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( citizen )

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Marines Can Get Help Through Tough Times

I have wondered if our service men and women are being asked to de-compress in too little time. I remember a friend who had served telling me he was in Viet Nam one day, and a couple days later, was walking down the streets of Phoenix. He heard a bang, the backfire of a bus, and before he knew it, he had thrown his fiance on the ground to protect her.

Taking this a bit further, immediately jumping back into family life, etc., with all the cargo picked up in combat seems unwise.

I remember seeing the Victory at Sea series, where they filmed servicemen on the troop ships and aircraft carriers coming home from WW II. It took about two weeks or more to reach the homeland, and they had nothing to do but be with their buddies, maybe making new friends from other outfits (e.g., "Hey, who's from Philly?" ) But they were shown laughing, unwinding, playing cards, maybe entertaining, maybe even having some boxing matches to settle small scores.

In my mind, they seemed to be having time to decompress, with buddies, who'd shared theirs or a very similar story. Maybe they were able to talk, cry, console, and begin to look ahead in that few days where there was nothing else to do. Maybe even waking up from a terrible nightmare, but having a buddy who'd been there help them through it; experiences few of us can really comprehend. And it probably helped them get some things off their chests. Certainly, we've all heard of those who came home and could never speak of it again.

So, even though we can fly them home in a matter of hours, compared to weeks, I would like to hear from the older generation who may have had that time on the ships. Of course, most couldn't wait to get home. But is that always the best course of action, and best opportunity for recovery? Did it help to have the time to decompress, without having to step immediately into civilian life?

Your thoughts?

November 19, 2009 at 11:18 a.m. ( | suggest removal )