Suicide - NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Suicide - NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

Post by Paddy on Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:12 pm

NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/6687754/NZ-soldier-dies-in-Afghanistan
03/04/2012

“An investigation will be held into the death of a soldier serving in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

An incident occurred at Forward Patrol Base Romero at approximately 11am (NZ time) today. The soldier died later in hospital, the Defence Force said.

The death was not the result of a combat operation and does not appear to involve the actions of another party, Dr Coleman said.
It is understood the death is being treated as a suspected suicide.


Both Dr Coleman and Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Rhys Jones offered their condolences to the the soldier's family and loved ones.
Lt-Gen Jones said in a statement: “We are saddened by this loss and, on behalf of the entire New Zealand Defence Force, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, colleagues and friends of the soldier.”

Next of kin were in the process of being informed.

“Our soldiers continue to acquit themselves magnificently and the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team continues to do great work in Bamyan Province," Lt-Gen Jones said.

An investigation into the circumstances of the incident was underway, he said.

The Defence Force will not release the name of the soldier or circumstances surrounding the incident today in order to allow time for the wider family to be informed.

Dr Coleman said the Defence Force would provide more information tomorrow.”

Paddy.
avatar
Paddy
Moderator

Number of posts : 1607
Age : 57
Location : Rangitikei
Registration date : 2008-09-25

http://www.thebigblackdog.co.nz

Back to top Go down

Re: Suicide - NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

Post by Paddy on Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:27 am

I find this very worrying.

NZDF arguably has a higher duty of care towards its personnel than many other employers. In partial recognition of this, the armed forces employ specialist psychologist officers – and I’m wondering if the fact that these folk are commissioned ‘officers’ rather than civilian practitioners makes it harder, not easier for enlisted service people to reach out for help?

As officers, these psychs will be subject to a formal chain of command and thus liable for pressure to be applied by officers more senior who are mission orientated, when the mission for the psych officer is not necessarily getting boots on the enemy ground and rounds laid down on targets. Those Psych Officers will also be entitled to and expect that the usual courtesy and ritualisation of acknowledging commissioned ranks be offered to them by non commissioned officers and private soldiers, sailors and airmen, etc. You know, the saluting, standing to attention, calling the officer Sir or Ma’am, that sort of stuff.

I know a little bit of what I speak, having served as an officer-equivalent ‘ranked’ public servant in Waiouru and DefHQ many moons ago. I was ‘growled’ at for telling ‘rankers’ that I was a civvie, not a commissioned officer and that it was a lot easier for me to do the job I was paid to do, if they simply came and saw me without the added bullshit of exchanging ‘military courtesies’.

Many of us know how bloody hard it is to seek out help and guidance when we really need it and just how much harder must it be if one has to make the appointment through one’s chain of command, march in, stand to attention, salute and wait to be told when and how to stand or sit thereafter?

Mental illness is bad enough. Mental illness with the added stressors of being in a conflict zone, being absent on the far side of the world from whanau and friends and local events, family occasions etc and being given access to high powered weaponry seems a tragedy simply waiting to happen.

This is a tragedy – ‘we’ have lost one of us; a whanau has lost a warrior, a unit has lost a team mate and the unrelenting senselessness of us participating in armed conflict is reinforced.

Provincial reconstruction team-label or not, these are trained men and women who have chosen to serve their nation by participation in the armed forces. There are inherent risks in following the profession of arms but we and our warriors have the right to expect and require the military system to go out of its way, as any employer should, to minimise all risk of serious harm.

Is an armed service more likely to be interested at a micro or macro-level with the maintenance of the logistics of the mind of an individual or the logistics of the mission by a team?

I wonder whether the military is the right ‘body’ to be investigating such tragedies because its traditions and expectations exacerbate the difficulties of coming forward and crying out for help. Officers commanding have conflicting obligations. The chain of command requires them to be mission-orientated, to get boots on the ground and to ensure that subordinates follow orders which may be personally distressing to individuals but which just have to be sucked up and done.

When it comes to mental illness, in anybody, stressors which may be tolerable for a time can become instantly intolerable when the individual is exposed to a whole raft of additional straws on the back of that camel.

Does the military make it easy for personnel of any rank to ask for help and to be given time to heal and find the pathway to wellness? I don’t think it does because pressure mounts to maintain the mission-effectiveness of the unit and the withdrawal from a section or platoon of a person who is unwell may limit the ability of that unit to meet its tasking obligations.

In the military, one can’t ‘just’ have a sickie. Either for mental or physical unwellness. One has to attend sick parade usually at predetermined hours and the individuals chain of command is informed. Who in their ‘wrong mind’ has the perspicacity to cope with the mushrooming effects of internal anguish and comply with the niceties of service life – particularly when on deployment in an zone of armed conflict?

We all of us here know how bloody hard it can be to seek out, and get, the medical and other help and support we need for our safe survival and guidance to the paths of wellness. Either we have to ask, or a friend or family member has to intervene and insist on help on our behalf. So what chance does an unwell serviceman or woman realistically have?

If the armed services doesn’t have a ‘toughen-up’ mentality, where folk are continually stretched to and past their personal limits, who does?

My time as a volunteer firefighter at Waiouru saw me attend serious injury and fatal-accident scenes on the Desert Road and other places in the area. ‘Getting over it’ afterwards consisted of sitting down and getting severely pissed in a very short time – after the turnout vehicles equipment had been refreshed and restored etc.

Getting pissed isn’t a useful medium or long-term survival technique. We OWE (as a nation) our service personnel of all ranks and all lengths of service and all trades, at the least the same opportunities we civvies have, to seek help without immediate adverse implications to our careers. It must become easier and less ‘unmanly’ and less ‘you’re impacting on the ability of your platoon to perform its duties so just do this tasking and we’ll talk abut ‘it’ later’ for a member of the armed services to cry for help.

The cry for help is not the weakness.

The weakness lies in the organisation which by virtue of its traditions and importance of keeping up appearances makes it exponentially more difficult for an individual to seek that help and in a manner which will allow the individual to maintain a sense of personal dignity and worth free of stigma.

Paddy.






avatar
Paddy
Moderator

Number of posts : 1607
Age : 57
Location : Rangitikei
Registration date : 2008-09-25

http://www.thebigblackdog.co.nz

Back to top Go down

Re: Suicide - NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

Post by Paddy on Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:40 am

'Soldier who died in Afghanistan named'

RIP Corporal Douglas Hughes

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6689061/Soldier-who-died-in-Afghanistan-named

“Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Rhys Jones confirmed Hughes, known as "Dougie", died in hospital yesterday. An investigation was underway…”

“He didn't believe anyone else was involved in the death…”

“Hughes had no record of mental health issues, Jones said...”

Paddy.

My sincere condolences to all who knew and loved this man and whose lives are now diminished by your death.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

Rest in Peace Corporal.
avatar
Paddy
Moderator

Number of posts : 1607
Age : 57
Location : Rangitikei
Registration date : 2008-09-25

http://www.thebigblackdog.co.nz

Back to top Go down

Re: Suicide - NZ soldier dies in Afghanistan

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum