "go up the chain of command" to ask for help, because it wouldn't be in her "husband's best interest."

In an act of desperation, she called Memorial Hospital of Tampa, her former employer. As a nurse, she had seen men in the military hospitalized under the Florida Baker Act, which was holding her husband in Tamarac for 72 hours.

Sgt. Hayes Sebastian Brahmer poses for a photo with  his wife Barbara Brahmer.  Brahmer, 34, has served in the military since he was 18-years-old.

A colleague helped her find a private rehabilitation program in Central Florida that had beds available. And TriCare insurance covered it.

Brahmer was admitted to the 30 day program March 21st.

“It was so hard on us to get him to where he is. I felt like they were trying to wrong my family. There was no help,” Brahmer-Benson said. “If I didn’t push as much as I did, I don’t know where he would be.”

Veteran serves his country for half of his life

Published On: Apr 10 2014 10:24:16 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 10 2014 10:36:20 AM EDT

After serving in the military since he was 18-years-old, Sgt. Hayes Brahmer, 34, and his family struggle to get him help for invisible wounds.

Sgt. Hayes Sebastian Brahmer poses for a photo in Afghanistan. Brahmer, 34, has served in the military since he was 18-years-old.
1 / 10

Sgt. Hayes Sebastian Brahmer poses for a photo in Afghanistan. Brahmer, 34, has served in the military since he was 18-years-old.