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G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate

Supporting Soldiers, Families & Civilians – Active, Guard, Reserve and Retired

3 September 2008



Is this officer at a low, medium, or high risk for suicide? (Low; in spite of some survivor’s guilt, posttraumatic stress disorder, and thoughts of death, there are no indications of imminent risk for suicide; however, this Captain should be encouraged to consult with a mental health specialist regarding his PTSD and survivor’s guilt).


Do you think this officer’s PTSD and survivor’s guilt prevents him, in any way, of fully carrying out his duties? Why or why not? (the officer’s failure to fire his weapon during the encounter may be an indication that his judgment and/or attention may be compromised; consider mental health treatment possibly coupled with some rest and restoration).


Assuming that, following treatment, this Captain returns to duty and proves himself to be an effective leader, do you think this incident should negatively impact his OER? Why or why not? (It is highly probably that this officer will be an asset to the Army. He should not be viewed as being “weak” or “sick” in any way. His PTSD and survivor’s guilt are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. In fact, his experiences may make him a more understanding leader.)


In terms of maintaining his standing with his Soldiers, what do you think would be this Captain’s best course of action? (There may be a variety of responses. However, honest, self-disclosure appears to be the most effective response. Such a response might even elicit similar feelings from other members of his unit. There is no problem in being viewed as human).

Once an officer develops significant emotional problems, such as those demonstrated by this Captain, is he or she of any further use to the Army? Can an officer resume the position of authority he/she previously had? Why not just discharge all these people out of the service? (These are decisions that must be made on a case-by-case basis; many people, upon resolution of their crisis, return to duty and prove to be highly effective Soldiers. One must also consider the effect any punishment or adverse action will have vis-à-vis stigma surrounding mental health services. One must also consider the Army’s shortage of junior officers and the impending shortage in senior leadership. The feelings that this Captain is experiencing are normal human reactions to an abnormal situation. If the Captain can successfully work through his problems, should he not be given the benefit of the doubt? Should this Captain’s career be ruined because he felt normal human emotions?).

Scenario #6 – Deployed Captain


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