Soldiers dealing with emotional scars of war

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)

February 2, 2012 11:06:43 AM PST
In the past month, there have been six suicides and 25 reported cases of spousal abuse at Fort Bragg, prompting a commander to tell troops that the violence has to stop.

The message came during a celebration run involving thousands of soldiers Thursday morning. About 14,000 members of the 18th Airborne Corps celebrated their return from Iraq with the four-mile run.

"It's a good motivator for all the soldiers," SFC Jasen Carrico said. "It definitely helps out with motivation, especially with them coming back ... redeploying. It's a good thing to see all of them together. But best of all to see them all come home safe."

Fort Bragg soldiers had been on the front lines in Iraq since the war began. Recently, Fort Bragg soldiers and their families received great news when the Secretary of Defense announced that combat operations in Afghanistan would end by the middle of next year.

"It's always nice when there is an end in sight," Maj. Heather Lopez said. "For example, on this run you know it's going to end. I think that's good news. I think this war has really put a strain on families."

Officials agree it has been tough on military families.

"We have a problem in our Army, there's no doubt about it," Lt. General Frank Helmick said. "Nobody's sticking their head in the sand and saying we don't have a problem. And that's spouse abuse ... that's suicide ... that's sexual abuse."

Lt. General Helmick said there are more than 400 programs available for soldiers, spouses and their families who need help dealing with the emotions of war. He also said that those programs are available 24-7 and there's no stigma attached to any soldier who comes forward seeking help.

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