Support: September 16, 2003

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In Iraq, the army and marines prepared for a lot of combat stress casualties. The marines, for example, organized three Combat Stress Platoons (or CSPs, each consisting of one psychiatrist, two psychologists and three psychiatric technicians). Regimental commanders were ordered to set up Regimental Recuperation Centers, which the CSPs would operate out of. But the army and marines didnt suffer enough combat stress casualties to use the specialized units they had set up for that purpose. There were some combat stress cases, but they were all mild, and handled at the battalion level. Those men who got stressed out, were sent back to battalion headquarters for a day or two. The chaplain, doctor or a senior NCO would talk to the trooper, calm him down, and in nearly all cases, get him back to his unit. The main reason there were so few combat stress casualties was because the advance was so quick. Historically, this is when you have the fewest combat stress cases. When troops are constantly moving forward, even in the face of some fierce resistance, they tend to feel that all the danger and, well, stress, is worthwhile because the quickest way to get home is to keep advancing and defeat the enemy. Its when troops are not moving, and especially when they are just sitting in foxholes getting shot at and shelled, that you have the highest number of combat stress casualties. And this is why the condition was first called, during World War I, shell shock.

 


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