Almost sixty years later, Mike Batnick still doesn’t like talking about it.
“The incident I had involved a Marine, a .45 automatic, and a nuclear weapon,” said Batnick, “That’s as far as I’ll get into it.”
The incident happened in 1961 when Batnick was a U.S. Navy 2nd Class Petty Officer on the USS Midway aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam.
Ever since then, Batnick has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or more commonly known as PTSD.
Batnick believes PTSD is responsible for his recurring nightmares and a short temper.
Counseling and drugs never really worked for him, but five years ago he found success in a bird.
Batnick calls Sailor, a Green Cheek Conure (think parrot but smaller) his emotional support animal.
“When I start getting agitated she’ll stomp her feet on my shoulder,” said Batnick, “If that doesn’t catch my attention, she nibbles on my ear.”
Batnick said he still gets nightmares, but not nearly as often as before he met Sailor.
Sailor goes everywhere with Batnick.
The two are occasionally told to leave restaurants or grocery stores, but Batnick said he rarely gets any complaints.
It helps that Sailor has custom-made diapers.
Batnick credits Sailor with keeping him in line, and preventing him from getting angry.
“She nags me worse than my wife ever did,” said Batnick.