Army to teach soldiers, families to spot psychiatric injuries
Denver, Aug. 11 (AP): The US Army has launched a nationwide program to teach soldiers and their families how to identify signs of possible psychiatric injuries suffered in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars that may have gone unnoticed.
The Army is responding to widespread reports that soldiers returning from duty with mild brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder were treated as malingerers or unfairly dismissed from the service.
The training program, called "chain-teaching", was implemented last week at the Pentagon and is intended to reach all active-duty soldiers and reservists within 90 days.
Fort Carson officials plan to discuss the program with media Tuesday, base spokesman Capt Gregory Dorman said.
The military has acknowledged facing an unprecedented problem, and said that even with the best treatment and preparation, some soldiers will suffer lifelong mental injuries.
"At no time in our military history have soldiers or Marines been required to serve on the front line in any war for a period of 6-7 months, let alone a year, without a significant break in order to recover from the physical, psychological, and emotional demands that ensue from combat," a military report released in May said.
Previously, the draft had guaranteed commanders had replacements for those who had spent considerable time in combat.
Capt Scot Tebo, surgeon for the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, said the goal is to identify soldiers with problems as soon as possible so treatment can begin.