Steven Cornford: Life after Operation Proper Exit
This week on 60 Minutes Overtime, we get the chance to follow up with Corporal Steven Cornford, who has been suffering for years from post-traumatic stress disorder. Caught in a 2007 firefight in Iraq that killed his lieutenant, Cornford couldn't stop replaying that moment in his mind.
Cornford returned to Iraq earlier this year with "Operation Proper Exit," a program designed to help wounded warriors confront and heal traumatic memories and thus move on with their lives. On Sunday on 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley tells the story of Cornford's return to Iraq, while on Overtime, we pick up where Scott's story leaves off.
Scott's story ends with Cornford and fellow wounded warriors boarding the plane to leave Iraq last spring, all hoping that their time there had helped them put some haunting memories behind them.
60 Minutes producer Henry Schuster asked long-time CBS News cameraman Tom Rapier to stay with the story of Cornford's recovery - to follow him on his return home to his wife and daughter in Hailey, Idaho. We asked Tom to share some of his impressions of the time he spent with Cornford.
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What struck Tom most, he said, was "how very young Steven is to be carrying so much baggage --the enormous weight of the war and his continuing reaction to it. What also struck me was how self-aware and in tune with himself he is, much more so than most guys his age. I was impressed that Steven really wants to make whatever effort it takes to get past the PTSD and the problems it's causing in his relationships."
Tom also got to spend time with Cornford's wife, and says she "is very concerned about his condition and very open about it. But she told us he's better since he came back."
As you'll see in the footage Rapier shot, Operation Proper Exit seems to have offered some solace and hope to Cpl. Cornford and his family.
Click here to learn about the homecoming of Cpl Matthew Bradford, who was also part of Operation Proper Exit.
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