Military personnel and their families have been under a tremendous level of stress since 2003. With many active-duty and reserve service members having completed multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the associated trauma may have left lifelong psychological scars. Of similar and equal concern, pressures related to ongoing military operations in U.S. Central Command and the Horn of Africa, humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief missions such as those in response to Hurricane Katrina in Haiti, and the 2011 tsunami in Japan, added to our normal support of allies and trading partners, have led to an increased operational tempo unparalleled since World War II. To further complicate matters, many Navy operational commands are chronically undermanned, due in part to unplanned losses and combat support through individual-augmentee programs.
Navigating Operational Stress
Navy leadership must foster an environment in which it’s OK to seek help when problems are overwhelming.
By Captain Lori Laraway, Nurse Corps, U.S. Navy; and Captains James Need and Gregory A. Harris, Medical Service Corps, and Senior Chief Brett Darnell, U.S. Navy (Retired)