Caught a portion of the PBS Frontline show, The Wounded Platoon, documenting the extensive combat trauma in the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry stationed in Fort Carson, CO. Click the above link to watch it on-line if you missed it.
It is heartbreaking and mind-boggling to consider that so many of these young men are now in jail or dead due to suicide. The PTSD is evident to all. The men admit to massive drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, domestic violence, etc. What is even more mind-boggling is the interviews with some of the platoon leaders–some of whom are quite matter of fact. Yes, they say, it is bad. But it is part of what we get. Too much demand for soldiers, too few to meet the demand. This equals spending longer rotations in theatre thus more PTSD.
They discuss the amount of psychiatric meds prescribed for these soldiers while in Iraq. While this means they are getting some treatment, others see this as merely allowing them to suffer more damage while still being able to fight the next day.
I’m thankful for my freedom in the US. But never forget the cost. And do remember that few of these men get any decent treatment once they return.