An earthquake is an outstanding analogy for PTSD. An earthquake is a sudden, sometimes violent, shaking of the ground, possibly causing great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth’s crust or volcanic action.

There are over 50 earthquakes everyday; that is over 20,000 a year. We only hear about the ones that cause major destruction; for the most part. The overwhelming majority of all earthquakes do little to no damage. Amazingly, a slight earthquake can actually strengthen the upper surface, by adjusting lower plates.

Just like MOST warriors with diagnosed PTSD will actually be strengthened through “Post Traumatic Growth.” Yes, their trauma will actually make them stronger. Due to the adversity the warriors experience in combat, they are much better able to deal with other stressors.

It is impossible to get objective data for the following; therefore this is totally subjective (I made up the numbers), but the numbers will illustrate my point.

A very low level earthquake is compared to a small percentage of warriors diagnosed with PTSD. They will function as well or maybe even better than they did before their battlefield trauma. Warriors diagnosed with PTSD at this level will need NO assistance in dealing with any issues. Self-aid may be all that is needed.

A low level earthquake that is compared to the overwhelming majority of warriors diagnosed with PTSD. They will function as well or even better than they did before their battlefield trauma. Warriors diagnosed with PTSD at this level will need little to no assistance in dealing with their issues, BUT may benefit from talking to a fellow warrior from time to time. Self-aid combined with buddy-aid may be all that is needed.

95% of those diagnosed with PTSD fall into the above two groups.

Now, what about those other 5%?

These are earthquakes that we hear about. Think about it though, most of the time we hear about an earthquake, if we are even paying attention, it is the news media just stating there was a ?? Magnitude earthquake that shook “Made-up-town” and caused extensive but repairable damages.

You may be able to fix some of the damages to your property by yourself, but at this level, you will need much buddy-aid, and likely some other aid (counseling, group therapy, etc.). I will assign 4% to this category.

The final 1% are those earthquakes that we not only hear about, but we remember too. These are the warriors that are debilitated by their combat trauma. I have never witnessed any warrior in this state. I know PTSD is a factor, sometime a major factor, but almost always there is something else.

Here is an example of the only warrior I have ever witnessed that just could not function on his own because of his PTSD; so they said. The reality, his TBI was his number one issue, followed by massive injuries; broken bones, body parts removed, etc.

Right before I met this young Sgt his wife had left him and his house burned down with everything he owned. Think about this Marine, the next time you start bitching about life. Multiple major life stressors; any one of these stressors could disrupt even the most stable of lives. Again, he was the only case I have ever witness of a warrior that was totally debilitated by his trauma; remembering he had many other factors.

In sum, most warriors are even better citizens after their trauma than they were before the trauma.

We, the veterans need to educate the public about combat stress. If we do not, then we cannot complain when the vet jobless rate is rising. Who would hire a possible psychopath? Not me, but I would hire a combat vet, any day of the week and twice on Tuesday.

The news media and Hollywood have shed an extremely “dark” light on PTSD. Some civilians think we are a bunch of unstable psychopaths. PTSD does not cause anyone to become a criminal. It MAY be a factor, but PTSD is not the cause. Face it, some of us were scumbags before we joined the military and some us will be when we get out; and some were when they were in.

Every time there is a major crime in the US with a vet perpetrator the first thing the media does is try to link the crime to PTSD and or military service I general. Almost always they are wrong and there is absolutely no link between being a scumbag and being a vet. Some people commit crimes, get used to it, crime has been around for a very long time and it is not going anywhere soon.

Diatribe complete. SF DKD


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About The Author

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

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