Implement Measure to Reduce Combat Stress
Conditions: You are a leader of a group of Soldiers preparing to enter or already in a combat situation.
Standards: Recognize stress-related behaviors and implement appropriate leader actions that offset and control combat and operational stress reaction risk factors.
Recognize stress-related behaviors.
a. Positive combat stress behaviors. Positive combat stress behaviors include the heightened alertness, strength, endurance, and tolerance to discomfort which the fight or flight stress response and the stage of resistance can produce when properly in tune.
b. Misconduct stress behaviors. These range from minor breaches of unit orders or regulations to serious violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and perhaps the Law of Land Warfare.
c. Combat and operational stress reaction (COSR) (previously called battle fatigue). Some COSR behaviors may accompany excellent combat performance and are often found in heroes. More serious behaviors are warning signs and deserve immediate attention by the leader, medic, or buddy to prevent potential harm to the Soldier, other, or the mission.
d. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, and terrorist incidents. Some people have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the Soldier's daily life.
Combat Stress Behaviors
Positive Combat Stress Behaviors
Loyalty to Buddies
Loyalty to Leader
Identification with Unit Tradition
Sense of being Elite
Sense of Mission
Exceptional Strength and Endurance
Increased Tolerance to Hardship, Discomfort, Pain and injury Sense of Purpose
Heroic Acts- Courage- Self Sacrifice
Misconduct Stress Behaviors and Criminal Acts
Mutilating Enemy Dead
Not Taking Prisoners
Killing Enemy Prisoners
Fighting with Allies
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Looting, Pillage, Rape
Excessively on Sick Calls
Negligent Disease, Injury
Self Inflicted Wounds
Threatening/ Killing own Leaders (Fragging)
Going Absent without Leave, Desertion
Combat and Operational Stress Reaction
Irritability, Anger, Rage
Grief, Self-Doubt, Guilt
Physical Stress Complaints
Loss of Confidence
Loss of Hope and Faith
Impaired Duty Performance
Erratic Actions, Outbursts
Terror, Panic Running
Total Exhaustion, Apathy
Loss of Skills and Memories
Impaired Speech or Muteness
Impaired Vision, Touch, and Hearing
Weakness and Paralysis
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Intrusive Painful Memories
Trouble Sleeping, Bad Dreams
Guilt about Things Done or Not Done
Social Isolation, Withdrawal, Alienation
Jumpiness, Startle Responses, Anxiety
Alcohol or Drug Misuse, Misconduct
Identify COSR risk factors.
Newly assigned to unit
First time in combat, horrors
Lack of mobility
Inability to strike back- indirect fire, improvised explosive devices Information vacuum
Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons threat Sleep loss
Take leader actions to prevent/control COSR.
Integrate unit members; build unit cohesion and pride.