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Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Posted by art_1 10 CA (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 2:17

Does anyone know what kind of 'debriefing' there is for soldiers when they are discharged?

Something like boot camp, only for soldiers coming back home, could be valuable for reentering society, finding employment, and dealing with mental stress.

Here is a link that might be useful: Resocialization


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

If you have programmed soldiers to be killers deprogramming them could be a Herculean task...


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Soldiers are automatically enrolled in several weeks of debriefing when they return.

However, that doesn't mean they're fixed and cured.

My son has soldiers under his command that attend monthly counseling sessions just to cope with life outside the war zone.

A soldier can also refuse treatment.

While it’s possible to see a physical wound heal, it’s not obvious when somebody has overcome PTSD.

Here is a link that might be useful: Did Not Seek Help

This post was edited by brushworks on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 7:20


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Maybe some kind of after care and deeper evaluation should be a requirement, and not optional... or perhaps any refusals to be evaluated post trauma/battle/discharge from duties should come with a restriction on the owning of any weaponry...


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

  • Posted by batya Israel north 8-9-10 (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 10:00

oh boy I only wish. Two of our sons left active service with the IDF from combat or combat-like positions, and both had serious problems, both with what they saw/did, and with the wrenching entry and exit.
One son was canine search and rescue and was in some gruesome situations. When he came back from one mission, he had trouble sleeping and was very anxious for weeks, and other problems on base brought him near and past the breaking point. When he found out, entirely by accident, that he was not only allowed help, but it was required by army regs, he asked his CO to ask why he didn't know about this. His CO told him that he, the CO, was aware that my son was having trouble, but purposely didn't tell him. In his opinion, "he should just sit with it a while, because it builds character".
My older son had trouble for years after the 2006 war here, and although I tried to get him help, we couldn't find anyone who would help him - as an Israeli soldier, none of the US military set-ups for returning vets could help, and he was in the US right after the army to study. He fell between the cracks, and it was a long, painful slow few years before he felt at all stable.
Now, both are on the mend, but the older one really, really doesn't like fireworks anymore. After a month of bombing here in Haifa, neither do I. Gives us both the willies.

For me and my sons, getting used to the military going in was almost harder than coming out. It was a system with norms diametrically opposed to how they were raised, and the trauma of entering and surviving that culture was harsh. Since most Israelis take that culture with them and use it everyday in civilian life, it's very hard to see the fine line between military and civilian life, much less to walk it.

Some people do really well in the military, as the structure and opportunities for leading, organizing, and teamwork are just what they need to blossom. It's less the military that they need debriefing from, it's the combat. Terror, dying, killing, despair are what do the damage. As they would for any of us.


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Builds character? Builds character, he said?!

What kind of a CO says that to a young person about the horrors of military duty?!

Hard work builds character... witnessing or participating in the more gruesome areas of life can be anything but character building!

Good grief! No wonder the problems persist!


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

  • Posted by batya Israel north 8-9-10 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 4:36

One issue is that US wars are nearly all fought on "foreign" soil. Here, the entire population, both Arabs and Jews, are PTSD, so normal anxiety and fear, heightened sense of constant threat are considered the healthy way to live. I won't go into what that does to us all, but in the US it's different.
There, there is a whole huge segment of the population that has no idea about combat and organized killing, etc. The soldiers come back to so-called everyday life, and they are constantly rubbed the wrong way by the cluelessness of the rest of the community. The returning soldiers are shell shocked in a population that sees them as damaged - and they are. But the expectation that they forget about it all and return to peaceful, safe and logical lives is an illusion. It takes years but those who keep going back for more tours never get that chance, and the lower numbers of "volunteers" forces the military to keep sending back the experienced ones until they are rather permanently warped.

I remember the returning Vietnam vets were baffled and hurt by the attitude of the rest of us. They did what they were supposed to do and we vilified them. In Israel, they do the same thing and they are treated as heroes, so "fixing" their damaged mind set is seen as foolish. He's got what it takes, why change that?
But in the US, they do what they are told and then we treat them as crazy. Anyone who deals with it well does so on his or her own terms, the military debriefing programs notwithstanding. And when one cracks, we are horrified and puzzled , and ask how did we let this happen?


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Thanks, batya.

The community is clueless and isn't interested in changing that.

Please don't forget the families that are broken by wars, deaths, repeated deployments, etc. They also suffer and are often neglected and forgotten.

And shame on our country for making people believe these fine men suffer or die for the lies (national security) of governments.


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

  • Posted by batya Israel north 8-9-10 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 10:15

Well, brush, I can say the same thing for the "national security" lies of BOTH sides, here. We got lots.
But hasn't it always been that way? Goodness knows the army lied to soldiers before this. It's the world we bring them back to that's the issue here.

Whole neighborhooods in Chicago (the Taylor Projects, etc) have generations of kids brought up as PTSD, shell shock on a daily basis due to gangs, shootings, rapes, etc. The kids live their entire lives under fire, and who takes care of them? Who lets them know how to deal with stress, anger, frustration? How do they learn to cope as adults if and when, and even if not, they ever get out of the neighborhood and try to make it in the (un)real world?
Soldiers coming home, kids in Cabrini being home, totally bonkers, and we wonder when folks go postal?


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Precisely... and that shouldn't stand. That's one reason it's so important to do something about health care...


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

  • Posted by batya Israel north 8-9-10 (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 10:25

ooops, and I didn't even see the shooting in Chicago thread! Hmmmm.................


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Isn't it funny how most of our social and economic problems are intertwined?


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

as was typical of the day:I got off the plane from Nam and was home within 24 hours. The exit briefing consisted of " do you have any claims against the military for physical or mental problems, here is your uniform, a steak dinner and thanks for yer service.


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Hahahaha. When I came back, I still had time to serve. My remaining time was served in Cleveland, OH at the downtown recruiting station.

I felt safer in Vietnam. :(


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

I got early out, only had about 40 days to go.

I really should have claimed my hearing loss . Was in artillery, 8 inchers! we used cigarette butts for ear "protection". I get 25% disability for that now and the very best hearing aids made with life supply of batteries.
Cleveland, just a hop skip and jump from here.


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

I'm no longer living in northern Ohio. I migrated to central Ohio to live near my daughter and grandchildren.

Ohiomom is now the mayor up there. :)


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RE: Basic training for soldiers coming back to civilian life?

Anecdotes which beg the question... just how thankful ARE the military and other authorities for the service given, for the sacrifices made by so many? Thankful enough to offer comprehensive, accessible care for issues incurred?

It's not difficult to understand why some service personnel stay or return to areas of the world they've become more familiar with...


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