Free Report on the Readjustment Needs of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans

oef oif hat


An article in the most recent issue of the Marine Corps Times referenced a new report on assessing the readjustment needs of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The report is titled Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families, and is published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The Marine Corps Times story linked to above bullet points some of the recommendations in the report. I haven’t had a chance to read the report yet, but wanted to share the find here for anyone else interested. Clicking on the graphic below will take you to the NAS website where you can read the report online in sections, or download it in PDF format.


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Free Treatment Manual for War-Related PTSD

War-Related PTSD Treatment Manual

For any interested readers, I came across a free treatment manual for war-related PTSD. The manual was written by an active duty Navy psychologist who has experience providing services at a Combat Stress Control clinic in Camp Fallujah, Iraq. The manual is written for clients to use with a treatment provider, but it’s a good look at the treatment process for anyone interested in the issue.

Click here to for the manual’s about page.

Click here for the manual’s download link.


And, while not directly related to the treatment manual, here’s a brief random clip on an Army Combat Stress Control unit in Afghanistan:


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Planning on doing clinical work with OEF/OIF veterans and their families? Watch this.

A friend of mine who is an Army combat veteran and who is now pursuing a clinical psychology doctorate sent me the video posted below. The video is a great watch for anyone going into or already in the clinical field that may be working with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. Some of what’s covered is essentially post-deployment 101 and couples therapy for veterans and their spouses 101.

The entire video is almost an hour long, so a bit of an attention span is required.

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I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor

Laraugh shared the video below with me last night, and it was too good not to post here. Lots of badassery contained therein for anyone in the teaching field.

Taylor Mali on “What Teachers Make”:

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Moving Through the Hard Veins of Heavy Mountains

It’s possible I’m moving through the hard veins
of heavy mountains, like the ore does, alone;
I’m already so deep inside, I see no end in sight,
and no distance: everything is getting near
and everything getting near is turning to stone.

I still can’t see very far yet into suffering, —
so this vast darkness makes me small;
are you the one: make yourself powerful, break in:
so that your whole being may happen to me,
and to you may happen, my whole cry.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours

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Fear in it’s Purest Form


Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army’s Flikr Photostream

I decided to push myself away from the qualitative research textbooks I’ve been nerding out on and break in the Kindle my girls got me for Christmas with some “recreational” reading. And, of course, I didn’t stray too far from the themes surrounding my thesis that I’ve been digging into.

The guys over at On Violence have a running series on war memoirs that I’ve been following. One of the top  picks they suggested was The War I Always Wanted, by Brandon Friedman. I’m just a little way into the book and the writing has really grabbed me. The start of the book has Friedman staging as part of the invasion force into Iraq in 2003, having already served a tour in Afghanistan. He rolls out of the gates from Camp New Jersey, Kuwait in his Humvee when the air raid sirens start wailing and a call comes across the radio saying there’s an Iraqi rocket inbound. The rules say Friedman is supposed to dismount his truck and take cover – somewhere – but all of the previous air raid warnings have been anticlimactic. He just hops out of his truck and stands out in the open waiting for the sirens to stop so they can start moving again. This time, though, is a little different. Here’s some great writing:

And then, with sirens singing in the distance, it hit with a dull whoomp. It was far enough away that I didn’t see it come in; it was near enough to have gotten my full attention.

The old pang of fear was back. I was being targeted. It is a queasy feeling, unlike anything else, and it comes in waves. Spend enough time in a war and you will become familiar with it. You’ll feel it eat slowly at your mind like battery acid, corroding more and more each day.

Before the wars, I had always been afraid of things like failing a test in school. Or that I’d be late. I was afraid that people at the party would think I looked stupid, or that I’d say something stupid. I was afraid that, when I left the bar, I’d find my car window broken and all my CDs gone.

But fear in war is not like that. This is the type of fear that only comes when you know your life could end at any moment, and you’d never see it coming. This is fear in its purest form.

And it ends up staying with you, too. Because even when the war is over for you, and you’re back at home with your family and you no longer fall asleep to the sound of cascading gunfire, that’s when you’ll notice just how uncomfortable you are when there is seemingly nothing out there in the darkness of which to be afraid. 

That last sentence is powerful (emphasis added).


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Proud to be a Grunt

Providing security

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army’s Flikr photostream

Since I’ve been using the holiday break to do some planning of my masters thesis my reticular activating system has been pinging across the Interwebz for anything related to what my thesis work is going to be on. Rather than just splash the links of interest I find on my Facebook wall like I usually do, I thought I’d start posting what I find here with a little commentary to help organize my thinking as I go, and just maybe get the ‘ol blog reinvigorated a bit.

My thesis work is going to look at the decision-making involved with men who specifically chose the infantry as a military occupational specialty – how the decision developed, why they chose the infantry, and what their service as infantrymen meant to them. The topic will pull together interests I have in counseling, vocational, and military psychology. My methodological approach will be qualitative, which requires a lot of self-reflection in the process. So, the series of posts about my thesis will be a means to self-reflecticate and think out loud as I go.

To start things off, the video embedded below is an MSNBC segment on a guy in his mid-thirties who took a hit from the recession and decided to fulfill a life-long desire to be a soldier. He joined the Army, got assigned to a Cav unit as an infantryman – more affectionally known as a “grunt” – and is on his first combat deployment in Afghanistan. There’s a lot working in the segment that I want to learn more about: occupational choice, wanting to fulfill a sense of service, a person feeling “called” to a certain role, military culture, etc.

Enjoy the vid!


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Mine be a handful of ashes…

English axe and spearmen stand against a Norman cavalry charge. From the Bayeaux Tapestry, depicting events from the Battle of Hastings, circa 1066 AD

I discovered the following poem while doing some reading recommended to me for my thesis project idea(s):

A Consecration

Not of the princes and prelates with periwigged charioteers
Riding triumphantly laureled to lap the fat of the years,
Rather the scorned — the rejected — the men hemmed in with spears;

The men in tattered battalion which fights till it dies,
Dazed with the dust of the batlle, the din and the cries,
The men with the broken heads and the blood running into their eyes.

Not the be-medalled Commander, beloved of the throne,
Riding cock-horse to parade when the bugles are blown,
But the lads who carried the hill and cannot be known.

Others may sing of the wine and the wealth and the mirth,
The portly presence of potentates goodly in girth; —
Mine be the dirt and the dross, the dust and scum of the earth!

Theirs be the music, the colour, the glory, the gold;
Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould.
Of the maimed, of the halt and the blind in the rain and the cold —

Of these shall my songs be fashioned, my tale be told. Amen.

John Masefield

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The Best Kinds of Presents

Found this on my desk from Super Kate:

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William Gibson on Self-Diagnosing Depression

Gibson on depression

Update: After seeing this my oldest daughter added that we should also make sure that we are not, in fact, being assholes ourselves and contributing to the problem. An important point.

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