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Thread: Lessons in Survival

  1. #1
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Default Lessons in Survival

    Interesting study by Yale Doctor: the science of stress applied to the military. Studies conducted on Soldiers at Bragg, and Sailors at Panama City.

    Lessons In Survival
    The science that explains why elite military forces bounce back faster than the rest of us.
    By Ben Sherwood, NEWSWEEK

    In a laboratory, it's extremely difficult to study why some people are better at bouncing back than others because it's so hard to simulate the real stresses and strains of life. Scientists can show people scary pictures or movies to trigger their reactions and measure how they recover, but it's hardly the same as a mugger in an alley or a grizzly bear on a hiking trail. Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School set out to find a real-world laboratory where he could watch people under incredible stress in reasonably controlled conditions.

    He ended up in southeastern North Carolina at Fort Bragg, home of the Army's elite Airborne and Special Forces. This is where the Army's renowned survival school is located. It's also where they believe in something called stress inoculation. Like vaccines, a small challenge or dose of a virus in your system prepares and defends you against a bigger challenge. In other words, they expose you to pressure and suffering in training so you'll build up your immunity. It's a kind of classic psychological conditioning: the more shocks to your system, the more you're able to withstand.

    Morgan's research—the first of its kind—produced some fascinating findings about who does the best job resisting the interrogators and who stays focused and clearheaded despite the uncontrollable fear. Morgan looked at two different groups going through this training: regular Army troops like infantrymen, and elite Special Forces soldiers, who are known to be especially "stress hardy" or cool under pressure.
    Complete Article here

  2. #2
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Here's another allied study.

    More proof that my proposal that physiological and / or psychological testing need to be a part of the Army entrance criteria is correct. Why accept those who will have problems...

    LINK.

    Yeah, I know -- I can hear the ACLU now.

    Seriously, though it might seem discriminatory -- and would certainly be challenged by a number of people (the majority of whom would have no desire whatsoever to serve) -- it would actually be of benefit to those not accepted from the standpoint of saving them from stress related injury (physical or emotional) or death (due to failure to cope)...

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    Can characteristics change over time or with training/experience?

    Malcolm Nance used the term "stress inoculation," which would imply that people who were exposed to stress would become better able to cope.

    Is that realistic?

  4. #4
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Yes. It is simply immersion therapy

    applied.

    With a caveat -- my 'yes' is mostly correct but there both exceptions to whom it does not apply and varying degrees of improvement between individuals. IOW, like all other 'inoculations' it won't work on a few people and everyone develops a different 'fill' level. It also, either genetically or immersion therapy induced is not necessarily permanent.

    There is no way, I believe, at this time to predict with any reliability when any person may suddenly reach his or her fill level and snap. Certainly there are clues and some are more obvious than others -- some are ragingly apparent and easily predicted -- but frequently, a seemingly innocuous and unexpected thing can trigger a failure or a breakdown in some tough folks.

    All that based on my observation and not on an ounce of Psychological or Physiological education...

  5. #5
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Unhappy Researching this stuff has always made sense

    The part that bother's me is when that last addendum always shows up

    EX
    Mr Aikins said his next goal was to identify mental exercises or drugs that could protect people from high levels of stress. Guardian News & Media
    I can just see it now, Well that one tested really low but hey we can fix that;
    Pep em up{neuropeptide Y} and he/she'll be good to go

    Just to be clear, I honestly think research like this can and will help us find better ways to approach soldiering it just seems to follow that when the final determinations are made by those who actually put such things in place, the tendency seems to follow the aforementioned pattern.
    Last edited by Ron Humphrey; 02-17-2009 at 10:26 PM. Reason: Added for clarification:
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Default

    These studies have been around for years but it has never been really established if it is the type of training that SF does that inoculates them to stress or if SF just attracts people who have a certain natural resistance to stress or some combination there of. Based on my experience, I tend to believe the latter.

    SFC W

  7. #7
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I'm with U-boat, I also believe that the types attracted

    make a bigger difference. I also am firmly convinced those types differ from others genetically. Still, there are those without that genetic attribute that can and do make the grade and do good stuff.

    Thus I also agree with Ron. I think we should be able to identify those that can better tolerate combat stress (as opposed to generic 'stress') and who can think and make decisions rapidly in fluid situations but I'd be awfully leery of an injection or a pill that would provide that -- too many instances of body chemistry going haywire exist.

    Putting all that together, it would be beneficial to administer an assessment for combat arms applicants, officer and enlisted, similar to the SF Selection Battery and also to conduct a physical assessment. The intent would be to guide the selection of jobs for people -- and to allow people to select the most appropriate jobs -- all based on moderately sensible science instead of whims.

    There's no question that almost everyone can cope -- history shows that -- but there should also be no question that some people cope far more easily and better than others. I don't suggest that we assess and direct to pick the best 'copers' but rather we assess and provide knowledge to the system and the individual to inform choices.

    That said, we'd still end up with a few round pegs in square holes...

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default

    Armies have had lots of clever ways of trying to guess this stuff for years, but you always come down to the same problem, and that is numbers matter.

    It's no good having a couple of Uber-studs, when a mob of reasonable-studs would accomplish the mission. Obviously there are jobs and tasks that do require some very determined and cool men, but they make an incredibly small percentage of any armed force.

    Fascinating article though, a surprising a airing of some of the information therein!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Mr Aikins said his next goal was to identify mental exercises or drugs that could protect people from high levels of stress. Guardian News & Media

    You mean like this?

    Example is better than precept.

  10. #10
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I know -- but I keep hoping...

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Armies have had lots of clever ways of trying to guess this stuff for years...but they make an incredibly small percentage of any armed force.
    There's gotta be a pony in there somewhere...

  11. #11
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Soooo.....

    I should live fast and hope I make it past 50?
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  12. #12
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Thumbs up dont worry,

    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    I should live fast and hope I make it past 50?
    Your close enough to SGM and they dont count in those study's
    Their too stubborn to give up that easily
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  13. #13
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Lightbulb But....

    therein lies the problem. Want nothing to do with being a SGM, not looking forward to the labotomy that comes with it......and the endless meetings....spent 3 hours in those today alone...does acting CSM count?

    Guess maybe I could live with the labotomy if it gets me past 50
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  14. #14
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default No, no, no -- I found a better way...

    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Guess maybe I could live with the labotomy if it gets me past 50
    Drink lots of Bourbon, that way, see, you kill all these brain cells and you don't have to get the lobotomy. Works, believe me -- also has a beneficial side effect, it makes you unable to hold meetings so you have to do your job by walking around and talking to people...

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    This part caught my eye

    Morgan analyzed the heartbeats of soldiers and sailors before they experienced major stress. Sure enough, the ones with metronomic heartbeats performed the best in survival school and underwater navigation testing. They also did the best in what's called close-quarters combat training. Morgan analyzed their heart rates right before they went into mock battle. They were all suited up in combat gear, waiting for a buzzer to ring that would send them running into a building to "kill" the enemy and rescue hostages. (They use "simunitions," simulated ammunition that hurts but doesn't cause real harm.) The ones with metronomic heartbeats, Morgan says, shoot more bad guys and kill fewer hostages. Unfortunately, this metronomic effect is usually associated with early heart disease and even sudden death. Morgan wonders whether the same thing that makes you really good at surviving under high stress may not translate into excellent heart health when you're 50.

  16. #16
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Darwin rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Drink lots of Bourbon, that way, see, you kill all these brain cells and you don't have to get the lobotomy. Works, believe me -- also has a beneficial side effect, it makes you unable to hold meetings so you have to do your job by walking around and talking to people...
    Always thought of drinking as a way to become smarter. If drinking kills brain cells then according to Darwin theory just the weak ones die, therefore I only have the strong brain cells left. The rate I'm going I'll be blowing Einstein away here in matter of a few weeks.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  17. #17
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not to worry. Did all that

    Quote Originally Posted by oblong View Post
    This part caught my eye
    Regular heartbeat that rarely got above 60 and I'm still here and over 75. 'Course all that erg expenditure did other things so while I'm still here and the pump chugs normally most other things sure don't work like they used to.

    Oh -- and don't smoke a pack of Pall Malls a day for over 50 years, that doesn't help...

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    I was going to comment that physical conditioning must play a big part in all this but then I remembered the Jewish concentration camp survivors where they probably had 700 calories a day, no sanitation or medical care, no adequate clothing or shelter and alot of brutal treatment. I guess it is mostly in the head.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    I was going to comment that physical conditioning must play a big part in all this but then I remembered the Jewish concentration camp survivors where they probably had 700 calories a day, no sanitation or medical care, no adequate clothing or shelter and alot of brutal treatment. I guess it is mostly in the head.
    This is well covered in the Ha Shoah literature. To quote "some lay on their beds and died. Others swore they would survive." It's long been observed that those who survived the camps, possess a bit of an "attitude."
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Smile Surviving on Beer

    Some good news ODB,
    According to the nutritionist in this video, drinking beer is good for you
    But the answer to the real question - just how long can a man survive on just beer - 6 to 8 weeks


    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Always thought of drinking as a way to become smarter. If drinking kills brain cells then according to Darwin theory just the weak ones die, therefore I only have the strong brain cells left. The rate I'm going I'll be blowing Einstein away here in matter of a few weeks.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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