Sunday, 29 November 2015 03:37

Emotional Stress on U.S. Troops

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Emotional Stress on U.S. Troops

John A. Howard

John A. Howard is a Senior Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society. He is also a veteran of the D-Day Landings of Normandy.

Bob Herbert followed up the Fort Hood slaughter with a New York Times column about the unbearable emotional stress upon American combat troops.

I spent some time . . . interviewing doctors and researchers studying the enormous problem of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with some form of mental health disorder, most commonly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The caseloads are off the charts, and very often are accompanied by substance abuse, problems with anger management, domestic violence and family breakdown.

In our tank battalion in World War II, it was drilled into our minds that preventive maintenance was of utmost importance. Herbert ignores the fact that humans, like tanks, also need preventive maintenance.

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote:

Among all my patients in the second half of life, there has not been one whose problem has not been finding a religious outlook on life.

Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles wrote:

Many adolescent suicides . . . make a statement about the kinds of lives these kids have been brought up to live. . . . what leads them to self-destruction is the underlying festerings of self-centered, unchallenged rootless lives.

In our First Infantry tank battalion in WWII, there were few cases of combat fatigue through the eleven months of combat from D-Day to V-E Day. Most of our troops belonged to a church or a synagogue. They were emotionally sturdy. The religious mooring was their preventive maintenance. *

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." --Thomas Jefferson

Read 1529 times Last modified on Sunday, 29 November 2015 09:37
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