Showing posts with label General George Casey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General George Casey. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For military For families, toughest times may lie ahead

I used to post on Military Spouses for Change, later changed to Military Spouses of America. It wasn't that I experienced what they are going thru now that I wanted to share what I know, but for the sake of what they will face tomorrow when their husbands and wives turn from "troop" to veteran. I figured it this way. If they can last through deployments and redeployments, their marriages have a fighting chance but unless they understood fully what can come home with them, there was little hope of hanging onto even a strong marriage.

For families, toughest times may lie ahead

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jun 3, 2009 19:55:06 EDT

The wife of the Army chief of staff warned Wednesday that the worst problems for military families may lie ahead.

Sheila Casey, the wife of Army Gen. George Casey Jr., said in testimony before a Senate panel that military families are tough and generally resilient, but the cumulative effects of eight years of war are showing.

“Families are stretched and stressed,” she said. “I often refer to them as the most brittle part of the force. ... We can no longer ask them to make the best of it.”
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For families, toughest times may lie ahead

What ended up happening is that no matter how much I posted and shared what I knew, they would end up responding with they didn't need more things to worry about. Frustrating beyond belief because there I was ready to hand then over 27 years of knowledge gained the hard way and make it easy on them, but they wanted no part of it.

No hard feelings considering I knew exactly why they didn't want to know. Neither did I. I didn't have a military marriage. I had a veteran marriage. In the beginning of learning what PTSD was and what it did, I regretted looking at what could happen when the worst was finally sinking in my brain. Back then my husband's PTSD was mild. Thinking about what the future could hold scared the hell out of me. Then I knew that if I understood it, I'd know what to do and how to deal with it. So I grabbed everything I could from book stores, bought any magazine with Vietnam stories in it and went to the library to read about ancient warfare and this wound of the centuries. I knew whatever I learned, I was preparing for a battle of my own and I was armed and ready.

Now I try to tell the wives and husbands of today's warriors to prepare for their own battle. While some will take away what I have to share too many others walk away. They just don't want to know. If they think it is hard now, they will be shocked for what can come after and my heart breaks for them. Too many of them will see their marriages end needlessly. I'm glad that Casey's wife is trying to wake them up. I really hope she succeeds because I failed miserably doing it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness will make it worse

General Casey, now hear this, you cannot, repeat, cannot train your brain to prevent PTSD and until you understand this "Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience." does not equal the cause of PTSD, you will keep making it worse! Did the rise in suicides and attempted suicides offer you no clue that Battlemind didn't work? Apparently something told you it didn't or you'd still be pushing this. When you have a program in place to "train them to be resilient" beginning with telling them if they do not, it's their fault, what the hell did you and the other brass expect? Did you think they would listen to the rest of what the Battlemind program had to say to them? Are you out of your mind?

With all due respect, because I do believe you care about the men and women you command, this is just one more in a series of mistakes because it seems no one in the Pentagon or the upper rows of the food chain have a clue what causes PTSD.

While adversity does make some stronger, you cannot train them to do it. Life and character does that quite effectively on their own. Some will walk away stronger after traumatic events but one out of three humans will not. Some experts put the rate at one out of five walk away wounded but the best experts I've listened to since 1982 have put it at one out of three.

Do you think that this man could have "trained his brain" as well?
UK:WWII veteran finally diagnosed with PTSD
A D-DAY hero has been told he is suffering a stress related illness picked up in battle — 65 years AFTER he was the first Brit to storm an enemy beach.

WWII vet George McMahon, who was the first soldier on Sword Beach in Normandy, France, had revealed he is still suffering terrifying flashbacks from June 6, 1944.

And Army docs have told the 89-year-old war hero he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) picked up during WWII.

Mr McMahon's family first sought help from docs when the ex-soldier talked vividly about the war in the lead-up to the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr McMahon of Kirk Ella, Hull, was then visited by the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency — part of the Ministry of Defence — who said he was displaying PTSD symptoms.

The Scotland-born Army vet who served with The King's Regiment Army was awarded the Military Cross for storming two machine-guns.

Back then there were plenty of excuses to use for what happened to veterans but after Vietnam veterans came home and forced the wound to be treated, we ran out of excuses. How can you continue to dismiss what is so obvious? It is the nature of man, what is in their core, their empathy for others that is at the root of PTSD. I've talked to them long enough and enough of them to have understood this over 20 years ago. I also live with one.

I'm sick and tired of reading about what does not work being repeated. In all these years, people like me have already learned from the mistakes we made trying to help our husbands and others. To us, it wasn't a numbers game or a research project. This has meant our lives and the lives of the men we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. Aside from that General Casey, I've spent countless hours attempting to undo the damage done because the troops are not being told what they need to hear in the first place.

I've held Marines in my arms crying because the military told them they were not strong enough and National Guardsmen told they were not cut out for combat. All of this because the military has been telling them it's their fault they didn't work hard enough to toughen their brains.

How many more suicides are you willing to live with? Has it not gotten thru to you yet that you are losing more men and women after combat than you do during it? This is only part of it because I doubt you have considered how many have committed suicide and tried it after they were discharged. You cannot order them to stop caring! You cannot order them to become callous or oblivious to the suffering of others. Between the members of their own unit to the innocent civilians that do end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, you cannot seriously expect them to just "get over it" and "toughen" their brains. These men and women walk away with their own pain compounded by the pain of others. This is what opens the door to PTSD and until you understand this is what the difference is, you will never get close enough to finding the best treatment for it and they will continue to pay for it.

Ever notice the vast majority of the men and women you command end up carrying out the mission they are given, fighting fiercely and showing great courage even though they are already carrying the wound inside of them? They fulfill their duty despite flashbacks and nightmares draining them because their duty comes first to them. Do you understand how much that takes for them to do that? Yet you think telling them their minds are not tough enough will solve the problem? What kind of a tough mind do you think they needed to have to fight on despite this killing pain inside of them?

I fully understand to you, I'm no one. I have been ignored by senators and congressmen, doctors and other brass for as long as I've been trying to help, so you are not the first. I've also been listened to by others trying to think outside the box, but more importantly to me, by the men and women seeking my help to understand this and their families. I tell them what you should have been telling them all along so that they know it's not their fault, they did not lack courage and they are not responsible for being wounded any more than they would have been to have been found by a bullet with their name on it.

If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.

Army Launching Program To Train Soldiers To Combat Post-Traumatic Stress
Sam Stein HuffPost Reporting

Faced with a growing number of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cases in the armed forces, the U.S. Army will begin a program this summer to proactively address the problem by focusing on building the mental resilience of its personnel.

In a speech before the international affairs organization the Atlantic Council on Thursday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey laid out the virtues of the newly formed initiative, which he called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

"We have been looking very hard at ways to develop coping skills and resilience in soldiers, and we will be coming out in July with a new program called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness," said Casey. "And what we will attempt to do is raise mental fitness to the same level that we now give to physical fitness. Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience."

"The whole idea here is to give soldiers the skills they need to increase their resilience and enhance their performance," he went on. "A lot of people think that everybody who goes to combat gets post-traumatic stress. That's not true. Everybody that goes to combat gets stressed. There is no doubt about it. But the vast majority of people who go to combat have a growth experience because they are exposed to something very, very difficult and they prevail. So the issue for us is how do we give more people the skills so that more people have a growth experience... We thought it was important to get started on this because everything else involves you treating the problem. We need to be more proactive."
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Army Launching Program To Train Soldiers To Combat Post-Traumatic Stress

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. seems to have a problem when it comes to PTSD

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. seems to have a problem when it comes to PTSD.

This is a quote from him. I read it yesterday but didn't post about it because I needed time to think about what this was actually saying.
"There's a common misconception," he said. "A lot of people think everyone that goes to combat gets post-traumatic stress syndrome." Not true, said Casey. All soldiers are stressed, but most succeed in difficult circumstances and it makes them stronger.

"Makes them stronger?" Does this mean he thinks if they end up wounded by PTSD they are suddenly weak? Does he have a clue what PTSD is or what causes it or what it actually does to the wounded? Does he think if someone has a bullet hole they are weak? If they loose a limb they are weak?

I don't know who he has been talking to or what he's been reading but it's clear Casey doesn't know many PTSD veterans.

They are not wounded after they come home and are safe. They are wounded in combat, when their lives are in danger and the lives of their friends. Yet what do they do after being wounded? Do they suddenly say they want to go home because they are not strong enough to finish the fight they are engaged in, the same fight causing the wound? No. They finish the fight because they are needed. Does he know what kind of strength that takes to do that?

They finish their tours after most of the time they stuff the pain, they push on past the nightmares and flashbacks because they are needed. It is not until they and their friends are out of danger before they allow themselves to acknowledge the pain inside of them. Does Casey understand this?

The redeployments have been happening as they are coming to understanding the gravity of the wound inside of them, yet they still go back. Does he know what kind of strength that takes?

Stronger? I have never met such fine men and women in my life than the veterans of combat carrying this wound inside of them. Their strength, commitment, integrity and courage is a testament to their character. They cared more about the people they served with than they did for themselves! If Casey understood them, he'd know that. They didn't walk away with just their own pain but the pain they felt from everyone around them. The fallen, they carried with them. The physically wounded, they carried with them. The weight of the world came crashing down on them but they held up and stood strong putting the mission and those they served with above all else. They were not weakened by this wound but showed over and over again exactly how strong they were because they did it all after being wounded.

PTSD does not mean a veteran is weak and it's time people in leadership positions understood this. PTSD comes from being a sensitive person able to feel deeply. That same place where compassion lives offers the courage to act on that compassion. It is what allows a simple human to rush out to save someone else. It is that same compassion that allows them to run into where everyone else is running away from. We see it in police officers running to save lives. We see it in firefighters rushing into burning buildings. Above all, we see it in the men and women willing to lay down their lives for the sake of this nation they serve. The men and women wounded by PTSD are not weaker simply because their hearts are stronger and feel more than others.

If Casey wants to see true strength and courage, let him see a PTSD veteran get up every morning after another night of nightmares so real it takes them time to understand they are in their own home. Let him see them overcome people with no understanding of "who" they are inside and still find the courage to look them in the eye and say, "I have PTSD" when all other generations of combat veterans also had it but were too afraid to speak of it. Let him see the strength of the veterans from Vietnam so courageous to overcome their own pain for the sake of others that they devote the rest of their lives helping them.

General Casey has a lot to learn but his ignorance of what PTSD is at this point when we knew what it was in 1978 is truly appalling. Men like him are under the truly idiotic thought that people can "prepare" or "strengthen" their brains to prevent PTSD. They can't understand that while it does change how the brain works, it has nothing to do with the brain itself. It comes from an outside force and it is a wound striking the soul. They will never, ever, be able to take care of the wounded until they understand it. After all these years you would think they would be a lot closer to accomplishing that but they have their priorities and this is not one of them for far too many.

Casey: Army wants to give more time at home
May 7, 2009 - 8:01 PM
Soldiers' families can look forward to their warriors being home for longer periods between deployments, maybe, hopefully, in a few more years.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. visited Fort Carson on Thursday.

He met with soldiers' spouses to hear their concerns, and said his top priority is to give troops more time at home to bring balance back to the force. His goal is nine-month deployments sandwiched between two years at home.

But there's no hope to achieve that, he said, until the troop drawdown in Iraq begins in 12 to 18 months, and even then only if the situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan don't demand more troops than are already accounted for.

Casey didn't mince words. He said the Army is out of balance, deployments are too long and too often, and that seven years of war have taken a toll on soldiers and families.

On the plus side of the ledger, Army recruiting numbers have been strong, said several Army sources, helped along by a rotten economy. Coupled with fewer troops in Iraq, this should spell relief unless world events dictate otherwise. click link for more

Monday, November 17, 2008

General Says Health Care Level Improving, But Still Needs More

Army Chief Of Staff Presents Purple Hearts In SA - San Antonio,TX,USA

General Says Health Care Level Improving, But Still Needs More

POSTED: 4:52 pm CST November 17, 2008
SAN ANTONIO -- While much has been done to improve the level of care for wounded military members, some issues still remain, said the U.S. Army's highest-ranking officer.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the current chief of staff of the Army and former commander of multi-national forces in Iraq was in San Antonio on Monday to bestow the Purple Heart on two Army specialists injured while serving in Iraq.

Casey Jr. said the Army has multiple conflicts when dealing with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injuries among its ranks.
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Gen. George Casey said "Soldiers need more time at home"

Two points that need to be remembered here. During the presidential campaign, there were a lot of veterans upset saying they heard Senator Obama wanted to cut the size of the military because he wants to cut the budget. They wouldn't listen. The size of the Army alone is going to increase. The spending cuts are to stop spending money that does not need to be spent, as in the case of contractors in Iraq and their cost plus billing and other waste. The other part is that this is not the first time longer dwell time has been talked about. Congress held hearings on this two years ago but not much has been done to do it.

Casey: Soldiers need more time at home

By MICHELLE ROBERTS - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Nov 17, 2008 16:39:30 EST

SAN ANTONIO — After years of longer and more frequent deployments, soldiers should get more time at home as long as overall demand for troops overseas holds steady, the Army chief of staff said Monday.

Increasing the time troops have at home is probably the most important element for readying them for future assignments, said Gen. George Casey during a news conference after a Purple Heart ceremony.

With the size of the Army growing and demand holding steady, soldiers should get nearly 18 months at home starting next year. By 2011, they should get two years at home to undergo more training and spend time with their families, Casey said.

Soldiers and their families have been strained by 15-month deployments ordered as part of the surge in Iraq. Some have been getting less than a year at home between deployments and are on their second or third tour.

A reduction to yearlong deployments and the planned growth in troops should give soldiers more time away from the battlefield, Casey said. The Army plans to add 74,000 troops by 2011.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gen. Casey "we can fix ourselves over the next 3 to 4 years"

“If we get the resources in a timely, predictable fashion, we believe we can fix ourselves over the next three to four years.”

Casey: Move to shorter tours ‘has to happen’

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 27, 2008 17:41:55 EST

The Army’s chief of staff reiterated his commitment to shortening combat tours in Iraq to 12 months to a Senate panel Wednesday, stressing that current 15-month deployments are “just not sustainable.”

Echoing comments he made Tuesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. George Casey told Appropriations Committee members the Army is out of balance from more than six years of war and back-to-back deployments.

Casey told lawmakers that the service hopes to begin restoring that balance in July when he expects the demand for forces to decrease.

“That has to happen,” he said Wednesday at a fiscal 2009 budget overview hearing on Capital Hill. “Soldiers and leaders need to see that over time they won’t be deploying for 15 months and home for 12.”

Casey, who was the top U.S. commander in Iraq before taking the chief of staff job last spring, told lawmakers that cutting the time soldiers spend in combat is an integral part of reducing the stress on the force.

He said he anticipates the service can cut combat tours from 15 months to 12 months this summer, as long as the president reduces the number of active-duty Army brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan to 15 units by July, as planned.
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God help the troops survive all this. The redeployments increase the risk of PTSD by 50%, yet they keep sending them back over and over again. Not enough time between deployments increases the risk and puts a bigger burden on the families. How long can this go on?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"People aren't designed to be exposed to the horrors of combat repeatedly"

Casey: Deployments strain Army recruiting, retention

By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The stress of repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan is beginning to show in the declining quality of Army recruits, retention of midlevel officers, desertions and other factors such as suicide, the Army's top general said Tuesday.

Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said his primary concern is the loss of captains. The Army invests about 10 years to develop them. An effort in the fall of 2007 to entice 14,000 of them to extend their commitments fell short by about 1,300, he said.

"People aren't designed to be exposed to the horrors of combat repeatedly, and it wears on them," Casey said. "There's no question about that."

Casey commanded U.S. troops in Iraq from 2004 to 2007. Since taking the Army's top post, he has spoken about the stress of repeated deployments. He highlighted some trends that show deepening strains.
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