Personal Bias by Military Commanders and their Staff contributes to Active Duty Suicides

When you assume the rank of supervisor within any of the branches of the U. S. Armed Forces beginning at E-4, with it comes the responsibility of troop welfare.  Today, troop welfare has been down-graded on the list of paramount trait required to lead and it appears so far down that list now, many often forget it is even there.  This seems to be the condition that many military commanders and their staff are suffering from right now.  The mission is no longer making sure that their troops are properly prepared and ready to engage at all times, the mission is protecting those in command and the upper echelon from anything that could possibly make waves or result in being skipped over for promotion.  Today, commanders and their staff ignore troop welfare and even troop equipment by concentrating more on troop numbers and anything that will embarrass the command.

Today’s troops cannot be compared to yesterday’s troops because of how much things have changed.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries was once called Shell Shocked and like its predecessor, it was something no one wanted to have or be diagnosed with.  Commands were losing hundreds of bodies via shell shocked and since those bodies were hard to replace, the idea of making it a shameful disorder became the solution.  Today anyone seen seeking medical help regardless of the injury is seen as dodging their responsibilities and trying to get out of something and with all the focus aimed at the troops, many fail to see how command and their staffs were doing the exact same thing of dodging their responsibility of troop welfare and keeping all their troops safe.

The evidence is very plain to see and all one really have to do is listen to those who have attempted to seek treatment for their ailments speak about how their command and it’s staff charged after them as if the unit were headed into battle.  Troop preparation should always be insuring that they are prepared and ready at a moment’s notice; this is no longer the case.  Commands and their staff only see that each troop has a particular job to do and when everyone does their jobs, it makes mission accomplishment easier and greatly reduces the stress and strain on all involved but when one or more is absent or fails to do their part, someone else has to step up causing command great exposure as being ill-prepared which makes any command and their staff look bad.  When a troop faces a traumatic event, their minds kick into high gear and does all that it can to protect the body even if it means walling off part of that event especially if proper training has not been provided.  Now the troop begins to search for something to wrap their minds around what just happened and while doing those others things, even more important things gets dropped or left by the wayside.  Problems and issues mount and they feel as their entire world is spinning out of control.  Instead of command and their staff recognizing this and helping that troop to stop their world from spinning so fast, they add to the speed of that rotation by blindly applying their own personal bias to the rotation.  There’s nothing wrong with him or her, they are just pretending or malingering is the catch phrase. 

Even after a life is now lost because that troop committed suicide and the one group of people that he/she trusted the most wouldn’t even take a few minutes and listen to them, did not even show a modicum of compassion and did nothing more than make fun or bully them into thinking that they were the problem instead of the system.  Now other troops see all this and dive further into the shadow because they do not want command to come down upon them as they saw command come down upon their fellow troop.  Command is so attached to making sure nothing can be traced back to them that they may even be heard saying that as long it is not them or someone in their family.  Unfortunately for the troop that committed suicide, this unit is supposed to be family.  Long after someone having the courage to point this out, the next ignorant excuse for command and their staff is the cost of treatment, prolonging the troops suffering and pushing them closer and closer to choosing suicide as their only option.  If troop welfare is to make a comeback and retake its rightful place high within the responsibilities of command and their staff, it must be realized that the cost of treatment pales in comparison to the cost of a funeral. 


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