Monday, July 20, 2009

Study Examines Murders Tied To Army Post

There's a study making the news that examines the link between a Fort Carson based Army unit and several murders committed by members of that unit.
The report, commissioned by commanders last year after six 4th Brigade Combat Team soldiers were charged in murders in a 12-month period, says combat stress, and mental health issues found in the bulk of soldiers-turned-killers combined with a cocktail of substance abuse issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, that wasn't consistently addressed.

It will result in increased screening for soldiers who show signs of trouble, policy changes and a series of Army studies at Fort Carson and elsewhere to better determine what eight years of war have done to troops. But the study reached no conclusions that showed a direct cause-and-effect relationship that led to the killings.

Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, said while no one factor accounts for the violence, several causes contributed to the cluster, including substance abuse, mental illness and failures of leadership.

"Those three in combination are a really toxic mix," he said at a Fort Carson news conference. Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

The entire 126 page report can be found here. This has implications for us here in Bell County as a huge number of soldiers from Fort Hood have deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we doing enough for our soldiers when they return?

While the report found fault with commanders, particularly in failing to get help for soldiers for drug abuse and mental illness, the study itself will not result in any disciplinary action. Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

Often times, the warning signs are when soldiers get in trouble for minor offenses related to substance abuse. Is your agency communicating effectively with Fort Hood to ensure that they are aware of these minor incidents if they occur in your city? The Army can't help these soldiers if they aren't aware of their problems.

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