January 12, 2009:
The U.S. Army has found that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is not the only risk soldiers coming back from a combat tour have to worry about. Even troops who are not suffering from PTSD, find themselves having a hard time switching from the tense atmosphere of a combat zone. The traditional approach has been lectures and counseling. But EUCOM (the U.S. European command) has also instituted Warrior Adventure Quest for the combat units stationed in Europe that return from combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. This program offers white water rafting, mountain biking or rock climbing as a way to ease the transition from combat stress to normal life at the base. Troops come back all amped up from months of combat, and need some way to shed the tension, besides a bar brawl, or reckless driving. While military training can be exciting, that's not what the troops are looking for in the way of decompressing. But the non-military adventures seem to serve as a bridge between the combat stress, and less stressful life on the base. Then again, some troops just sit down with the same violent video games that they used when in the combat zone, to decompress after a day of combat.