Prior experience in combat fatigue/shell shock/PTSD is that there is a very distinct elbow is the psych casualty rate that occurs around 250 days in combat. After that, the rate goes way up. It never hits 100% but it accelerates tremendously. And it's a lifetime limit, there is only a modest effect from R & R.♠ A lot of these guys are probably hitting that their first tour. The guys who are on their second, third, even fourth tours, 250 days is a flyspeck in the rear view mirror. Not a good sign.Note that this is days in actually combat, not the time on a tour. If you spend 270 days on the FOB♥ and 90 days out patrolling, in contact with the enemy, you only have 90 days toward the 250 my friend mentions.
When people talk about the Army being stretched, this is one of the kinds of thing that needs to be considered. Another is that there are only so many Army Combat Brigades and we need to give the troops time home with their loved ones and some have to go off to school and some are just getting out—their commitment is up.
The 250 number is just one more item for the Department of Defense to considering in making its recommendations to President Obama re what we do in and about Afghanistan.
I am not saying don't send the 40,000 troops, I am saying we need to think this through. A prayer for President Obama might be in order.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Rest and Recreation, a short time off in the middle of a combat tour.
♥ FOB stands for Forward Operating Base.