Danish Army Struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress

08.05.10

Categorie: Afghanistan, Andrew Balcombe, Denmark, Medical |
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Danes in Afghanistan

Danes in Afghanistan. ISAF photo.

by ANDREW BALCOMBE

According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, 11 Danish soldiers from Charlie Company, The Hussar Regiment, are recovering from their injuries at the Camp Bastion field hospital in Helmand province.

The soldiers were wounded during a Taliban attack on Bridzar patrol base, northeast of Gereshk, in advance of a sandstorm. No other details were provided, except that the wounded were evacuated by helicopter, along with two interpreters who were also wounded, after the sandstorm ended.

The news clearly shows Danish troops are suffering physically from their duties in Helmand. Mentally, the combat duties are also taking a heavy toll. In the last 12 months, nine young veterans, all in their 20s, have tried to kill themselves. The suicide attempts raise questions in Denmark over the military’s ability to help troops with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Captain Marco Kroon of the Korps Commandotroepen is The Netherlands’ most decorated soldier in active service. Kroon served in Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan both with regular units and Special Forces. He said that young regular soldiers are more likely to get PTSD than older soldiers and those who serve in the Special Forces.

“In the Commandos, we take at least a year to prepare for war,” Kroon said. “In the regular army, troops only train for roughly six weeks before they are sent to the units. Mentally, I think they are less strong. I also think, the younger you are, the more difficult it is to cope with traumatic situations.

That’s what I experienced during my career. I used to talk about the things that happened during a mission a lot less than when I was older. When I was young, I thought it was not tough to say, “I’m pretty scared,” or, “I was afraid.” Now I am older, I find it easier to be open and to say, “I was stressed,” or, “I was afraid.”

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3 Responses to “Danish Army Struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress”

  1. adewale allen says:

    am a trained and qualified counselor am willing to render my professional suports to the men and women in uniform.

  2. Roger D. Batson says:

    I have over 20 years of experience working with individuals and families with PTSD and I have worked with homeless vets in the united States. I currently am administrator of a Substance abuse residential facility in Alaska and former military are part of my population. I have beeen asked by visiting Danish about miolitary and stress andI would love to come to Denmark and present our work as a training for those working with the military.

  3. Robert L Bell says:

    I’d just like to point out that Denmark and the Netherlands are two completely different countries, with three hundred miles of Germany between them.

    The Danish special forces are extraordinarily good, and I am confident that you could have found a decorated Danish captain to interview if you had exerted yourself.

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