American Soldiers are being spread too thin, and it is taking its toll.
The study also found that the more often soldiers are deployed, the longer they are deployed each time; and the less time they spend at home, the more likely they are to suffer mental health problems such as combat trauma, anxiety and depression. That result is particularly notable given that the Pentagon has sent soldiers and Marines to Iraq multiple times and recently extended the tours of thousands of soldiers to 15 months from 12 months.
“The story I heard from my wife and daughter a lot is, ‘You’re not the same person that left to go over there,’ ” said retired Sgt. Coby Thomas, who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq. “People expect you to be like you were and pick up where you left off, and they’re not prepared for the changes.”