What happens when you deploy troops who have seen high intensity combat time and time again with inadequate dwell time between tours? You see skyrocketing mental health issues.
After months of investigative work, talking to our troops and veterans, we released a report on the situation at Fort Drum in Watertown, New York. Since 9/11, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team has been deployed for more than forty months, more than any other brigade in the Army, and we are seeing what is nothing short of a cry for help from the men and women on the base; a cry we will answer for the National Guard and Reserve troops here in Iowa as well.
A cry for help that is also coming from the leadership on the base. In a New York Times article today about our report, Major General Michael Oates, commander of the 10th Mountain Division, says: “We recognize that there is stress on our force and their families from this conflict, but until recently, we have not fully appreciated the extent of some of the mental stresses and injuries or how to best identify them.” Please read the rest of the article here.
What is happening at Fort Drum — with Soldiers still on active duty suffering from PTSD, with Soldiers and their families in need of counseling, with Soldiers literally dying while still on duty — is going to happen all around America unless we begin to address some of the basic issues of this war. As our report explains, DoD itself has stated that the likelihood of troops having mental health problems increases by 60% with every tour of duty. So, in short, through ourdeployment policies, we are consciously compounding the wounds of war.
This is unacceptable to us. Veterans for America's Wounded Warrior Outreach Program will continue to address these problems from the bottom up.
We are going to go to as many bases as we can afford to go to, see what is happening on those bases and see how we can help. If you can help us, we would greatly appreciate it.
We are going to continue our Wounded Warrior Registry Outreach — if you or someone you know needs help getting help with PTSD or TBI, please click here.
And above all, we are going to continue to serve and help those that serve and have served us with the same level of dedication and courage they have shown. Click here to learn more about what we are doing.