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  • Chaplain Working Group Tackles Tough Warfighter Issues

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    If the idea of chaplains getting together to discuss their interests makes you think of genteel spiritual conversations, consider the topic discussed at the August bimonthly teleconference of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Chaplain Working Group — combat and killing in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and spiritual distress.

    The Chaplain Working Group routinely delves into spiritual and behavioral conflicts arising from deployment. It’s the nature of their calling that chaplains grapple with difficult issues, and the nature of war that military chaplains must address constructs that deeply challenge common beliefs. One such example is that spiritual health, behavioral health and the use of deadly force are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

  • National POW/MIA Recognition Day: Unity over Self

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    The National League of POW/MIA Families flag

    Normally, I am not a betting man. However, I think it’s safe to wager that many of us are thankful today is Friday. TGIF is a sentiment most of us can relate to and you have probably thought it to yourself or said it aloud more than once on any one of the 54 Fridays during the past 372 days since the last third Friday in September. But for many, today is only one day out of a thousand stretched into years when our nation’s prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) are remembered.

    In honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we unite as a country to pay tribute to America’s POW/MIA and to those who’ve never lost faith, echoing the intent of the day — “You Are Not Forgotten.” The day serves as a stark reminder of the sacrifices made on behalf of our nation, and also a day marked with hope.

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  • ‘Military Medicine’ Supplement Focuses on Psychological Health, TBI

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    DCoE develops special medical journal supplement to highlight advances in psychological health and TBI. (DCoE photo)

    What’s the impact of multiple deployments and repeated traumatic stressors on service members? Why are a significant number of military personnel experiencing psychological injuries following their deployments? What treatment options are available? What’s being done to help advance the field of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health?

    If these questions are on your mind, consider reading the special edition of “Military Medicine.” Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) subject matter experts and others share updated research to better understand current psychological health and TBI conditions affecting the health, occupational and personal functioning of service members and veterans. Published by The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), the journal identifies effective screening tools, diagnostic technologies and treatments for major areas of concern like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance use disorder and TBI.

  • DCoE Director Shares Air Force Birthday Message

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen

    Most of us are able to easily answer the question, “Where are you from?” However, for some it can be a bit more difficult. Many of us who have trouble answering the question have developed a default reply over the years.

    When I’m asked, “Where are you from,” I am proud to say that I was an Air Force brat and grew up all over (yes, this is my default reply). Growing up, I wasn’t fully aware of what my dad did or why. My dad was a fighter pilot and, like many other military kids, I attended multiple schools and identified more with my family than with the locale.

    In 1966 my dad went to Vietnam. Although he was a fighter pilot by training, he was assigned to a forward air control (FAC) squadron. As part of a FAC in Vietnam, he flew around in this dinky little Piper Cub-like airplane, dropped smoke and directed airstrikes in support of Army ground troops.

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  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: How Well You Perform Physically May Depend on How Fit You are Mentally

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    U.S. Army photo by Spc. De’Yonte Mosley

    Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.

    When most people hear the words “psychologist,” “mental health” or “shrink,” they think “mental illness.” After all, why should you talk to those guys unless you have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression? It’s unfortunate that some people think that way, because in addition to helping with serious conditions like PTSD and depression, behavioral health specialists can offer much more. A big part of psychology concerns itself with improving physical performance.

  • 9/11: Remember Past, Honor Present, Cherish Future

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    U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Tom Jones

    Each generation of Americans witness, and some personally experience, “a date which will live in infamy.” These specific moments are etched in our minds and in the history of our country. They are periods of time recalled in an instant, by some more vividly than others. Where we were, what we were doing, what we were feeling — these powerful shared experiences bond each generation with the next.

    Generations were witness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life, and the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Never forgotten, always remembered.