America’s wars in the Middle East stretch over twenty years, involving millions of service members and their families. It has been well-documented that many of the troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are returning with an array of physical and psychological trauma. Many families are overjoyed to be reunited after months of separation, but some encounter stark personality differences and marital struggles that did not exist before deployment.
This is especially characteristic of the Special Operations Command, whose troops are deployed more often and into more dangerous combat zones than many of the standard combat troops overseas. These highly trained troops are used to their fullest capacity in some of the most intense conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which certainly has taken a toll on the special operations community.
Rampant cases of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and suicide have become more prevalent in the last two years as the United States slowly extricates itself from Afghanistan. The New York Times says 49 Special Operations troops have committed suicide in the last two years, which far surpasses the rate for the rest of the active duty ranks.
These are Americans with a wide range of talents and particular skills that few civilians possess, but many of our troops are hampered by the mental and physical wounds inflicted during service and need support. We want to see these individuals succeed as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and professionals-that is what they deserve. Does the change begin at the highest levels of government, within individual units, or in the privacy of the home? What do you think is necessary for the mental health and family stability these servicemen and women deserve?
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