Fort Bragg troops find ways to battle stress of combat
Posted October 13, 2011 3:29 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2011 6:47 p.m. EDT
Bagram, Afghanistan — 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.
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.”