Soldiers get help to cope with PTSD

February 6, 2012 3:41:11 PM PST
Local soldiers are learning that there are plenty of resources available to help them when they return home from tours of duty.

Some soldiers are struggling to adjust to life after deployment. It continues to be news not only in the Triangle but across the country.

Authorities in Florida are investigating a murder-suicide over the weekend involving a former member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Staff Sgt. Jason Pemberton was a sniper diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who served three tours of duty in Iraq. Investigators say Pemberton killed his wife and himself in their apartment in Daytona.

That's exactly why pre-deployment fairs like the one held Monday morning for members of the 82nd Airborne's 4th Brigade Combat Team and their families are so important.

About 3,500 members of the unit are expected to pass through the fair before heading to combat in Afghanistan in the coming weeks. It was a chance to talk with a number of agencies on post that provide mental health care and other services for them and their families.

While these soldiers will only be gone for about seven months, not a year like in the past, coming home to the wife and kids can almost be as stressful as being in combat.

"We'll come home and we get so used to doing our jobs 24 hours a day once we're in theater," said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Reynolds. "Then when we get home, we have to assume the father and husband role again and there's an adjustment period for our service members and our family members."

Officials say even though this deployment will be shorter, it will still be intense and tough when the troops return.

Since December, there have been several major violent incidents involving Fort Bragg soldiers -- including suicide, murder-suicide and conflicts with law enforcement agencies.

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