At the end of 2013, I qualified for an intensive, inpatient PTSD program called Warrior Combat Stress RESET Program. Applicants had to undergo extensive testing, interviews, and assessments before being admitted. Reset is an eleven–week intensive outpatient treatment program for the treatment of moderate to severe combat–related Post Traumatic Stress symptoms. Only 10-12 troops are admitted each cycle based on stringent criteria. In other words, the worst of the worst cases. Nearly every Soldier that gets admitted has had at least one suicide attempt or suicidal thought. It also enjoyed a 100% success rate. So, what did the Army do? What it does with every successful program – it cut it.
This program literally saved the lives of Soldiers at the end of their rope. Those that participate have built strong bonds of brotherly love by the time it’s over. The program includes individual and group therapy as well as incorporating “complimentary alternative medicine” (CAM) like yoga, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and reiki to name a few.
While in the program I learned how terrible the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Unit was. In fact, Fort Hood as a whole has been struggling with dealing with troops dealing with their combat experiences and the loss of their brothers in arms. A recent report revealed that the military was more interested in simply discarding troops dealing with PTSD and brain injury than actually help them.
And according to figures acquired by NPR and CPR under the Freedom of Information Act, the Army has been pushing out soldiers diagnosed with mental health problems not just at Fort Carson but at bases across the country.
The figures show that since January 2009, the Army has “separated” 22,000 soldiers for “misconduct” after they came back from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries. As a result, many of the dismissed soldiers have not received crucial retirement and health care benefits that soldiers receive with an honorable discharge.
Even though Ft. Hood is the third largest base, it is at the top of the list of most troops discharged. The post is extremely hostile towards Soldiers strong enough to seek treatment. It doesn’t matter one’s rank. They treat officers as bad and the enlisted troops – probably even worse.
Oh, how the Army has fallen since the days of Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Peter Chiarelli took on the task of removing the stigma. Unfortunately, the stigma has never been greater than it is today.