The media continually reports stories concerning returning soldiers and Marines who have been traumatized by the experience of repeated tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. Their story of pain is not new, everyone knows what they have experienced but there appears to be a gap between knowledge and action. The family of Cpl. Chad Oligschaeger, who was found dead in the barracks while awaiting discharge, are upset at the failure to supervise a young man who apparently was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He had come back from two tours with nightmares and feelings of blame for the death of others. He was diagnosed with PTSD and placed on medications, but then the gap between awareness of his problems and action widened and most probably was a factor in his death.
The family complaints mirror those of many others who are concerned about breakdowns in the military in treating PTSD. Cpl. Oligschiaeger said he would not re-enlist and was then allowed to remain in the barracks for days on end without any supervision or interactions with medical staff. He called home a few times and appeared confused about the medications he was supposed to be taking. His family is upset that he remained alone while in mental pain.
Recently, President Bush said he was mainly sorry for his choice of words in discussing the war in Iraq. Perhaps, if he was as concerned about the effect of two or three tours of duty on the minds of brave military personnel, he might have more regrets about the invasion of Iraq.