The United States Army Medical Department (AMEDD), which was established in 1775, is a branch of the US army made up of about six groups of medical corps who manage the army’s medical care services. The six branches of the AMEDD include the medical corps, nurse corps, medical specialist corps, medical service corps, dental corps, and the veterinary corps. Moreover, AMEDD is under the leadership of a lieutenant general who is also the U.S. army’s Surgeon General. AMEDD corps can be deployed to various branches of the army such as the Active Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve. Furthermore, AMEDD soldiers are trained by the Academy of Health Sciences, which is a constituent of the AMEDD Center & School (Duckworth, 2009).
On the other hand, the non-commissioned officers (NCOs) are members of the army who receive promotions to various positions within the enlisted military ranks. Therefore, most NCO officers include corporals, sergeants, warrant officers, and petty officers. Additionally, these officers can be grouped into Junior NCOs or Senior NCOs relative to their experience. In the United States, AMEDD NCO officers carry out leadership and training activities involving military officers, especially starters and soldiers returning home from combat zones (Duckworth, 2009, p. 5). In addition, they are the custodians of the mission of the military organization and they help other military officers to attain the expected targets and mission. Therefore, AMEDD NCO officers provide management, service, leadership, and other combat-related skills to soldiers.
Relative to the functions of the AMEDD NCO officers, several challenges are notable in the military officers, particularly those related to the long-term deployment of soldiers. In that case, this essay aims at examining the impact of multiple long-term deployments on soldiers. Additionally, the AMEDD NCO has a special branch of Battlemind Training Officers who are charged with the responsibility of helping military officers to transition home and away from the combat mindset and experience. Subsequently, this essay assesses the effectiveness of Battlemind Training in transitioning from combat zones to home zones.
The impact of multiple long-term deployments on soldiers
Studies show that the US army encounters several challenges, particularly those related to maintaining the force structure, supporting families of its members, and maintaining equipment. These challenges are especially attributable to its combat activities in Afghanistan and Iraq (Duckworth, 2009, p. 9). In addition, other studies claim that most military officers join the army in search of a better life for their families without considering the impact of the military operations on their lives as soldiers and family members (Duckworth, 2009, p. 9). Moreover, at all levels of the U.S. Army, most soldiers undertake their third or fourth deployment exercise in less than six years of service. These soldiers report mixed successes and struggles in their service as servicemen and as family members.
Furthermore, the current deployments are more rapid and in succession thereby increasing the emotional deployment cycles, divorce incidences, and mixed emotions on soldiers and their families. Sometimes a soldier can be re-deployed 9-12 months after returning home from combat zones (Duckworth, 2009). Thus, the limited time between two successive deployments also affects the pre-deployment training exercise, which normally takes three months. Therefore, soldiers are left with very little time to reconnect with their families and undertake the pre-deployment training.
Consequently, multiple long-term deployments have disrupted the military force structure because both the Senior NCOs and Junior NCOs are forced to take early retirements or to leave the military immediately after their military assignments expire. In addition, many soldiers encounter several challenges during their training for combat duties, which may certainly affect them and their families when they return home (Duckworth, 2009, pp. 9-15).
For instance, combat members undertake strenuous and physical training, lack privacy, work for long hours, take infrequent breaks, get exposed to harsh weather conditions, and have long-term separation from friends and families. Moreover, studies show that these experiences and challenges increase trauma, mental disorders, injuries, and deaths among these soldiers as compared to their non-combatant counterparts. In addition, most studies involving familial obligations of military personnel show that re-deployment contributes to most divorce cases in the United States (Duckworth, 2009).
The effectiveness of Battlemind Training in transitioning home
Statistical studies show that 12 out of 100,000 soldiers returning home from combat zones are bound to commit suicide annually (Wiederhold, 2008, p. 98). In response, those these unexpected outcomes, a special branch of the AMEDD corps collaborated with other army medical and psychological training divisions in developing the Battlemind training program to help soldiers in transitioning through the military service, deployment period, and the general life cycle. Therefore, Battlemind Training helps soldiers to develop inner strength, confidence, perseverance, resiliency and social support skills during challenging situations (Wiederhold, 2008).
One such challenging situation for most soldiers apart from the battlefield is transitioning from combat zones to home zones. Relative to this challenge, Battlemind training provides soldiers with social support skills (Wiederhold, 2008, p. 99). Thus, Battlemind training is pegged on several concepts that help soldiers through the process of transitioning home. These concepts include Mission Opsec vs. Secretiveness that enables soldiers to apply their combat skills in realizing the importance of trusting their family members again instead of being highly secretive, which is a rule in the military (Wiederhold, 2008).
In addition, the concept of individual responsibility vs. guilt enables soldiers to recover from feelings of being responsible for their buddies’ deaths in the battlefield. Additionally, the non-defensive vs. aggressive driving concept enables the soldiers to control their anger and obey rules at the family and social levels. Lastly, the concept of targeted vs. inappropriate aggression enables the soldiers to assess the threat involved in a given situation before acting (Wiederhold, 2008, p. 102).
This essay examines the role of the AMEDD NCO corps in providing leadership and management skills to various military officers. In addition, the essay describes the impact of multiple long-term deployments on soldiers. Relative to the challenges associated with multiple deployments, the essay looks at the effectiveness of Battlemind training in helping combat soldiers to transition home.
The discussions above show that most combat soldiers encounter several problems associated with multiple deployments such as divorce, separation from their families, mental disorders, and trauma, which may hinder their life experiences after retiring or returning to home zones. In that case, the Battlemind training skills are recommended for these officers because they have the potential of helping them to transition from being on the battlefield and near enemies to being near friends and family members.
Duckworth, D. (2009). Affects of multiple deployment on families. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College.
Wiederhold, K.B. (2008). Proceedings of the NATO advanced research workshop on wounds of War: Lowering suicide risk in returning troops. Fairfax, VA: IOS Press, Inc.