Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion Two (NPDB2) was sent to Iraq, and the
Camp Bucca prison, in May, 2006. Since then, the navy found that some of the
sailors are suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The problem
was made worse by the extra 90 days of the duty the battalion got, in March,
2007. This was a result of the surge offensive, and most everyone else was
getting extended as well.
sailors in the battalion had received training from the army at Ft Bliss
beforehand, and were initially to spend twelve months helping guard the 20,000
terrorists and terrorist suspects held at Camp Bucca. The navy contingent made
up about ten percent of the security forces. Most were army personnel, and the
camp was run by an army Military Police brigade. The U.S. Air Force has a small
security battalion there as well. NPDB2 returned home in August 2007 (having
been replaced by NPDB3). By then, navy medical personnel knew that something
would have to be done about the PTSD.
for every soldier killed in combat in Iraq, at least one is sent back to the
United States because of severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and
several others are treated in the combat zone for less severe cases. During
World War II, PTSD was a serious problem. In the European Theater, 25 percent
of all casualties were serious PTSD cases. In the Pacific Theater, the rate
varied widely, depending on the campaign. In some of the most intense fighting,
like Okinawa in 1945, PTSD accounted for over a third of all wounded. In Iraq,
less than ten percent of the wounded are PTSD, but the more troops serve in a
combat zone, in combat jobs, the more likely they are to develop PTSD.
sailors of NPDB2 didn't realize how stressful working with Islamic terrorist prisoners
would be. At its worst, it turned out to be as bad as combat. Many of the detainees were hard core, and
vicious. So now the navy has set up a counseling and monitoring program to deal
with the PTSD. The sailors are worse off than their army counterparts, because
the soldiers go over and return as a unit. Thus, soldiers with PTSD problems
have people handy to talk to, people who have gone through what they went
through. The sailors were all "individual augmentees", who came from one ship
or base, and will return to another one once their stint helping out the army
is finished. The navy now takes that into account, along with what kind of duty
the sailor gets, and whether that warrants PTSD help.