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Army May 26, 2011
Hip hop helps
Giving back: Ex-soldier turned hip hop artist Jess McGarry plans to donate the
profits from his single Really to Legacy.
Photo by Caroline Russo
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
BEATS, bass and smooth rhymes
have helped a former 5/7RAR sol-
dier manage his post traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and the
profits from his first single will go
Soldier turned hip hop art-
ist Jess McGarry served in the
Army for five years and his latest
track, Really, is a tribute to the 23
Australian soldiers who lost their
lives serving in Afghanistan.
Gold Coast-based McGarry
said he was initially hesitant about
including the track on his debut
album, Everyday is a Holiday.
"I was worried diggers would
think I was trying to exploit them,
but the Army played a big part in
my life and I was inspired to say
something about it," McGarry said.
"This song is about raising
public awareness -- yes, we're still
at war and the names of those sol-
diers who died should be valued.
A Service funeral and story in the
local newspaper is not enough."
McGarry joined the Army
when he was 17 and served with
5/7RAR's C Coy on numerous
exercises and operations, includ-
ing Operation Relex. After just two
years, he was promoted to the rank
of corporal and at the age of 20,
he volunteered to serve with 4RAR
(Cdo) which is now 2 Cdo Regt.
While undergoing training with
4RAR (Cdo), he broke his left leg
during a parachuting exercise. After
several attempts at rehabilitation, he
was medically discharged in 2004.
"It was difficult for me to come
to terms with the fact I was no long-
er fit for service. I didn't cope with
it very well at all," McGarry said.
"I felt jibbed -- like I had lost part
of my identity. My career was cut
short and I wondered about all the
things I could've achieved. Later, I
was diagnosed with PTSD."
McGarry received help through
an ADF rehabilitation program and
rediscovered his zeal for hip hop
"Creating hip hop music
allowed me to express my creativ-
ity, which in turn helped me man-
age my PTSD," he said.
"Each PTSD case is different.
Your personality, upbringing and
how you served are all factors that
affect how it manifests. It's impor-
tant not to feel ashamed if you need
"Civilian and military life are
worlds apart and for me it took a
while to adjust, but now my passion
for hip hop has returned and the
future looks bright."
Really is on YouTube and avail-
able for purchase through iTunes.
All profits from the sale of the track
will be donated to Legacy.
Soldiers who feel they may be suffering
from PTSD can contact an ADF mental
health representative at any time on
1800 628 036.
Army has five copies of
McGarry's debut album,
Everyday is a Holiday, to give
away. To enter, email your name
and contact details to
gov.au. Please ensure the
email subject line includes
is a Holiday
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