Local News

Fort Bragg troops find ways to battle stress of combat

Posted October 13, 2011

— In a combat environment like Afghanistan, where soldiers are on alert, working long hours and away from their families, stress is inevitable. Military studies show soldiers who see combat are likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder when they come home.

Troops with Fort Bragg’s 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade are stationed in Afghanistan for a year. When they feel stressed, they can turn to Brigade Chaplain Maj. Stanton Trotter.

“I find that people’s commitment to God, their connection to the scared, their spirituality, is far deeper in a combat zone than in garrison,” he said.

Trotter's theory holds true for veteran soldiers like Capt. Donald Minchew. He says his family, faith and fellow soldiers help him minimize stress.

“Especially knowing that people have deployed before. They are battle hardened, I guess you could say, drawing strength from each other,” Minchew said.

Chaplain serves stressed-out soldiers Chaplain serves stressed-out soldiers

The 82nd CAB is one of only 12 aviation brigades serving the entire Army, which means they’re called to serve more often. Some troops are on their second or third deployment in five years, with limited time at home.

“It gets pretty stressful out here,” said Sgt. Monica Busanet, who is stationed at Forward Operating Base Salerno, close the Pakistan border.

Busanet is on her second deployment and says she has a routine for relieving stress.

“I work out. I read books. I go on the Internet to see what’s going on and consume myself in work,” she said.

Trotter says, whether a soldier comes to worship service for solace or to him for counseling, it's important that soldiers seek help when needed in the combat zone.

“As a chaplain, you meet people where they are,” he said. “We help them, help their souls, help their peace wherever they are and connect as best we can.”


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  • anneonymousone Oct 13, 2011

    Dat MoFo, calling these military personnel "lucky" seems thoughtless. The kinds of weapons these folks are facing are very different, and the injuries that used to kill people in other wars now often leave vets to deal with decades of Traumatic Brain Injury, which can have profound cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical effects.

    Add in a less-responsive Veterans Administration, a recession, the way that the Vietnam War and an all-volunteer military have affected how many Americans view war, the ongoing war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya (as well as those that are not being discussed publicly), and I see very little luck indeed.

  • anneonymousone Oct 13, 2011

    No More Hope or Change, Judith H. Herman's book _Trauma and Recovery_ helped (and helps) me make sense of things. And there are governmental and non-governmental agencies that are designed to assist returning veterans; it is my hope that someone will listen to and support you, your husband, and your son as soon as possible.

  • christineeve Oct 13, 2011

    "The 82nd CAB is one of only 12 aviation brigades serving the entire Army, which means they’re called to serve more often. Some troops are on their second or third deployment in five years, with limited time at home." Some troops are on their second or third deployment..."

    I have news for you Mr. Smith, you've apparently not spoken with "some" of the troops who are on their 5th, 6th, and 7th deployments in 10 years. My husband is on his fifth deployment. He's spent 42 months in Iraq and will spent 12 more in Afghanistan with 82nd CAB.

    To the individual making the remark about video games and and places to hang out. That's just a load. The Korean War was three years long, and the average deployment was 285 days. They didn't spend years and years or in my case nearly a decade away from their families. There is a lot of standing around because the war is vastly different now then the war in Korea. It is foolish to compare the wars.

    You have absolutely NO CLUE what the soldiers go t

  • Mark Hayes Oct 13, 2011

    I have noticed that many are just turning their backs on our returning vets,similiar to the Vietnam era,people are getting tired of the war so feel ignoring those in it will make it go away,well it does'nt work that way,many just take these troops for granted and their families.

  • Dat MoFo Oct 13, 2011

    These guys are lucky. When my dad was fighting in Korea during the Korean War, there were no video games, internet, or places to work out. Plus they were too busy fighting and trying to stay alive to have time for any of those things.

  • u stand corrected Oct 13, 2011

    I am dealing with this right now with my husband. My son also, he is in jail and only 24. PTSD. Iraqi Marine vets. So sad. Semper Fi.

  • vraptor Oct 13, 2011

    Give them some stuff to release stress like video games, skype to call home, good food, R&R, shorter tours...

    I think we should bring them all home.

    God bless and stay safe.

  • anneonymousone Oct 13, 2011

    I understand there are things that people can do to improve their outlook and their emotional resilience, but as someone who knows PTSD all too well, I have to say that this article is too Pollyannaish for my tastes.

    Reading, exercise, and spiritual activities and beliefs may help people cope with difficult situations, but they are no substitute for PTSD prevention or treatment. It is not the general stress that gets to people, it is the traumatic stress that is at issue, hence the name.

    The problem is that there are lots of people experiencing things no one should have to experience---and experiencing them repeatedly. PTSD is still not often differentiated from weakness, cowardice, or malingering, and few people would want to claim any of those. The health care that many military personnel receive is best defined as neglectful.

  • u stand corrected Oct 13, 2011

    God bless you all. Semper Fi.