As a special operations soldier, I always held the belief that my fellow operators and I were relatively immune to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when compared with other soldiers. Of course, no one is really immune to such a disorder, but it was so rarely a problem with anyone I worked with, and we talked about it often. After a violent engagement or a traumatic event, we’d briefly discuss the events openly and critically and then move on. We were sensitive to the dangers of mental and emotional problems associated with combat because we had had hours of classes and training on the subject, but it never became a major problem within our units.
Speaking from personal experience, when I was on my very first real combat operation, we became surrounded by enemy forces and took effective and sustained fire. I distinctly remember having a discussion during the engagement with a fellow rookie about how calm we were. I had always expected to have tunnel vision and be so amped that my decisions would be less than clear. That was not at all the case. I was calm and collected and after we returned to base I fell right asleep.
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