05/30/2012 12:39 pm ET Updated May 30, 2012

World War II Documentary Sheds Light On Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

"Let There Be Light," a 1946 short film by director and veteran John Huston, could hold valuable information to help today's veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The hour-long film profiles soldiers being treated at Long Island's Mason General Hospital. As MSNBC's Gael Fashingbauer Cooper reports, the film was groundbreaking for both its unprecedented documentary film techniques and for it's defiance of racial barriers -- both black and white soldiers are shown freely mixing at a hospital during a time when segregation was the norm.

Despite its groundbreaking features, the film was kept mostly under wraps by the Army until 1980, when a poorly edited version was released. But the Army didn't lose sight of the film completely -- in 1947, a similar film titled "Shades of Gray" featuring dialogue from "Let There Be Light" was released with a case of all white actors.

Click here to see a fully restored version of Huston's original film.

The issue of veterans suffering from PTSD and other severe problems continues today, and bureaucracy is still catching up. In his Pulitzer prize-winning series "Beyond the Battlefield," HuffPost's David Wood reports:

Over a decade of war, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have been scrambling to catch up with the care that the severely wounded need, and with some notable exceptions and scandals, they have largely succeeded. Years of hard work have produced what many regard as the best combat trauma and rehabilitation system in the world. Military medicine, under the pressure of successive waves of the severely wounded, has created breakthroughs in prosthetics, surgical techniques and regenerative medicine, among others.

Another Pulitzer prize-winner, Craig F. Walker of the Denver Post, used photos to tell the story of Scott Ostrom, a soldier with PTSD. Walker reports:

After serving four years as a reconnaissance marine and deploying twice to Iraq, Scott, now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of PTSD. "The most important part of my life already happened. The most devastating. The chance to come home in a box. Nothing is ever going to compare to what I've done, so I'm struggling to be at peace with that," Scott said. He attributes his PTSD to his second deployment to Iraq, where he served seven months in Fallujah with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. "It was the most brutal time of my life," he said. "I didn't realize it because I was living it. It was a part of me."