G-1, Human Resources Policy Directorate
Supporting Soldiers, Families & Civilians – Active, Guard, Reserve and Retired
3 September 2008
What would be the best response to the Captain’s statement, “I should have died with my men.”? (Ask further questions to clarify the Captain’s intent. Is he expressing a real wish to be dead? Is he merely expressing his grief and survivor’s guilt? Is there some other motivation for such a statement?)
How soon should the Captain be returned to his leadership position? (As quickly as possible).
Do you think this Captain is imminently suicidal? Why or why not? ( For discussion)
Does the fact that this Captain failed to return fire on the enemy after two of his Soldiers were gunned down have any bearing on your actions? (While his “freezing up” may be a matter for discussion, we must distinguish that issue from the issue of suicide. We are interested in the Captain’s safety and his ability to return to duty. This Captain is having a normal human reaction to an abnormal situation. It is likely that he is experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder and “survivor’s guilt”, both of which could contribute to suicidal thoughts or intent.)
In talking with this officer, he states that he worries his own inattention and distractibility may place his soldiers’ lives in jeopardy. He feels he is currently unfit to be leading Soldiers in battle. He also admits to frequent, intrusive thoughts regarding events that occurred during his first deployment? How do you respond? (You should encourage the Captain to speak with a chaplain or mental health care provider. Has this Captain “fallen off his horse”, and does he need to get back on and ride again? Is the Captain’s concern that he may fail his men sufficient that he needs to be medivac’d out of theater? Will continuing to serve only make his PTSD worse? Is his career over? These are issues for which the Captain requires consultation.)
Following another consultation with mental health, the PVT is diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder. The provider explains that, in such a disorder, rapid and substantial mood swings are likely. The provider also explains that the PVT is not responding to medications for this disorder. What course of action do you think best in such a situation? (for the protection of the PVT and those around her, she should probably be “medivac’d” to Europe or CONUS for more intensive examination and treatment. If she does not respond to treatment, a medical board is probably necessary).
Scenario #6 – Deployed Captain
OPERATIONAL QUESTIONS and ANSWERS: