Fort Bragg spouses join soldiers to cope with stresses of military life

Fort Bragg spouses are included in resilience training to help families deal with the stress of military life.
March 28, 2014 12:33:32 PM PDT
For the first time, Fort Bragg spouses are included in resilience training to help families deal with the stress of military life.

The ten-day Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness training has been offered to soldiers since 2009. In 2012, the Army conducted pilot programs at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Fort Carson, Colorado to include spouses. The success prompted Fort Bragg's CSF2 Training Center to extend counseling to spouses this year.

"The Army is our life and it's a lifestyle," said Army spouse, Emily Damboise. "So it's showing that hey-we need to help each other, we understand what you're going through and we want to help you understand what you're going through."

The training focuses on everything from marriages to finances and dealing with multiple deployments.

"To be able to go through basically two wars and all the fighting and all the constant deployments, it's hard on you as well as your family," said Master Sergeant Shaun Witcher. "So having a course like this kind of helps you take a step back, and helps you deal with not only on the battlefield, but at home, also.

"Sometimes we're de-sensitized and we're used to deployments, which we don't want," Damboise added. "One thing we talk about here is hunting the good stuff and maybe it's the smallest thing, but if it's that smallest thing that puts a smile on your face, even if it's just for ten seconds, that makes a huge affect on you."

Damboise's husband, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chuck Damboise, has been deployed three times in recent years. Throughout their marriage, Damboise said she has enjoyed what the opportunities the military offers, but recognizes the toll it takes on spouses.

"We move around, we get separated from our families, and our husbands-it's easy for them," she said. "They go to work and they make friends. For us it's different."

For Shawn Marshall, military life has taken on a whole new meaning since 2012.

"I'm the only man in a group of 30 women, so I'm learning a lot," he laughed.

Marshall is medically- retired Sergeant Marshall. After 16 years of service, he now plays full-time Dad, and support for his soldier wife who is stationed at Fort Bragg. Resilience training, he said, has proven a crucial element of healthy living for soldiers and spouses.

"I think it could have saved a lot of lives, if it was given to us like, not only as a spouse, but as a soldier, many years back," he said.

The Fort Bragg CSF2 Training Center plans to extend the program to teens this summer, focusing on efforts to help military children cope with their own stresses related to the service.

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