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Here's What Soldiers Feel And Think During Combat
Heart pounding. Fear. Tunnel vision.
These are just a few of the physical and emotional responses soldiers reported upon their first combat experience.
Sure, there are hundreds of books, movies, and other multimedia that can give a sense of what it's like to be shot at, bombed, or rocketed. Then there are the stories a soldier or Marine may be told by a senior leader on "what it's really like."
But there's also some hard data, thanks to a recent study carried out by Aaron Bazin at West Point's Modern War Institute. Bazin polled 304 military veterans, spanning from Vietnam to present day, on their experience in a "combat situation," which he defined as "any event where the person’s life was put at risk in direct contact with an enemy force (e.g., shooting, bombing, indirect fire, etc.)."
Not surprisingly, the most-reported physical response was an increase in heart rate. Also reported were rapid breathing, muscle tension, and tunnel vision. These changes in the body are well documented as part of the so-called "fight or flight response."
I found the questions regarding emotional response much more enlightening. While anticipation was the one emotion most experienced by soldiers before combat, upwards of 30% reported fear before and during combat, blowing apart a macho myth that you're not supposed to ever be scared during battle.
An overwhelming number of veterans said they "didn't think" and just acted during combat — giving a positive nod to their training beforehand. Indeed, the majority of respondents said their training prepared them very well or somewhat well for combat duty (91.5%).
"Simply put, once a service member knows battle first hand and survives, he or she will likely never be the same again," Bazin writes. "The fact remains, the more new service members can learn from the experiences of those that have gone before them, the better they can prepare themselves for what may lie ahead."
Check out his full report at MWI.
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."