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In harm’s way – at home

Post by Brian O'Neill on July 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
July 19, 2010 12:04 pm

While Joint Base Lewis-McChord is busy prepping for the arrival of some 17,000 soldiers returning from combat operations, a like number of families are preparing to welcome home their loved ones. For an unfortunate few spouses, the welcome will be bitter and harmful.

This was all too evident Saturday afternoon when a female soldier was arrested in Lakewood for allegedly stabbing her husband.

Domestic violence is a societal cancer that is heedless of factors such as income, ethnicity, religion or military status. And while males tip the scales as aggressors, this incident highlights the fact that domestic violence is an issue for both sides of the gender fence.

Soldiers returning from a war zone, which was the aforementioned soldier’s address just 10 days prior to her arrest, appear especially susceptible to domestic violent incidents.

The reason is simple: combat operations are violent. The rigors and stresses of long, tense days and nights, as well as a heightened sense of aggression necessary for such a climate, become second nature to soldiers in theater.

The Army has been quick to adapt to this trend by setting up counseling for returning soldiers. But with so many thousands of men and women pouring back into the bases’ offices, barracks and counseling centers, even the Army’s vast resources will be stretched to the limit.

These brave men and women have endured hardship and danger. It is our responsibility to ensure that our soldiers have every opportunity to shake the stresses of war and have the homecoming both they and their families deserve.

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