Author Topic: More than 6,700 veterans from Afghan war receiving federal assistance for PTSD  (Read 4387 times)

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Offline Remius

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We should also be careful as to how we classify PTSD within the OSI (operational stress injury) group of mental health issues that afflict CAF members.   PTSD is but one type of OSI but others also exist. 

One can get an OSI from a variety of operational experiences and is not limited to combat. 

One can get PTSD from a normal car accident but may not be necessarily an OSI. 
Optio

Offline Halifax Tar

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Pointing out that there are probably scammers in the system is an acceptable statement, IMHO.

Saying you know people scamming and lying is a whole different thing. Now your calling an individual a liar without benefit of medical history or a physician's shingle on your wall. A layman making a highly complicated diagnoses on a spur of the moment, without proof....or thought.

PTS and 'shell shock' are not the same things. Many of the same problems will manifest themselves the same in both, for similar reasons. Causes may be similar. However, PTS has a much more expanded view of things than the simple diagnosis of 'shell shock' from WWI. Medicine has gotten a lot smarter. A person can accumulate PTS and never have a problem. Or they can accumulate it and single incident on deployment can bring it all bubbling up

There's also findings that are showing mefloquine poisioning can mimic PTS and the treatment for either are not the same.

So perhaps that is what the person is really suffering from, quininism, and not PTS. Either way, not having a medical background and knowing the specifics, anyone questioning individuals diagnosis's would do well to mind their own business.

I am really tired of ***** footing around this.  Its happening and I think its happening allot.  You can call me out on not being a medical professional all you want but when I watched a guy get a service dog, the sacrifice medal and a medical release after years of adjusted work schedules.  This guy pulled all kinds of stories out of his *** about what he did over seas.  Even changed his trade and posted pics of SOF guys with identifiers blurred claiming to him.  When I brought it up, I was told the same line you are feeding me.  That's just one I can give you bakers dozen more. 

A close friend of mine and I joke that we seem to be the only people we know who haven't put in some kind of medical claim, let alone PTSD from our AFG tours. 

Its happening more than most people want to admit.   

I get it.  Its a serious issue.  I had another close friend of mine put his head on the tracks in front of a Go Train after we came home.  Its serious, I get it.  And thats why I am so pissed when I know people are abusing it.  And its my opinion that abuse is deep and wider spread than people want to admit.

Combat Support came out of KAF. People are different and react differently to stress. These statistics will serve to prove absolutely nothing. It would be really bad form If you're going to start comparing people's roles and then start dismissing their claims just because they spent less time outside the wire than others.


I don't want to compare any role.  I just want to dissect the volume of claims and see what roles they are coming from.

We should also be careful as to how we classify PTSD within the OSI (operational stress injury) group of mental health issues that afflict CAF members.   PTSD is but one type of OSI but others also exist. 

One can get an OSI from a variety of operational experiences and is not limited to combat. 

One can get PTSD from a normal car accident but may not be necessarily an OSI. 

I have no quarrel with definitions. 

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Offline Remius

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I would really like to see 6700 number broken up by role during their deployment(s).  I.e. actively engaged in a fighting organization in the theater,  Combat Support (Convoys, ect) and Rear Echelon Support pers (i.e. KAF).

There would be value in that sort of thing.  Also a breakdown of people who might be more prone to OSIs if that is in fact possible.  I know two guys that were having issues before they left and came back with even more. 

So many complicated factors.
Optio

Offline Pieman

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Quote
I am really tired of ***** footing around this.  Its happening and I think its happening allot.  You can call me out on not being a medical professional all you want but when I watched a guy get a service dog, the sacrifice medal and a medical release after years of adjusted work schedules.  This guy pulled all kinds of stories out of his *** about what he did over seas.  Even changed his trade and posted pics of SOF guys with identifiers blurred claiming to him.  When I brought it up, I was told the same line you are feeding me.  That's just one I can give you bakers dozen more. 

The hunt for the 'cheater' of the system goes on.

Consider this: A full evaluation for OSI isn't a check in the box. The real diagnosis takes many hours of interaction with a therapist and psychologist. The fact of the matter is they are going into the appointments and putting in the time. If you think they are tricking these professional psychologists you are *dead wrong*. It doesn't need to make sense to you, so stop trying. You are not qualified to ascertain the situation one way or another.

Those that tell you they are cheating the system may in fact be telling you that so you don't think less of them. It doesn't mean that they are not injured. It may be simply their way of dealing with it at the time. Like any major trauma in life, there is a path from denial to acceptance. People will go to great lengths to maintain their denial and fabricate any kind of story to support it.

If you think you are helping the situation with your personal sleuthing and arm chair analysis of people is helping, I assure you that you are wrong. If you are so deeply concerned with the affairs of other people go hang out in a high school parking lot. You can gossip all you like there.

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Offline PuckChaser

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Combat Support came out of KAF. People are different and react differently to stress. These statistics will serve to prove absolutely nothing. It would be really bad form If you're going to start comparing people's roles and then start dismissing their claims just because they spent less time outside the wire than others.
Let's not jump to conclusions here. If KAF folks had a higher percentage of OSI claims than Combat Arms, then maybe we're doing a piss poor job preparing those folks mentally for a warzone? Or creating toxic work environments that add unnecessary stressors? Or maybe they're more likely to have poor work-rest cycles to keep the beans and bullets being pushed forward?

I think we do a terrible job with mental health in the CAF, and IMO it starts with the lack of any meaningful screening by a psychologist at the recruiting center.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Quote from: FJAG
While I don't for a minute doubt that there are many of our veterans have PTSD from actual traumatic events in Afghanistan, I do wonder how much of the rise in statistics is related to non-traumatic related stress events/situations which mirror what is happening amongst younger civilian workers and the PS sector. Are we as a society becoming less resilient? Are we living in a society where even day-to-day stressors are more than a significant number of us can cope with?

 :dunno:

Unequivocally yes. Society today is less resilient and people seem to have a much more difficult time dealing with day to day stressors. I'm not sure where the blame lies but it seems like young adults can't cope very well with a lot of things.
On that note I'm not sure if it's a positive sign that new CAF members are taking their health and well-being super seriously but more and more it seems like new recruits showing up at my units first question is "how do I make an appointment with VA to deal with all the injuries I suffered on basic training and battle school". Then it's MELs, Physio appointments and padre trips. Everyone's got problems, myself included, but the volume frequency and priority of going to the VA/medical system is shocking.


For PTSD, unequivocally yes some people are faking and gaming the system. It's not up to me (or anyone here) to play detective. But when my neighbor smacks around his wife "because of all the dead children he seen on patrols" when the guys never left the wire I'm not going to go along with it. And chances are I'm going to say bulllllllshit out loud.  I also don't have to buy in to guys and girls lying about their service "because PTSD".

I get the premise that questioning PTSD claims may prevent members legitimately suffering from coming forward. Agreed. No one wants that. On the other hand I think what's equally damaging is when someone appears to be full of it and everyone around them looks at them like they're full of crap. That's going to prevent people from coming forward too because no one wants to be that guy that people don't believe (because someones making a fool of themselves).


There's a very unhealthy mindset where members deploying almost expect to get PTSD.


« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 18:03:49 by Jarnhamar »
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Let's not jump to conclusions here. If KAF folks had a higher percentage of OSI claims than Combat Arms, then maybe we're doing a piss poor job preparing those folks mentally for a warzone? Or creating toxic work environments that add unnecessary stressors? Or maybe they're more likely to have poor work-rest cycles to keep the beans and bullets being pushed forward?

I think we do a terrible job with mental health in the CAF, and IMO it starts with the lack of any meaningful screening by a psychologist at the recruiting center.

I've read a few places that members based in KAF suffered higher instances of PTSD than those outside the wire. Explanations included:
-combat arms types are tougher trained and more mentally resilient
-not being able to retaliate to being attacked (getting hit with rockets and just having to hide compared to, say, shot at and able to return fire) leads to a sense of helplessness.
-combat arms types are more inclined to hide their issues because of the stigma of PTSD

I would have assumed the opposite would be true, those outside the wire suffered more but the numbers say I'm wrong.
I remember reading point #2 (not being able to retaliate) was something a lot of psychologists that studied combat supported.
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Offline exCAFguy

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One time when I went back to KAF for the night, Pizza Hut was out of pizzas.

Hardest moment of deployment for me........

On a a serious note, I’ve had more, than a few conversations with people who’ve been overseas and did not know I had deployed.  Interestingly enough, the biggest war stories of heroism I’ve ever heard typically came from KAFers.  Wasn’t aware KAF was the scene of 24/7 fighting with insurgents breaching the walls daily......at least that’s what they told me.  Probably explains their PTSD
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 20:36:40 by ExRCDcpl »

Offline meni0n

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One time when I went back to KAF for the night, Pizza Hut was out of pizzas.

Hardest moment of deployment for me........

On a a serious note, I’ve had more, than a few conversations with people who’ve been overseas and did not know I had deployed.  Interestingly enough, the biggest war stories of heroism I’ve ever heard typically came from KAFers.  Wasn’t aware KAF was the scene of 24/7 fighting with insurgents breaching the walls daily......at least that’s what they told me.  Probably explains their PTSD

So what exactly is your point in connection with the topic in question. Apart from demonstrating your air of superiority when comparing yourself to those deployed to KAF and also trying to disparage and minimize their contribution by insinuating how cushy KAF was so those claiming PTSD  if they deployed only to KAF must be liars.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 23:07:55 by meni0n »

Offline exCAFguy

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So what exactly is your point in connection with the topic in question. Apart from demonstrating your air of superiority when comparing yourself to those deployed to KAF and also trying to disparage and minimize their contribution by insinuating how cushy KAF was so those claiming PTSD  if they deployed only to KAF must be liars.
So because KAF was in fact a cushy go, that somehow minimizes the work people did there?  Not sure how you took that away from my post.  While you’re quick to throw out my “air of superiority” you just demonstrated quite the inferiority complex here.

Further, while I’m not going to flat out say all individuals from KAF claiming PTSD are liars (the medical staff for instance saw some pretty horrible stuff) you’re also not going to convince me otherwise that a large number of individuals who suffer from PTSD based on their time sitting in supply etc. there are legitimate.  Sorry if this is offensive to you or anyone else but that’s my personal opinion on the matter.

KAF was not an unsafe place to be and far too many people simply hide behind and accept the explanation that “everyone perceives things differently” and it’s a crock.

Again, are all individuals who spent their time in KAF and suffer from PTSD faking it?  Of course not.  Are a good number of them not legitimate though?  I believe so.

Offline meni0n

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So because KAF was in fact a cushy go, that somehow minimizes the work people did there?  Not sure how you took that away from my post.  While you’re quick to throw out my “air of superiority” you just demonstrated quite the inferiority complex here.

Further, while I’m not going to flat out say all individuals from KAF claiming PTSD are liars (the medical staff for instance saw some pretty horrible stuff) you’re also not going to convince me otherwise that a large number of individuals who suffer from PTSD based on their time sitting in supply etc. there are legitimate.  Sorry if this is offensive to you or anyone else but that’s my personal opinion on the matter.

KAF was not an unsafe place to be and far too many people simply hide behind and accept the explanation that “everyone perceives things differently” and it’s a crock.

Again, are all individuals who spent their time in KAF and suffer from PTSD faking it?  Of course not.  Are a good number of them not legitimate though?  I believe so.

I don't have an air of inferiority, I just dislike the attitude perpetuated by people that were based outside the wire that those in KAF were "WOGs", which basically what you were insinuating in your earlier comments and have reiterated in your latest ones. What you did is minimize contribution of a whole group of people because of your perception of how much harder your tour was because you were out in a FOB and then you go on to say that you believe that soldiers who were based in KAF that claim PTSD are mostly liars. You clearly have no idea what most of the NSE did and then use that ignorance to form your opinion. You could have kept it to yourself but you decided to come to the thread and throw those cheap comments in here.

Offline daftandbarmy

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I am really tired of ***** footing around this.  Its happening and I think its happening allot. 

I rationalize it with the thought that if even only one life is saved, it's worth it.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline CanadianTire

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One time when I went back to KAF for the night, Pizza Hut was out of pizzas.

Hardest moment of deployment for me........

And in all seriousness there was an individual who had an office job at KAF that had to be pulled aside by the MPs after throwing what can only be described as a temper tantrum at having to wait an additional 15 minutes after the all-sounded to get his Tim Horton's coffee he had paid for prior to the rocket warning sounding.
"Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die." - Tennyson

Offline Blackadder1916

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And in all seriousness there was an individual who had an office job at KAF that had to be pulled aside by the MPs after throwing what can only be described as a temper tantrum at having to wait an additional 15 minutes after the all-sounded to get his Tim Horton's coffee he had paid for prior to the rocket warning sounding.

Don't know if you are relating this as an (sarcastic?) example of how hard it was at KAF or as an example of a potential mental health episode.  On the face of it, the immediate reaction of most would probably be "what an arsehole", however my immediate thought when I read this was "hmm, manifestation of stress reaction?, how did this person fare after they got home".  See the difference.
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Offline stoker dave

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I was deployed to Gulf War I on one of the three ships.   I will not compare Gulf War I to anything else (such as foot patrols in Afghanistan) but it was certainly stressful enough. 

Of the three ships (and two crews counting the Protecteur rotation) that was about 1,500 sailors at sea. 

I am not aware of a single PTSD incident, report or diagnosis during or afterwards.  Maybe there were some; but I am not aware of any.  I stayed with my ship for about a year after returning to Halifax.

So, if we apply some statistics, how many of those 1,500 might have had or been diagnosed with PTSD? 

Offline Staff Weenie

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Reading through some of these comments, I am not sure exactly what to say, but I feel compelled to wade in with a bit more background than many.

I work at CAF TG HQ, and have for many years now. Every day I see Integrated Transition Plans done for the most seriously ill and inured people we have. We use this means to determine a safe and appropriate time to enable their transition to civilian life. I see about 360 of these files per year. I have also worked at TC Ottawa, when we reached 200 posted in members. I interviewed many of them during their in-clearance. Of all the people we support, my gut instinct tells me that ~75% are for MH issues. This is a very real problem.

Are they faking it? Are they deliberately trying to make it look worse than it is to get more money from VAC? I can't give you exact numbers - I don't believe we collect that data because it's darned hard to prove - but I suspect that probably a few are. My gut instinct with all of my contact with our people was that maybe as many as 5% could fall into that category. And yet I am willing to accept that if I can reach not only the other 95%, but even more so if I can help find all of the people who are still too ashamed or too frightened of stigma to come forward. This is a very real problem.

I've had to review a large BOI on a suicide, and dozens of SI reports on suicide attempts, all for mental health reasons. Sometimes, after a death, I am asked to review every note we have on somebody, even look at their social media accounts to see what we might have missed. I've sat with Combat Arms soldiers, and those of the Combat Service Support trades, as the poured their story out with tears. I've talked to the spouses, and even the children or parents. I've seen the desperation, the confusion, and sometimes the desire to end the pain. This is a very real problem.

I also know, better than most, what they are going through. I've stood with a loaded pistol and thought that one quick action, and the endless nightmares are finally going to be over. I was one of those employed in KAF - about eight months in the R3MMU. I've had people tell me 'you have no right to have PTSD', and 'you guys just drank Timmies and played volleyball at the boardwalk'. I've heard all the derogatory comments, faced the criticism, and reached a conclusion - this is a very real problem. BUT - it's one that we can work on. What does it take - people to stop trying to judge or label their brothers and sisters - the vast majority are not faking it. Don't create a pecking order for casualties - suffering is suffering, regardless of where it came from. Never drive them back under a rock. The longer it takes for them to come forward, the less likely that they can fully recover. Never be divisive, never stigmatize, just accept that there is an issue, analyze it, find solutions on how we can better prepare the young troops coming in today.

Offline BeyondTheNow

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Reading through some of these comments, I am not sure exactly what to say, but I feel compelled to wade in with a bit more background than many.

I work at CAF TG HQ, and have for many years now. Every day I see Integrated Transition Plans done for the most seriously ill and inured people we have. We use this means to determine a safe and appropriate time to enable their transition to civilian life. I see about 360 of these files per year. I have also worked at TC Ottawa, when we reached 200 posted in members. I interviewed many of them during their in-clearance. Of all the people we support, my gut instinct tells me that ~75% are for MH issues. This is a very real problem.

Are they faking it? Are they deliberately trying to make it look worse than it is to get more money from VAC? I can't give you exact numbers - I don't believe we collect that data because it's darned hard to prove - but I suspect that probably a few are. My gut instinct with all of my contact with our people was that maybe as many as 5% could fall into that category. And yet I am willing to accept that if I can reach not only the other 95%, but even more so if I can help find all of the people who are still too ashamed or too frightened of stigma to come forward. This is a very real problem.

I've had to review a large BOI on a suicide, and dozens of SI reports on suicide attempts, all for mental health reasons. Sometimes, after a death, I am asked to review every note we have on somebody, even look at their social media accounts to see what we might have missed. I've sat with Combat Arms soldiers, and those of the Combat Service Support trades, as the poured their story out with tears. I've talked to the spouses, and even the children or parents. I've seen the desperation, the confusion, and sometimes the desire to end the pain. This is a very real problem.

I also know, better than most, what they are going through. I've stood with a loaded pistol and thought that one quick action, and the endless nightmares are finally going to be over. I was one of those employed in KAF - about eight months in the R3MMU. I've had people tell me 'you have no right to have PTSD', and 'you guys just drank Timmies and played volleyball at the boardwalk'. I've heard all the derogatory comments, faced the criticism, and reached a conclusion - this is a very real problem. BUT - it's one that we can work on. What does it take - people to stop trying to judge or label their brothers and sisters - the vast majority are not faking it. Don't create a pecking order for casualties - suffering is suffering, regardless of where it came from. Never drive them back under a rock. The longer it takes for them to come forward, the less likely that they can fully recover. Never be divisive, never stigmatize, just accept that there is an issue, analyze it, find solutions on how we can better prepare the young troops coming in today.

Thank you

Offline CanadianTire

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Don't know if you are relating this as an (sarcastic?) example of how hard it was at KAF or as an example of a potential mental health episode.  On the face of it, the immediate reaction of most would probably be "what an arsehole", however my immediate thought when I read this was "hmm, manifestation of stress reaction?, how did this person fare after they got home".  See the difference.

Maybe it's a bit of both? There's always two sides to a story and the side we heard were of the "what an ***" side, but who knows the history of the individual? Was this their first tour, or second or third? Were they about to rotate out or had they just got there? Was it just someone having a temper tantrum because the Timmy's workers were rude, or was it the sign of a bigger problem?
"Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die." - Tennyson

Offline daftandbarmy

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An interesting article about the US experience:

“PTSD is a real thing, without a doubt,” says McNally. “But as a diagnosis, PTSD has become so flabby and overstretched, so much a part of the culture, that we are almost certainly mistaking other problems for PTSD, and thus mistreating them.”

https://www.wired.com/2012/03/the-ptsd-trap/

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Offline PuckChaser

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I was one of those employed in KAF - about eight months in the R3MMU. I've had people tell me 'you have no right to have PTSD', and 'you guys just drank Timmies and played volleyball at the boardwalk'. I've heard all the derogatory comments, faced the criticism, and reached a conclusion - this is a very real problem.

You'd have been well within your rights to punch those individuals in the face. I spent 8 hours on sentry at the R3 once, and never wanted to go back after hearing the entire trauma care of an American crew who were in a HMMVW that struck an IED.

We have to be careful to apply "KAF people can't have PTSD" because of the absolute massive breadth of jobs completed on that airfield. There's a huge difference between helpdesk at RC(S) HQ, and the men/women trying to fix shattered soldiers from the battlefield.

Offline Milhouser911

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Let's not jump to conclusions here. If KAF folks had a higher percentage of OSI claims than Combat Arms, then maybe we're doing a piss poor job preparing those folks mentally for a warzone? Or creating toxic work environments that add unnecessary stressors? Or maybe they're more likely to have poor work-rest cycles to keep the beans and bullets being pushed forward?

I think we do a terrible job with mental health in the CAF, and IMO it starts with the lack of any meaningful screening by a psychologist at the recruiting center.

I'll take this line of reasoning in a slightly different direction - as a CSS guy who got dropped out to a FOB, doing daily OP and CP shifts, after going through workup (If you can call what CSS guys do "workup") expecting to be driving a forklift on KAF.  I arrived COMPLETELY unprepared.  We did C7 on an expedient range on Suffield (25M), a no-fail rundown in Wx, and a no-fail live pairs (about 4 minutes from start to finish).  I was given a pistol when I arrived at the FOB - I sure didn't touch one on workup.  I sat a minimum of 3 hours a day behind an ITAS, C6, Coral-C, Vector binos, and/or NODLER, all equipment I didn't touch on workup.  I didn't know how range cards worked when I showed up.  Communicating over a radio, both from the OP and during CP duty?  Of course we didn't cover that.  We may have done organized PT about 6 times during a 9 month workup period, with the majority of our time spent in a canteen, being told we couldn't go to the gym because "something might come up".  *NOTE:  I believe we did TOET on pistol/C6/C9/84/LAW and foreign weapons famil, but we didn't fire anything, and it was all on the floor of the LTF for a small portion of an afternoon - effectively nothing

The only valuable thing I did on workup was TCCC, which luckily got me talking on the radio enough to be functional when dropped behind one on tour. 

I'm incredibly lucky that this was for a quiet winter tour - but the fact remains that the army did a huge disservice to all the CSS guys who were dropped in FOBS and other semi-austere places with zero legit training or prep.  Mental preparation?  We didn't have any preparation to speak of.

(This post is as accurate as I can make it 10 years after the fact through a lens of bitterness)

Offline daftandbarmy

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I'll take this line of reasoning in a slightly different direction - as a CSS guy who got dropped out to a FOB, doing daily OP and CP shifts, after going through workup (If you can call what CSS guys do "workup") expecting to be driving a forklift on KAF.  I arrived COMPLETELY unprepared.  We did C7 on an expedient range on Suffield (25M), a no-fail rundown in Wx, and a no-fail live pairs (about 4 minutes from start to finish).  I was given a pistol when I arrived at the FOB - I sure didn't touch one on workup.  I sat a minimum of 3 hours a day behind an ITAS, C6, Coral-C, Vector binos, and/or NODLER, all equipment I didn't touch on workup.  I didn't know how range cards worked when I showed up.  Communicating over a radio, both from the OP and during CP duty?  Of course we didn't cover that.  We may have done organized PT about 6 times during a 9 month workup period, with the majority of our time spent in a canteen, being told we couldn't go to the gym because "something might come up".  *NOTE:  I believe we did TOET on pistol/C6/C9/84/LAW and foreign weapons famil, but we didn't fire anything, and it was all on the floor of the LTF for a small portion of an afternoon - effectively nothing

The only valuable thing I did on workup was TCCC, which luckily got me talking on the radio enough to be functional when dropped behind one on tour. 

I'm incredibly lucky that this was for a quiet winter tour - but the fact remains that the army did a huge disservice to all the CSS guys who were dropped in FOBS and other semi-austere places with zero legit training or prep.  Mental preparation?  We didn't have any preparation to speak of.

(This post is as accurate as I can make it 10 years after the fact through a lens of bitterness)

This. And thank you for sharing this experience.

Leadership needs to ensure everyone is prepared for war, not just the 'bayonets'. Anything else is simply a failure of command.

In Northern Ireland, everyone in theatre either went through the 'full meal deal' workup with the BGps, or did an 'in country' package of two or three weeks before joining the operational units. With few exceptions, our support trades were as dialed in as our 'gravel bellies', some moreso especially the tpt, sigs, int and med personnel.

Of course, this policy was learned the hard way, unfortunately.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline SupersonicMax

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Mental preparation for combat is not something that is done a couple of months before going.  It’s ingrained into someone over years of training where dealing with death (albeit simulated) and danger become part of normal life.  It is an attitude that is bred.  In our PC world where we cannot be seen as “agressive”, it is difficult to teach that to everyone and the expectations of combat are unclear to most. 

Offline daftandbarmy

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Mental preparation for combat is not something that is done a couple of months before going.  It’s ingrained into someone over years of training where dealing with death (albeit simulated) and danger become part of normal life.  It is an attitude that is bred.  In our PC world where we cannot be seen as “agressive”, it is difficult to teach that to everyone and the expectations of combat are unclear to most.

I beg to differ.

I've led loads of 17 - 20 year old soldiers (and Marines), men and women, who came directly from basic training (6 months), through work up training (2-3 months) and into a **** storm where everyone, and everything, was trying to kill them - and sometimes succeeded.

They were splendid... every last one of them. It was a humbling experience to command them.

An anthropologist can probably tell you better than I why that works so well, but it does.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Jarnhamar

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One time when I went back to KAF for the night, Pizza Hut was out of pizzas.

Hardest moment of deployment for me........


Well you ARE an ex Dragoon so I can understand how upsetting the pizza thing is ;)

Just kidding but seriously, combat arms signed up to do combat arms things.
Combat arms love telling everyone they were at a FOB or COP and make sure everyone knows they're combat arms.

They love pointing out crap to do with KAF. Pizza, massage parlour, relative safety.  Thing is combat arms would spend a few days in KAF and whine ***** and complain about it the whole time. How shitty it was and all the rules. Couldn't wait to get the #$*& out of KAF and back out.
Fobs and cops wouldn't have existed without KAF.

Staff Weenie-  amazing post and insight, thanks for sharing that.

An interesting article about the US experience:

“PTSD is a real thing, without a doubt,” says McNally. “But as a diagnosis, PTSD has become so flabby and overstretched, so much a part of the culture, that we are almost certainly mistaking other problems for PTSD, and thus mistreating them.”


This is one of the most insightful things I've read about PTSD in a long time.



I'll take this line of reasoning in a slightly different direction - as a CSS guy who got dropped out to a FOB, doing daily OP and CP shifts, after going through workup (If you can call what CSS guys do "workup") expecting to be driving a forklift on KAF. 


I've commented about seeing that stuff on this forum before. People deploying outside the wire who never fired their gun. Didn't know there was more to the body Armor than just the shell. Had zero training. Lots of people slipped through the cracks.


There are no wolves on Fenris