COSR, or Combat and Operational Stress Reaction, is typically seen immediately after combat situations. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, could take years to manifest.
Here's a downloadable PDF file of a new article on COSR offered by MCCS One Source:
Click for PDF File: Dealing with Combat and Operational Stress
Excerpt: Itís not unusual for anyone participating in combat or seeing its aftermath to be filled with complicated and conflicting emotions -- including fear, sadness, and horror -- all legitimate reactions to the combat experience. Even Marines who havenít been in direct combat, but have been through a life-threatening situation, seen enemy or civilian casualties, had a friend die, or been in charge of prisoners of war, can experience the many feelings that come together as a Combat and Operational Stress Reaction (COSR).
Everything written below is my own personal opinion and experience. This is not all-inclusive and it is certainly not scientific in any way. It's just what I've learned from my Marine, his buddies, and talking with literally hundreds of other parents over the course of the last year.
From what I have seen and what my son and his battalion have seen over the course of the last two years, the transitioning period offered by the USMC on returns from Iraq and/or other combat zones is considerably improved for 2004 compared to 2003. It seemed to be a quick deal last year, but this year, there is more focus and attention on "Warrior Transitioning".
The following are the positive changes that have come to my attention. Please note that this is very generalized information and may or may not pertain to all USMC units. Your Marine will have additional information and resources made available to him/her through the commanding officer.
- Formal briefings on "Warrior Transitioning" are taking place while the Marines are still in country.
- Block leave upon return is delayed by about 2 weeks now compared to last year. During that time, there are additional briefings for transition assistance.
- Additional information and support is being offered through many web sites, including the USMC web site.
- Marines are told they can seek assistance from the USMC if they feel it is necessary.
Regarding "behaviours" and "what to expect" when our Marines return, here are some of the things that I've seen and heard reported from parents of single Marines that have returned both this year and last year:
- Last year, they were like a kid in a candy store when it came to spending the money they had saved; not as much this year
- Quite a bit of partying and alcohol last year; not as much this year
- They talk about what they've seen/done the first week they get back, and then don't talk any more
- Some don't talk at all about what they've seen/done
- For some, it seems awkward when they are home on leave to reconnect with their civilian buddies
- For some, they seem to be glad when block leave is over and they can go back to "normal and predictable" with the Marine Corps and their fellow devil dogs
- Some seem to have a low tolerance for listening to another person complain about trivial things or small discomforts
- Some seem to look for things to do that will give them an adrenaline rush
- Some seem to have a hard time sitting still or knowing what to do with time on their hands; seem to want to be "on the go" constantly
Here's a link to a forum on the message boards where parents of 3/4 Marines discuss issues related to the transitioning their Marine sons have gone through. This discussion is after the 3/4 returned from their 2nd tour of Iraq in July of 2004.
Click here for dicussion...