The contemporary soldier question

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,134
Crows nest
#21
France during "The Terror" before the reaction against Robespierre. Then all totalitarian states since, and now in "liberal" democracies, different faces, same old "We know what's best for you"
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,121
#22
Anyone can get a post traumatic disorder .... they just have to experience or witness an extremely stressful/traumatic/shocking violent act.
usually this has little to do with a single event which generally people can get over unless they're particularly sensitive in nature. I remember seeing a road accident on a motorway. On the opposite carriageway I was attracted by the upward motion of a van. I then saw it career off the road and up the embankment, when it rolled over and split open, throwing out a score of people sitting in the back. I watched in horror as these people were flung across the carriageway like rag dolls and yes, I was witnessing their deaths. At the time I was hugely affected but these days it's merely something I experienced and I don't wake up sweating at nights over it. However, stress related problems are the result of cumulative events. The human nervous system is not really equipped to experience the modern battlefield, where you can be constantly on edge against an enemy you cannot see, and bombarded by sudden loud noises and pressure waves. Shell shock? yes, of course. But it has stress related elements. I recall the story of one British artilleryman in WW1. Finally at his wits end after days upon days of pounding sensations he had had enough. He stood up, and despite orders to get down and come back, he walked out into No Man's Land in the hope a German sniper would end his misery. Stress related problems can affect people after a long period or for long periods, but the shock of a single event does not normally affect people so deeply.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,271
appalacian Mtns
#23
In 28 years of service in the U.S. Army, a lot of it in the reserves though, there are only 2 things that bother me & neither are related too combat. Both happened in Central America on the same deployment at the tail end of all that Contra crap.

1. In a convoy as we went through a cut there were several kids waiting on an elevated bank that put them about level with us. They were accustomed too the GIs throwing out candy & stuff from our field rations too them there. A small girl about 5 was catching some candy a GI 2 trucks ahead of me threw her & a boy of about 10 shoved her out of the way & grabbed the candy. She fell down the bank & was squashed by the convoy.

2. This one is really silly & I know I shouldn't let it bother me but it does. A deuce & a half hit a cow & killed it. We took a D7 & pushed the dead cow too the side too clear the road. The next day & every day for a week or so twice a day I rode by the dead cow with those giant ugly ass condors tearing it apart & squabbling over the best parts. I wanted to shoot them, but I didn't. I've had an intense hatred of buzzards ever since.

PS I've never liked birds. My grandmother told me that a Rooster flogged me when I was a toddler & too small too remember.
 
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Mar 2015
688
US
#25
As a small business owner, we have hired several veterans. The common thread I see is tidiness and a willingness to follow the process (i.e. paperwork mostly). Also the veterans might be a little less eager to work unpredictable hours. (Of course nobody likes that LOL)

Our best employee ever was a veteran. We just had to work with some of his eccentricities. I had a lot of respect for him.

EDIT: I forgot about one veteran we hired who seemed to have psychological problems due to his service in the 1991 Gulf War. He carried pictures in his wallet of enemy corpses from the war that he would show coworkers.
 
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Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#26
Some people are more susceptible to PTSD than others. The more one is "innocent", untested, inexperienced to horrors, stress, or trauma, the more they are burdened by it when it finally happens. Sometimes is simply not having the imagination to understand the horrors of life, so when they present themselves in high stress situations the mind simply is overloaded. Many, especially these days, don't have the upbringing to prepare them adequately for the many horrors of life, even those that don't happen in war. That's why some people are actually getting legitimate PTSD just from watching the news following a traumatic event. They aren't lying about it, they're just so soft they break down from only seeing a few clips about it, not even personally experiencing it. Then you have others who are simply crazy to start with. Screws loose, chemical imbalance, really messed up childhoods, etc. By the time they are adults they are already walking psychological time bombs ready to explode, just waiting for the right spark.

Veterans are people too, they are a subsection of society. In the US military, contrary to popular believe, they are mostly middle class. They're going to have smart people, well adjusted people, educated people, but also dumb ones, ignorant ones, those who before they even go to basic or boot camp will be exhibiting all the symptoms of psychological disorders that the rest of the population present. Crazy people exist and some crazy people join the military and manage to bluff their way through the limited screening. A lot of these don't do well when it comes to traumatic experiences.

Then there are those who participate in things that at the time seemed like a good idea but in reflection they simply can't deal with. They live with that guilt and it destroys them. For others, stimuli occurs, they get overloaded, chemical reactions happen in the brain and cause damage of a sort that cannot truly ever be repaired. Like explosions triggering looking for cover. But with practice they can overcome the fight or flight mechanism and learn to live with it. For others, its the dreams. Lots of the population don't dream much, which suprises me because from the moment my head hits the pillow to the time I wake up its just very descriptive and honest dreams, often lucid. But for the others who don't normally dream, unpleasant ones are traumatizing, so they do what they can to make themselves not dream. Alcohol helps, but ultimately makes things worse.

Most people who volunteer as professional Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, most of them leave much stronger than they were before they came in. Many have been traumatized to some extent, especially the combat veterans (which doesn't automatically include everyone whose been to Iraq or Afghanistan). But they also learn about esoteric concepts like honor, loyalty, integrity, camaraderie. They develop intensive problem solving abilities. They are tougher men and women because they have been tested in adverse environments numerous times and worked through it. They can operate on little sleep, high stress, intense deadlines, life and death. They are trained to not quit, not make excuses, to always try their hardest. They are taught the value of self discipline, to be punctual, to groom themselves. To respect and obey leadership appointed over them, even when they don't like them personally or don't agree with their decisions.

By and large the emphasis on PTSD has turned into a disaster. The road to hell is paved in good intentions, now the military is medically retiring people for PTSD who have never even deployed, let alone to a combat theater, let alone ever seen anyone fight or die. They wont refuse as long as the person claiming to have it says the right key words, the malingerers are teaching each other what to say. VA hospitals are full of malingerers trying to scam an extra 10-20% disability by claiming whatever they can. "I have nightmares! Pay me!" Something like 75% of every military servicemen (including women, who are closer to 100%) are claiming benefits. PTSD is one of the easiest to claim (sexual assault is the easiest to get, and its 100%). PTSD is a hot button topic and few in the system are willing to risk the career destroying repercussions for denying someone, so they will ALWAYS pay out if you claim it. The media loves it too, it gives them a medical reason to be anti-war for the conflicts they don't like. Politicians like it, they can use it to slam opponents, etc. Civilians like to talk about it, it confirms to them they made the right decision in not signing up.

The reality is much different. Its more pseudoscience than actual science. Like climate change, people think they are smarter for "understanding" it, but the reality is they don't, and are easily tricked. I've met quite a few people who were legitimately traumatized by war. A sad but large part of my platoon ended up killing themselves later on. I've met far more that I knew for a fact were milking an event that I was there with them when it happened and I knew for a fact they didn't react the way they told the doctors they did. Not all people are mentally stable, but really, most aren't honest especially when it comes to the possibility of free money for the rest of your life.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,271
appalacian Mtns
#27
That's a 2 way street, there are plenty of legitimate claims for LOD injuries that the VA ensnares in soo much red tape the veteran will probably give up or die before he ever gets a dime. Not too mention their screwed up math.
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#28
That's a 2 way street, there are plenty of legitimate claims for LOD injuries that the VA ensnares in soo much red tape the veteran will probably give up or die before he ever gets a dime. Not too mention their screwed up math.
Go see a VA shrink and them your squad leader forced himself on you 30 years ago, you're only now coming out with it because it just weighs too much. Then take that medical report to the claims office and file for PTSD for "Military sexual trauma." They wont question any details, they require no further evidence, they wont turn it down, and then you get 100% PTSD. Its literally that simple and its the new big scam everyone is doing apparently.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,271
appalacian Mtns
#29
I'm 6'5" 275 lbs. No one ever forced themselves on me, and they wouldn't have lived if they had tried. All of my squad leaders from 30 years ago were honorable soldiers, WW2 vets, Korean & Vietnam vets, I'd die before I'd falsely accuse any of them. I have 8 10% LOD injuries. The VA does 8X10%=50%. None of them are PTSD but real physical injuries such as crushed broken ankles. Also kind of weird how they figure compensation. 100%=$3,000, 50%=$800??? Also I guess I'm lucky I made 50%, if it had been 40% they would dock my retirement for an equal amount, so if you were a good soldier & stayed 20 years you in effect get nothing, while some duty shirker that did 2 years & got discharged gets his $.
 
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