A tough topic to discuss

This is a discussion on A tough topic to discuss within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The relatively high number of current and former service members commiting suicide makes me sad. Sure, it's understood that battle will leave scars and we're ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    A tough topic to discuss

    The relatively high number of current and former service members commiting suicide makes me sad.

    Sure, it's understood that battle will leave scars and we're spending millions trying to get a better grip on PTSD and the other afllictions associated with war but, stories like this One big question haunts Marine's suicide: Why? - CNN.com are troubling to me.

    Is it a symtom of our society??? The children we raise and the pressures we put on them?

    I pray that we all come out of these current conflicts stronger and wiser...and that our young people look to God for answers.
    Luis

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    I was a frequent flyer at Walter Reed while being treated for an LOD impairment and I observed a lot. Though PTSD is a real problem, I saw quite a few service members gaining the system.
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
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    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    I heard someone blame air travel, and it makes sense. In WWII and Korea they guys had a 3 week ship ride to "decompress" from combat, but now they leave Kuwait and are back home in a matter of hours. Lt Col Dave Grossman recommends a mid length therapeutic decompression stage after a combat tour.
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    The military is the first fraternal organization that most of us have ever belonged to and we very often do not have the necessary time to spend with those who are the only ones who know and understand what we have seen, where we have been, what we feel, and how to put all in prespective. That long trip back should be actual as it is emotional also.
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    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Dan View Post
    I heard someone blame air travel, and it makes sense. In WWII and Korea they guys had a 3 week ship ride to "decompress" from combat, but now they leave Kuwait and are back home in a matter of hours. Lt Col Dave Grossman recommends a mid length therapeutic decompression stage after a combat tour.
    I'm no doctor but, that makes sense to me.
    Luis

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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Dan View Post
    I heard someone blame air travel, and it makes sense. In WWII and Korea they guys had a 3 week ship ride to "decompress" from combat, but now they leave Kuwait and are back home in a matter of hours. Lt Col Dave Grossman recommends a mid length therapeutic decompression stage after a combat tour.


    While I would agree with whats in bold above^^^^



    I would somewhat disagree with the "therapy" malarkey if they are referring to Psycho-analytical gobble- DEE- gunk.

    I think that what may have helped the WWI & WWII vets was that once back here they went about their everyday normal life, instead of some Psych clown asking them how they "feel" every visit, with re-occurring memories being brought up, time after time.

    And they had a very warm welcome, often hometown ticker tape parades to do the welcoming.
    Now the returning troops are confronted in the media, ( TV and print) with sentiments of negativity and an overall demoralizing tone about serving, and I think some individuals do not deal with it well.








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    I remember once a long time ago, being in a very intense zone, wondering if I was going to live to see the sunset or even eat my next meal.

    It came to an end and I was put on an aircraft and after a very long flight in which I slept through most of it because I was exhausted,and we landed on base. We were taken to a debriefing that lasted two days and then were given 2 weeks of rest and recuperation.

    I called my then girlfriend and she came a got me. I went from living and existing in one extreme set of conditions to another set of conditions that knew nothing of what I had been through and at times I actually found myself wondering if it what I had experienced was in fact real or just a dream. Sometimes it was like I was living a double life and I had only a few friends that went through the same thing that I could even relate too.

    I have often wondered if some "decompression time" would have helped me to come to terms. As with all things, time heals.

    Today, one can go from dodging bullets and bombs in the morning to being whisked back to home where the dog that was asleep on the porch when you left hasn't even moved yet.

    It can't be a good thing to go from zero to 100 percent adrenaline flow and back again in such a short time. I don't think we can turn our brains on or off that quick and it does seem to take a toll on ones mental health when it is required.
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    One significant difference between WWI and WWII and our current wars is that WWI and WWII were WON, they were finished, over, and the enemies vanquished while occupation troops did their stuff............The Troops returned home, they had done their jobs, and they were ready to return to their ongoing civilian lives - college - work - girlfriends - whatever.......

    Now.................everything just continues..........more tours........more training.........

    Living close to Colorado Springs and the Mountain Base and the Air Force Bases and the AFA keeps all of these matters front and center, where the public should and can support the Troops.

    It is troubling.

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    I agree with about ALL of the above.... those in WWII all told me it took at least 2 mo's before they actually got to see "home" once they left the theatre, plus "down time" there before they even left. Second, they weren't looking at a 2nd or 3rd tour in the future. They were with those who understood exactly what they had been thru, etc. as where civilians wouldn't.... so they could "discuss" their experiences, and decompress.

    Those coming home now are there in hours.... and some times people at home, expect them to be "back" mentally as well, when they aren't. That adds pressures as well.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Dan View Post
    I heard someone blame air travel, and it makes sense. In WWII and Korea they guys had a 3 week ship ride to "decompress" from combat, but now they leave Kuwait and are back home in a matter of hours. Lt Col Dave Grossman recommends a mid length therapeutic decompression stage after a combat tour.
    Actually, there is a built in decompression time now. From my final patrol, until I stepped foot on American soil, was over two weeks. A few days here, a few days there. That is about normal, at least for Marines. We also tend to run about 7 month deployments, someone determined that is about the optimum amount of time for them. Of course, most grunts do 2-3 deployments in a 4 year enlistment.

    If you read On Killing, a more important factor than the method of travel, is that is takes time (which the Marines at least are currently doing), and it is a decompression time with your unit. Aside from those who have to go home early, or have very unique assignments, the unit travels together. I was with my company for the trips back from Iraq and Afghanistan. While we were all anxious to get home, it was nice to have th stops for a few days a piece, it gave time to catch up on sleep, and talk, and debrief, and all that good stuff. Marine Battalions deploy as a unit, and return as a unit. So our journey back now is similar in length and substance to the ship rides of the World Wars.

    And then we usually have about 3 more weeks or a month of decompression/debriefing before we get leave, during that time there is training designed to get us back to ourselves. I have made the transition from war zone to garrison military two complete times. The military is getting better at it. They realize the problems of op tempo, and multiple deployments. The stigma for seeking help has been reduced greatly, even in the Alpha male groups like the infantry. I know I want to make sure the guy next to me has his head screwed on right, and they want the same for me. So if someone seeks help, it is not looked down upon. It as seen as someone bettering themselves.

    I have dealt with friends and co-workers who have both committed suicide, and attempted suicide. Often there are far more troubles than just the deployments and things like that. Usually there are financial and relationship problems that factor into the equation too. The military, and their mental health providers, are taking this problem very seriously, however, it is a hard issue to be pro-active about.
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    VIP Member Array Sig 210's Avatar
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    I know Army and Marine troops who are doing a sixth tour in the suck. The vast majority of WWII vets were draftees. They fought one war, came home after one tour and got out of the military. Few WWII troops spent more than two years in a combat theatre.

    The US military is being run ragged because they are volunteers. The military is holding folks past their ETS because they can do it.

    I retired from the US Army in 1979. I tried the VA system and can tell you it is a joke: The VA killed three friends of mine. Once a person is out of the military they are on their own.

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    I think the issues involved are very complex. I think the way kids are raised today is a lot different then even just a few short decades ago. Today, everyone schemes for a way to shift responsibility and now we have a whole generation of kids who do not know how to handle responsibility and a skewed sense of reality. I also know there are going to be a whole lot of folks who disagree with my assessment but I think that is only part of the issue.

    Also I haven't seen any real statistics on wars past, but I do think a lot more gets reported openly for public consumption today then in previous wars. However that could just be my perception and not have much of a real correlation.

    I also think that in wars past, there was a decompression time before troops returned home from the battlefield. Today, you can have someone knee deep in the SHTF engagements, and back home trying to put their son's bicycle together and have a family BBQ in less than 48 hours. At least probably more so with the special ops troops.

    At any rate, it is troubling. If anyone saw the HBO special that James Ganolfini (Tony Soprano) did, Wartorn 1861-2010, chronicling PTSD/suicide from the civil war through today, you'd probably find it pretty sad and disturbing.
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    Thank you to all of you here who have served. With that being said......

    I did not serve in the US Military. I work as a firefighter and volunteer with a critical incident stress debriefing team. I have CISM Group and Peer One on One Training. A couple of days ago I attended a class given by the VA on PTSD and our vets. We recently have been seeing more incidents in the Hudson Valley Area involving people returning from over seas. Incidents can range from DWI, Domestic Violence, Isolation, Deppression, Drug Use, Road Rage, and Suicide to name a few.

    One thing that stuck out in my mind was the documented TBI's (Traumatic Brain Injuries) that our troops are sustaining. Research is showing a relationship to the TBI's and the PTSD. We were told that if a Veteran had been involved in an IED attack at the very least a mild TBI happened. This new but old injury happens more often then it did in past conflicts. Technology has made it possible to survive more of these attacks then in the past. (advances in armor and medicine) I know one of the trauma doc's said this is serious stuff that can really short circut the brain. Add to that the brain's ability to sub consiously remember detail and you have some problems that are serious under the surface.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Dan View Post
    I heard someone blame air travel, and it makes sense. In WWII and Korea they guys had a 3 week ship ride to "decompress" from combat, but now they leave Kuwait and are back home in a matter of hours. Lt Col Dave Grossman recommends a mid length therapeutic decompression stage after a combat tour.
    I was fortunate after returning from RVN in that my father was a WWII vet and helped me put things back into perspective. Yet even to this day there are occasional things that will trigger a flashback, PTSD is something that affects everyone differently and is not fully understood or treated appropriately.
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    I think depts and agencies shouldn't sit down with a returning service member telling them they have ptsd and they have a problem
    “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Albert Pike

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