The Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton observes “Combat Operational Stress Awareness Month” for the fifth consecutive years. Military service members were given resource and information through the Combat Operational Stress booth at an entrance to Pendleton’s Marine Corps Exchange on June 15 as part of an initiative to shed light on Combat Operational Stress.
Christopher Lawrence, outreach coordinator and group facilitator with the Veterans Village of San Diego – Warrior Traditions Program, attests that during overseas deployment operations, service members are exposed to different physical and emotional risks that can get in the way of thinking which may particularly be counter-productive to life in non-combative environment. Lawrence himself experienced the stress that comes with being in the military while he was deployed to Iraq. His deployment came to an abrupt halt after an improvised explosive device detonated during a dismount patrol operation, wounding him.
Lawrence, said “When you come back (to the United States) you don’t always need your guard up. Getting appropriate counseling from people that understand and are experienced with (COS) can help teach you when to turn the switch on or off.”
Following the release of the Marine Administrative message 597/11, battalion-sized units are mandated to implement Operation Stress Control and Readiness “OSCAR” training to help build teams of Marine leaders, religious ministry personnel, and medical professionals.
Julian Garibay, the combat and operations stress control program specialist with I Marine Expeditionary Force, said that the OSCAR team prepares unit leaders and mentors to prevent, identify and manage COS (Combat Operation Stress) among subordinates as early as possible.
To obtain additional information about combat operational stress, service members and their families may contact the following:
DSTRESS Hotline (877) 476-7734
Marine & Family Services Counseling Services (760) 725-9051
Camp Pendleton Deployment Health Clinic (760) 763-6483/1603
Military One Source (800) 342-9647 or militaryonesource.com