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The Faith Community Recognizing & Responding To Those Who Are Serving & Have Served.

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Presentation on theme: "The Faith Community Recognizing & Responding To Those Who Are Serving & Have Served."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Faith Community Recognizing & Responding To Those Who Are Serving & Have Served

2 Casualties of War Innocence is the first casualty of war Morality is the second casualty of war Truth is the third casualty of war Loss of combat friends is the fourth casualty of war The fifth casualty of war is within Thomas M. Rice Trial by Combat

3 Overview of Today’s Discussion The Deployment Cycle Your Faith Community’s Response Spiritual Injury and Our Response Developing One Pilot Project

4 The Environment: San Diego County  Commuter Military  Naval Medical Center San Diego  Demographics  San Diego County is home to the 8 th largest City in the US  9 % of the population is Active Duty personnel o 95,000 o 175,000 family members  Reserve / National Guard  Veterans  12% of all Veterans reside in California  13% of all Veterans in California reside in San Diego county  9/11 Veterans live in San Diego – highest in the nation o 28,000

5 The Environment: San Diego County  Deployments  Currently ranging from 7 ½ months to 13 months depending on unit  Deployment time does not include work-up time i.e. getting ready to go  Example: o CVN 72% of time at sea working up 7 ½ to 10 month deployment Over 2 years at sea time 80-85%

6 Impact Service members and families experience stress Separation becomes a way of life Digital age has brought the front lines home –Skype –Facebook Draw down / Reduction in force –USN 3,000 Navy-wide –USA to reduce 100,000 to 490,000 –USMC to reduce to 182,000 from 202,00

7 The Big Picture Pre-Deployment Deployment Sustainment Post-Deployment Re-Deployment Living as a veteran civilian

8 Deployment – Families’ View Percentage of Most Difficult Time National Military Family Association Survey, 2005

9 Emotions, Roles, Adjustment

10 Pre-deployment Anticipation of loss vs. denial Train-up/long hours away Getting affairs in order Mental/physical distance Arguments Time frame: variable

11 11 STAGE ONE-ANTICIPATING THE LOSS Started when you heard the news Tension builds Worry, Irritable, Bickering, Anger, Crying/Sadness People handle tension differently Lots of Activity –Getting ready Children act out the family tension

12 12 STAGE TWO-DETACHMENT & WITHDRAWAL Final days before departure Increasing tension Emotional distance Your marriage is not in trouble So much to do, so little time

13 Sample Projects: Pre-Deployment Identify military personnel in congregation Home visits of support –Identify stressors, provide referrals –Include children –Give couple a weekend alone –Ask if they would like to be on prayer list –Consider assigning a mentor Identify time to have special service near deployment Ritural/prayer/memento to go with service member and stay with family

14 Deployment (1 Month) Mixed emotions/relief Disoriented/overwhelmed Numb, sad, alone Sleep difficulty Security issues Time frame: first month

15 15 STAGE THREE-EMOTIONAL DISORGANIZATION The trucks/buses/planes pull out Tension replaced by feelings of loss and sadness Service member feels ambivalent The “Blues” Single parenting Children reactions At home and at school Lasts about 2 to 6 weeks

16 Sustainment (2-13 Months) New routines established New sources of support Feel more in control Independence Confidence ("I can do this") Time frame: months two thru five

17 17 STAGE FOUR- RECOVERY & STABILIZATION About the 6 th week Settle into a routine Activity important Work, school, volunteer activities Support group important friends, church groups, other waiting spouses If stuck, get help Communication very important “Keep those cards and letters coming” Children need to send and receive mail too Talk/write about what’s happening at home

18 18 STAGE FIVE-ANTICIPATING OF HOMECOMING Every deployment has an ending! Starts about six weeks before end of deployment Lots of activity (new dress, spruce up yard, haircuts) Tension builds Individual and family changes Expectations Changes vs. stayed the same Prepare children Preparation to become a couple/family again

19 Sample Projects: Deployment Take the Initiative –Stay in touch with spouse/children Offer meals in early weeks Home visits:how are things – where is help needed Provide previously identified resources Offer prayer list, publish names in bulletins, newsletter, but get permission first Identify house hold tasks, finances, emotional/spiritual support needed Children tell the story; collect letters for parent –Post picture on church display board

20 Sample Projects: Deployment Stay in touch with service member – s –Faith Community newsletter, bulletins, sermons – with permission –Send phone cards –Ask what kind of care packages would be welcomed, if any –Advise of support being provided to family –Pictures of faith community activities

21 Re-deployment (Last Month) Anticipation of homecoming Excitement Apprehension Burst of energy/"nesting" Difficulty making decisions Time frame: months five thru six

22 Re-deployment (Last Month) Anticipation of homecoming Excitement Apprehension Burst of energy/"nesting" Difficulty making decisions Time frame: months five thru six

23 23 Safe Returns and Happy Reunions

24 24 Challenges for Servicemembers Returning to Garrison and Home Life Giving up the security of being surrounded by their buddies 24/7 Giving up the security of being armed 24/7 Learning that trash on the roadside back home is not going to explode as you drive by Learning, not just in your head but in your heart, that people on the street do not want to kill you Learning to adjust to the slower pace and lower excitement level of life at home Relearning how to be around others without swearing or being offensive Learning how to do the things you miss (like drinking, driving, or sex) in safe moderation Figuring out how much to tell family and friends

25 25 STAGE SIX-REUNION Becoming a couple/family Reunion day to 6 weeks Strangers when we meet-intimacy grows Different strokes for different folks “Hold” the family reunion please Time alone and time together Quiet time/ noisy time “I’m on the outside looking in” Resuming the marital and parental roles Responding to changes Hey Mom/Dad I grew up! Negotiating changes in the marital and parenting roles

26 Post-Deployment (3-6 Months after deployment)

27 27 STAGE SEVEN- REINTEGRATION & STABILIZAION 6 TO 12 WEEKS AFTER REUNION Settling in Our car, our house, our kids, our family A functioning unit again Stuck- Get help now

28 Sample Projects: Post-Deployment Offer welcome home ritual at church (be cautious about setting person on a pedestal) Offer couple a weekend alone Offer meals Offer ongoing child care Stay in touch

29 29 Possible Re-Deployment May make it difficult to fully come back May be the “elephant” in the room 43% of Families report fear of re-deployment

30 30 Living as a Civilian Veteran Military Service may have been one of the best/worst experiences of your life You may yearn for your buddies even years later You may have experiences that are difficult to share even with your closest family members You may wish to be recognized but not seen as a hero

31 Injured Marines being evacuated from Hue City, Vietnam, 1968 Which of These Warriors Has Been Injured by Combat Stress?

32 Wounds Resulting in Death

33 Note: Most returning veterans are able to make a satisfactory adjustment to post- military life. The Faith Community can help that happen.

34 Sample Projects: Civilian Veteran Offer annual recognition at church – perhaps on Veterans Day or Memorial Day (be cautious about hero worship) Offer Veterans the chance to tell some of their story; ask that they share the impact of war upon their faith Offer a special meal and fellowship for veterans and families in your faith group Maintain a memorial wall for veterans

35 Stress Adaption versus Stress Injury? InjuryInjury –May be more abrupt –A derailment, a change in self –Individual feels like not in control –Very specific syndromes AdaptationAdaptation –A gradual process –Can be traced over time –Individuals feel like still themselves –Limitless variability in appearance

36 When Adjustment Doesn’t Work Causes –Post Traumatic Stress Disorder –Combat Operational Stress –Traumatic Brain Injury –Other Physical Injuries –Psychological and Spiritual Injuries –Financial, vocational, marital issues –Time to get professional help

37 The Results (For Some of Our Warriors) TRAUMATRAUMAGRIEFGRIEFFATIGUEFATIGUE Combat / Operational Stress PTSDPTSD AlcoholAlcohol DrugsDrugs DepressionDepressionAnxietyAnxietyAngerAnger

38 Spiritual “Red Flags” Loss of Faith Loss of faith during & following combat stress Difficulty reconciling faith with combat experiences N=100 Vietnam veterans in PTSD treatment

39 Spiritual “Red Flags” Negative Religious Coping Question (somewhat +)OIFGP I feel God is punishing me for my sins or lack of spirituality. 53.1%24.2% I wonder whether God has abandoned me. 53.1%12.6% * OIF (N=50 OIF/OEF veterans in PTSD treatment) * GP (N=654 males in Nat ’ l Rep. Sample)

40 Guard and Reserve Families Where do They Get Their Support? RAND Study Deployment Experiences of Guard and Reserve Families Implications for Support and Retention Informal ResourcesMilitary Resources

41 A Plan for the Faith Community’s Response Be Aware of the Big Picture Assess the Need Assess the Resources Create a Pilot Project

42 Access the Need Get By-in of Leadership Conduct a survey –Identify active service personnel –Identify veterans –Identify their families –Identify felt needs –Identify those who would like to help and the help they could provide

43 Select a Pilot Project Compile Results of Survey Analyze your resources Select a pilot project Keep key leadership involved/informed Recruit those to make you project happen

44 Concluding Thoughts War is inherently a moral enterprise and veterans in search of healing are on a profound moral journey. Our veterans cannot heal unless society accepts its responsibility for its war making. To the returning veteran, our leaders and people must say, “You did this in our name and because you were subject to our orders.

45 Concluding Thoughts We lift the burden of your actions from you and take it on our shoulders. We are responsible for you, and for what you did (in our name), and for the consequences.” Edward Tick: Bringing Our Wounded Warriors Home.

46 Resources CAPT Tim Eichler, CHC, USN Force Chaplain Commander, Naval Air Force CDR Jerome Hinson, CHC, USN Fleet Chaplain Commander, THIRD Fleet Fr Bob Blessing St Andrew’s Episcopal Church La Mesa, CA Linda Walsh Garrison, BCCC +American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, CA Manager, Volunteer Partner National/San Diego Spiritual Task Force cell This is a list of potential resources. None of these resources are endorsed, but are avenues to address military related issues Fleet & Family Support Center Floating City: 24 Hours on a Ship:


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