Captain: Deployment isn’t the ‘smoking gun’
October 9, 2007
RAMADI, Iraq — Deployment itself is not a relationship killer, says Capt. Kevin Landtroop, judge advocate general counselor in Ramadi.
Most of the servicemembers who inquire about divorce are in relationships that likely wouldn’t last anyway, he said.
About 400 people, about 10 percent of the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Ramadi, have been to the office with questions, he said.
“In most of the situations, the couples are young and impulsive — in their first year of marriage — they have typical marital issues like money,” Landtroop said. “The conditions of deployment exacerbate the issue, but it’s not the smoking gun.”
And, on the other hand, deployments can also make couples stronger, Warner said.
“Increased home-front stress doesn’t necessarily mean bad outcomes for families,” Warner said. “Many families feel stress from deployments and grow stronger and more resilient as a couple.”
For servicemembers downrange, the trick is to separate truth from fiction, said Capt. Jim Bolton, combat stress officer for the 1st Brigade.
“Just because the soldier is gone and isn’t a part of the day to day doesn’t mean the family doesn’t care about them,” said Bolton, of East Troy, Wis. “They think that they’re family units are falling apart, but people care about them.”
The Army spends a lot of time on prevention, Bolton said. At home, families can access “Battle mind for Family” sessions, Family Readiness Groups, Army Community Services, and local medical/mental health resources. Deployed servicemembers also have access to mental health care, three-day stress-relief “fitness sessions” and classes on different ways to manage stress.
For Staff Sgt. Cynthia McClain, a medic in Ramadi, the key isn’t how often you talk with loved ones, but what you talk about.
“When I get stressed, I let my husband talk it out of me,” said the 36-year-old from Atlanta. She also asks him the same question whenever she calls. The day-to-day stuff can be very comforting, she said.
“I always ask ‘What’s for dinner?’” McClain said.
“And now he can say what he wants since I’m not there to gripe about it.”