April 13th, 2010
10:52 AM ET
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. james

    I haven't been to war but I know what cptsd feels like. It is Hell. For me I needed quiet time to sort things out and for people to not ask questions but let me decide if I wanted to talk about it.

    I knew some guys who came back from Vietnam and in their own time they told me their stories. One did body bag detail when he was only 17 , the other lost a buddy in a live round drill in boot camp. Not as serious as you guys but it messed them up and made their eyes glaze over in the telling.

    I also had a family friend who survived Omaha Beach. He never ever talked about it ever in my presence. He is gone now, God bless him; but, now I wonder if he ever told my Dad, who was a friend, any of the things he went through in those days. He was, for the most part a light hearted person but under that, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy. He didn't beat you over the head that he was a veteran, he just worked hard.

    I hope that whoever these guys come home to will give them the room to sort things out and the patience. I hope that when they get home that there is some trusted friend that you can find a quiet moment of the night to air your demons with and hopefully, a qualified therapist, to help you process all that happened to you. Mostly, get home alive and put your gun down when you are ready.

    I hope that they will do something about getting you guys decent convenient quiet flights out, a nice place to stay and a party if you want one.

    Thank you for your service. Get home safe.

    April 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julie

    Maybe we should consider NOT deploying soldiers on multiple back to back deployments of a year plus to combat zones. By the time they get settled it's time to prepare to leave again.

    April 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shadow

    How about making sure that injured soldiers don't get tagged as having "personality disorder" and then kicked out of the armed services with no benefits? It's happening more and more often, and it's appalling.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fred Carr

    I don't know. There are many legitimate horror stories, and memories can last forever. Fatigue, more than anything, wears you out. You can't worry about what you can't control. You can only rely on your training and leadership. I am so glad I was a Marine - I got both.

    One of my COs told me once, "Gunny, did you ever notice all the whiners and complainers checked out?" Yes, they did. There's a difference between being seriously wounded, and re-playing the action over and over again until you go nuts yourself, even if you weren't seriously hurt. I've seen it, and now they collect disability. I am glad I am not that fortunate.

    Tough love, rehabilitation, and what another poster said about showing gratitude to those who served is the ultimate solution. The heck with "vacation." I want to stay through my deployment and get it over with. The last thing on my mind is sex, a beer, and a return airplane ride to hell.

    Semper Fi

    April 15, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Marc

    "Combat Stress" will continue as long as we are in war, but maybe things can be eliviated a little bit by reducing deployment time, or make R&R leave 30 days instead of 15 days. It already is a hassle just trying to get home. Long lines, long waiting and no sleep, so when you get home the soldiers look like hell. It is almost not worth going home because of how long it takes. That alone is stressful, oh and by the way not including that you still have to be there for a year, and 2 weeks just isnt long enough. Another stress is just the other Soldiers you work around, seeing each other for 365 days 24 hours a day, thats stressful enough, oh yeah not forgeting that the enemy is still trying to kill you every day. This is getting old.

    April 15, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeremy

    It won't work nor should it be tried. All soldiers are given approximately an 18 day break (Leave) back to their homes while in combat zones. People get stressed but come on! If you tried to implement this you have even more mental health issues because those with no pride would try to beat the system and get a free ride home. I've been to Iraq for a year and was gone for a total of 18 months from my family and handled it well. People just need to toughen up.

    April 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. C. Stoll, LCSW, CASAC

    Although I think spirituality is an integral part of ones overall health, this is about dealing with combat stress and there is only one option, evidenced based practice. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a brief (12 sessions) cognitive approach to managing PTSD. The science supports this therapy and although there are many out there that decry "More Jesus", everything has it's place and when it comes to my veterans and our sons and daughters, I rely on the evidence.

    April 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dwight huth

    The troops do not need to have their minds "cleaned" or erased as it should be really called. By erasing the soldiers mind gives way to a soldier making a mistake on a mission where if they had remembered from a previous mission what they had done then they as well as those around them would have returned home. Refleting on the days events while on manuevers after the manuever is finished is the best way to handle combat stress. Other ways to handle combat stress is to remove the worrisomes from the combat unit that add an unsafe variable to the unit. Being in a combat unit the soldiers must all realize that at any time they could die and if they do not realize that or mock it or even make fun of it then it is time for them to be removed from the unit.

    April 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jackson

    Having served, myself and most of my buddies 'appeciated being appreciated' more then anything. You may not know how far it goes, but just 'thanking' a soldier for their service is of great importance to them. Further acknowledging all that they have sacrificed...time away from family, friends..the danger...all goes a long way. Next time you see a young soldier in the airport...buy them a coke or even a cookie...and tell them that you appreciate what they do. You have no idea how much that means to them.

    April 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john utter - fargo nd

    Sounds like a sound idea to me. Money talks but maybe something nice could still be done, even on a small level.

    April 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mattie

    My father suffered after WWII. It took my whole childhood for him to get over the stress that was put on him. Our troops see too much, then come home to a bunch of clueless group of people.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mattie

    No one person can do enough for our troops.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Combat Fatigue

    The reason soldiers are feeling combat stress is because war and killing comes unnatural to the human psyche. This is how we know it's wrong. Why else would we see a WW2 combat veteran cry over memories that are over 60 years old? Our soldiers today in Iraq and Afghanistan are having a hard time mentally because this time they are on the wrong side of history, and they know it.

    Want to successfully treat combat stress? BRING THE BOYS BACK HOME. ALL OF THEM.

    April 14, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. dude1111

    Looking at all these clips id be extremely stressed to work under conditions like whats being shown. All round complacancy and carelessness. I dont see a single earthbirm around any tent, vehicle or container. Soldiers exposing themselves in stationary lookouts with uncleared firingfields. Patroling singlefile in the middle of the street and so on.
    Bussy hands are happy hands. Pick up a military handbook and a shovel. Stopping getting killed and starting to win might ease the stress a lot.
    Good luck to everyone down there

    April 14, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. ptsd sufferer

    Having a vacation will not help "the most stressed" as you put it. If it would you would see boxers having tea with their wifes in between rounds. Thats rediculous right.? Then why would you expect someone who is fighting for their lives and the lives of their fellow soldiers for a year to be able to take a break and jump right back into it. Civilians really need to keep their comments to themselves and let the veterans and military handle our own! It was a nice thought but you dont know what your talking about.

    April 14, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  16. Heidi

    We get that..it is called R&R and we also up until March of this got charged against our leave to go home and see our families. It takes 3 to 5 days just to get out of this hell hole. Plus the flight to get home is exhausting..it is sometimes harder to see our families and then have to come back here. I would say that perhaps some of those billionaire's could pay for our internet so that we don't have to pay $100 a month for a connection to be able to be in contact with our families. This is a horrible place and I can't wait to get out of her..

    April 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Nathanael [desert voice]

    The Army definitely needs more spiritual events to have the soldiers' minds "cleared" from time to time. I know that nothing is easy in war zone. But imagine that there was a billionaire or two willing to charter a dozen of airplanes, to take the most stressed soldiers to see their families for three or five days? This would require some brave patriotic pilots, chartered buses, and taxis, to make this work. The soldiers would then be returned in better spirits to the battle front. I understand that some may say that this has never been part of the military doctrine. I know. But the times have changed and so must the doctrines! If such thing is doable, why not give it a try?

    April 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |