Troops showing signs of strain after nearly 10 years of war

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The nation has about 12,000 special operations forces deployed around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But after nearly 10 years at war, commanders this week said they’re worried about the toll repeated deployments are taking on troops and their families.

Minnesota’s Army National Guard 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls, are preparing for another deployment. Maj. Gen. Richard Nash announced recently that about 2,400 soldiers are expected to start training in May and head to Kuwait, where they will provide security as US troops pull out.

This will be yet another deployment for many of these soldiers, who’ve already served in Iraq or Afghanistan over the last several years.

From the AP’s Lolita C. Baldor’s story on concerns about the effects of repeated deployment on special operations forces:

Adm. Eric T. Olson … said the demand for the specialized units in Afghanistan is insatiable, forcing troops to deploy to war at a rate that is off the charts. And he said he does not see that demand declining in the next several years. Officials say they are taking measures to ease the strain on service members and families and devoting more resources to programs for wounded and ill service members.

Scientists at the Minneapolis VA have been studying National Guard soldiers to try and pinpoint why some people are more resilient to combat stress than others, and to research the connection between PTSD, TBI, concussion and other things.

They expect to release more findings this spring.

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