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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Modern Wars & Warfare > Military Medicine

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Military Medicine Discuss aspects of this specialist field not covered in other forums.

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  #46  
Old 30 Apr 10, 14:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt AFB View Post

Also keep in mind, US Army tours are much longer than CF ones - 12-15 months vs 6-9 months. All three US Top Military Doctors (Army, Navy and Air Force) have indicated that repeated long tours have a negative effect on the MH of the troopers. (A "motherhood" statement, IMO!))
Long tours? Maybe for these days...

In the old days, guys couldn't go home until the war was over or they were used-up and no longer able... My grandfathers spent the length of America's involvement in WWII overseas. No trips home to Mommy...

Changing the rules to accommodate the mentally weak might be the problem.

Better to let them give out and send them home, hopefully to be replaced by someone a bit tougher...
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  #47  
Old 30 Apr 10, 16:15
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Originally Posted by Paul Mann III View Post
Long tours? Maybe for these days...

In the old days, guys couldn't go home until the war was over or they were used-up and no longer able... My grandfathers spent the length of America's involvement in WWII overseas. No trips home to Mommy...

Changing the rules to accommodate the mentally weak might be the problem.

Better to let them give out and send them home, hopefully to be replaced by someone a bit tougher...
Gee! Where do I start? Frankly Paul, I can spend half the day helping you with your arguments here and make them a bit more robust. And then spending the rest of the day countering everyone of them. The point here is with a little more info about mental health (MH) and how to deal with it effectively in the military, you may see that your arguments don't hold. So assuming you are open minded and want to learn more, let me start. (I may have to do this in a few post, as I must deal with RL stuff at my end.)

1. How do you find someone mentally weak before the test of fire?

You can't. There is no physical or psychological test that will indicate who and when someone will "mentally" falter during or after a firefight. If you find a method Paul, you will be making good money.

PTSD symptoms (this a PTSD thread afterall) will often show only 6 to 12 months AFTER a tour...And usually you may be the last to know you have it (family and colleague will likely detect the symptoms before you do...Hyperalertness, easily getting mad, not being yourself )

2. Are you assuming that someone with a mental illness (weakness!!) cannot be helped and successfully treated?

That would be a false assumption. Some unfortunately cannot be treated, most can.

Following such false assumption would mean that a soldier breaking his arm during training is now inapt and should be kicked out of the military.

IMO, our best Canadian division commander in WW2 was MGen Bert Hoffmeister. He ended the war commanding 5 Canadian Armoured Division in Italy and NW Europe and was assigned command of the to-be created 6 Canadian Infantry Division for the invasion of Japan. He started the war as a company commander in 1939, had a severe mental illness, was treated and ended the war as one of best darn fighting Allied generals. He wouldn't have been, following your recommendation about "mental weakness"!
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  #48  
Old 30 Apr 10, 16:31
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Originally Posted by Paul Mann III View Post
Long tours? Maybe for these days...

In the old days, guys couldn't go home until the war was over or they were used-up and no longer able... My grandfathers spent the length of America's involvement in WWII overseas. No trips home to Mommy...
3. What does PTSD have to do with a trip home to Mommy? OK, so accute anxiety (or other MH issue) may creep up, but most cases can also be treated.

The CF have MH specialist that visit our troops on the front lines and care for them as close as possible to their unit. More often then not, the soldier does not want to leave his buddies and must be ordered by his chain of command to meet with the MH careprovider, treated (in various ways, but sometimes it means a couple of days of sedated sleep) and return a fresh and more effective soldier. CF surveys indicate that soldiers will give buddy a break if he comes back better and more effective...And what commander does not prefer to have fresh effective troops under command!
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  #49  
Old 30 Apr 10, 16:50
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Originally Posted by Capt AFB View Post

1. How do you find someone mentally weak before the test of fire?
Find out how much of their pre-enlistment life was spent playing video games and social networking... That's a start...

Bottom line is we expect less and thus we get less.

In the old days the standards and demands were higher and stricter. We create our own weakness...

It's a generational devolution...
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  #50  
Old 30 Apr 10, 16:52
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Originally Posted by Paul Mann III View Post
Long tours? Maybe for these days...

In the old days, guys couldn't go home until the war was over or they were used-up and no longer able... My grandfathers spent the length of America's involvement in WWII overseas.
...Writes the guy from the country that was a late comer in both WW1 and WW2 (Don't interpret me wrong, we Allies were quite happy you joined in. We could not have won without American troops.)

4. Lenght of tour

Canada was in World Wars 1 & 2 from their start (OK, so Canada was late by four days in joining WW2!). Canada was in ex-Yougoslavia long before the Americans decided to join in, and was in Afghanistan with the American forces from the beginning.

So you may want to be cautious when using the lenght of involvement argument!

Are you telling me that you haven't learn from your mistakes. Your three TOP US MILITARY DOCTORS are saying a 15-month tour is too long after studying data and having a better understanding about MH, as any other health matter, now then the medical profession had in WW2.

....More to follow....RL!!
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  #51  
Old 30 Apr 10, 16:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt AFB View Post

Your three TOP US MILITARY DOCTORS are saying a 15-month tour is too long after studying data and having a better understanding about MH, as any other health matter, now then the medical profession had in WW2.
And my Dad did 20 months, his Dad 26 months, and my other grampa did over three years overseas. Plus the uncles with two and three years overseas.

People used to be tougher. It's harsh, but true...

Mental health is half a scam anyways...
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  #52  
Old 30 Apr 10, 17:33
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Paul,

My goal here is not to shoot you down, but to put a bit of light on a lot of misconceptions that are circulating about MH, some of which you brought up.

To go back to lenght of time of service during WW2.

Soldier in WW2 had less complicated ROEs to follow, a clearly identifiable enemy and fairly clear lines between the front and the rear areas.

In Europe :

D-Day Jun 44 to V-E day May 45: 11 months (less then one current 15-month tour)

And that not counting troop rotations to the rear for refit and recuperation.

Operation Torch Nov 42 to V-E day May 45: 30 months (equiv to two current 15-month tours)

All troops were given time to refit and recuperate away from the front line dangers before being re-engaged against the Axis Forces ... Was any unit engaged on the frontline continuously for 12-15 months?

In the Pacific

Guadacanal Campaign Aug 42 to Feb 43: 7 months (half a current 15-month tour)

Guadacanal Campaign Aug 42 to V-J Day Aug 45: 36 months (a little less then 2 1/2 current 15-month tours)

And again all troops were given time to refit and recuperate between island hopping and away from the front line dangers before being re-engaged against Japanese Forces ... Was any unit engaged on the frontline continuously for 12-15 months in the Pacific?

WW2 vets have by most sincere respect. It is very clear without them we would not be free today (and be able to exchange as we do on this thread).

My point here is that we should be careful when we compare lenght of tours with WW2, and its impact on MH of soldiers.
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  #53  
Old 30 Apr 10, 17:44
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Cool Aight....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt AFB View Post
To go back to length of time of service during WW2.
As an example: Paul Mann Sr. arrived invaded Sicily and Italy with very little downtime between.

Following Italy he had about two months before Normandy. Market Garden followed a few months after his time in France closed out, and then BANG! the Battle of the Bulge. After that he handled Germany and then was training to jump on the Japs when the bombs were dropped.

No more than three months in a row for downtime from training 1940 to victory in 1945.

My other Grampa had a similar experience, but started training a year earlier.

My Dad didn't take any breaks either. 20 months in a row, except for a few short passes to the beach and 5 weeks or so living in a set of shacks the Army built and hadn't occupied yet.

Keeping people focused requires less downtime and longer tours, in my terrible and uniformed opinion...
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  #54  
Old 30 Apr 10, 17:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Mann III View Post

People used to be tougher. It's harsh, but true...

Mental health is half a scam anyways...
Where they tougher in the past? Probably, less medical advances made it harder to survive illness and injuries, so the tougher ones survived.

But I have also seen the tough very physical fit experienced soldiers fall to MH issues

MH being a scam? Some will get away with it, but a good MH practitioner will identify the "faker" from the real cases.

Now, I'm waiting for Mountain Man to come counter argue my points

Last edited by Capt AFB; 30 Apr 10 at 17:53..
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  #55  
Old 30 Apr 10, 18:38
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If you are interested Mtn Man, I can't certainly find the latest medical litterature about PTSD for your references (including American ones.)

Why would I be at all interested in what you can't do?

PTSD has become the PC pop term for everything that ails people. The purpose of basic and AIT is to weed out those cannot function under he stress of combat. Obviously, that isn't happening with the soft kids of today.

Even when these kids are at war they take all of their creature comforts right along with them.

'Nam was amazingly stressful, too, but I'm fine despite all that. I guess I should run right down to the VA, tell them I'm angry about something or felling a little down today and that I would like a check for the rest of my life.
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  #56  
Old 30 Apr 10, 19:46
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I've read that a lot of the younger vets are staying away from the VFW and the American Legion and I'm beginning to think I know why. After reading some of the posts here it seems as though some of the oldtimers have decided that their particular military experience (or some relative's war time heroics) should be the standard by which everyone else's is judged. The good old days when men were men and just s*cked it up and never needed nothing from nobody nohow. Yeah, that kind of b.s. would have to get old after awhile.

Today's soldier isn't just cannon fodder and the wars we're fighting now require far greater sophistication and training. Everyone's service should be applauded of course but let's face it, a lot of the guys who served in the past might not be able to make it in today's military. Maybe that should be something for the war games forum, take today's military and match it against a comparably sized force from yesteryear and see who'd be kicking a** and taking no names.
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Old 30 Apr 10, 23:31
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I've read that a lot of the younger vets are staying away from the VFW and the American Legion and I'm beginning to think I know why. After reading some of the posts here it seems as though some of the oldtimers have decided that their particular military experience (or some relative's war time heroics) should be the standard by which everyone else's is judged. The good old days when men were men and just s*cked it up and never needed nothing from nobody nohow. Yeah, that kind of b.s. would have to get old after awhile.

Today's soldier isn't just cannon fodder and the wars we're fighting now require far greater sophistication and training. Everyone's service should be applauded of course but let's face it, a lot of the guys who served in the past might not be able to make it in today's military. Maybe that should be something for the war games forum, take today's military and match it against a comparably sized force from yesteryear and see who'd be kicking a** and taking no names.
Even without looking at the Flag at the top of your mail your style screams out YOUNG AMERICAN, with a vacant space above the eyes!! I can assure you that any Royal Marine that served his time in the corp in the past would hold his own with anyone from the present as I am sure any old serving member of the American Marine corp will tell you quite plainly the same thing!!
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Old 01 May 10, 00:44
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"Even without looking at the Flag at the top of your mail your style screams out YOUNG AMERICAN, with a vacant space above the eyes!!"

Ah I wish but I last saw young a couple of decades ago. I do know a fair number of young Americans serving in our nation's military though and their abilities are truly impressive. They deserve better than to have men who served before them call them weak and soft and fakers if they experience mental health problems.

The soldier of yesterday would be lost in today's military. First of all, he wouldn't know how to operate all the fancy equipment they use now. It's funny, one of the other posters (probably not you) was criticizing the country's youth because they play video games. Funny because the US military actually uses video games in training. You have to be tech savvy in our military now, not just be a grunt who can hump 100 lbs on his back (although you have to be that too!) because a lot of that weight is made up of special gear.

We fight wars differently now and for different reasons than in the past. It stands to reason that what made for a good soldier back in the day isn't going to be the same now, once you get past the basic requirements. It also stands to reason that the modern soldier's experience shouldn't be expected to mirror what some soldier went through in WW II or any other war. Although the idea that those soldiers didn't face PTSD, albeit by a different name, has already been discredited by others who've commented here.
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"Even without looking at the Flag at the top of your mail your style screams out YOUNG AMERICAN, with a vacant space above the eyes!!"

Ah I wish but I last saw young a couple of decades ago. I do know a fair number of young Americans serving in our nation's military though and their abilities are truly impressive. They deserve better than to have men who served before them call them weak and soft and fakers if they experience mental health problems.

The soldier of yesterday would be lost in today's military. First of all, he wouldn't know how to operate all the fancy equipment they use now. It's funny, one of the other posters (probably not you) was criticizing the country's youth because they play video games. Funny because the US military actually uses video games in training. You have to be tech savvy in our military now, not just be a grunt who can hump 100 lbs on his back (although you have to be that too!) because a lot of that weight is made up of special gear.

We fight wars differently now and for different reasons than in the past. It stands to reason that what made for a good soldier back in the day isn't going to be the same now, once you get past the basic requirements. It also stands to reason that the modern soldier's experience shouldn't be expected to mirror what some soldier went through in WW II or any other war. Although the idea that those soldiers didn't face PTSD, albeit by a different name, has already been discredited by others who've commented here.
To begin with I have NEVER degraded the present day men and their capabilities. so you are Tech: savvy, if the old 'Plods' were fighting now ,they would not be old men fighting a modern war, they too would be young men AND Tech: savvy!! I maintained that the old 'Bootnecks' would hold their own and be just as capable as the present day ones. We were able to adapt to new equipment you know! This I think is a damned silly argument!!
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Old 01 May 10, 10:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
If you are interested Mtn Man, I can't certainly find the latest medical litterature about PTSD for your references (including American ones.)

Why would I be at all interested in what you can't do?
Good day,

Well, that was a typo. It should, of course, have been read I CAN, not can't, provide you with references. As a medical professional, I thought you might want to look at the latest finds and studies about PTSD and other MH issues.

Quote:
PTSD has become the PC pop term for everything that ails people.
Granted. I so much agree with you on that one.

There is a whole range of mental health (MH) diseases out there (as there is a whole range of physical ones), but media and pop culture seem to pick up on PTSD for all MH problems. We had a court case in Canada where the defense argued that his client, an ex-soldier, had PTSD which should explain his violent behavior, although his deployment overseas never placed him in a life threatening situation.

Quote:
The purpose of basic and AIT is to weed out those cannot function under he stress of combat.
To a point. Any professional army will have their soldier go through training to prepare them for the stress of combat. But until a very violent action is experienced by someone - being raped, seeing your kids being killed, surviving a brutal IED attack- there is no test or training that will indicate how well someone will cope psychologically with the experience.

In most cases, despite the traumatic psychological event, military training will take over. Case in point, there is a case study indicating that the Red Baron was likely suffering from PTSD, but he was still flying and shooting down Allied pilots...But what would have happened to him after the war if he survived? He may have likely been a cranky, hypervigilant man hiding behind booze and perhaps have suicidal tendencies because he would not be ajusting well to the peacetime environment.

The Canadian Forces now have their soldiers do Resilience Training (1 1/2 day long) before deploying. There was resistance to add more training, but those who have done it and deployed (like myself) have only kudos for it. Although, in a strickly scientific sense, the jury is still out there (data is still being analysed) on how effective this training actually is.

The bad news. Approx 12-15% of soldiers (CF numbers) will have to deal with MH issues, half of these related to a combat experience (6% cases of PTSD and/or major depression.)

The good news. In the vast majority of those suffering of MH diseases can be cured, especially if they seek help early.

Quote:
I guess I should run right down to the VA, tell them I'm angry about something or felling a little down today and that I would like a check for the rest of my life.
Not necessarily. It's not a one day thing. If your wife, family, friends and colleagues are saying you have been cranky, hypervigilant and not yourself over several weeks and you are not sleeping properly and having nightmares, you may want to talk to your family doc/GP about it - whose job is to make you healthier, not to provide you a cheque,

If you happened to be one of the very unfortunate few to have a difficult-to-cure MH issue directly related to your time in service, you deserve to be compensated in the same way as a veteran that may have lost a limb or other physical ailment.
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