SOCSOUTH welcomes new commander `We`re all Army boys here



SOCSOUTH welcomes new commander `We`re all Army boys here
T H E R E D 7 . n et
Friday, September 26, 2014
Prepare to land!
welcomes new
Page 3
‘We’re all Army boys
here,’ lunch group
member declares
Page 4
U.S. Army
U.S. Special Forces Soldiers assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group participate in a training exercise back in March 2014 as part of Fused
Response 2014. The exercise, sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and executed by Special Operations Command South, allowed U.S. SOF
and Belize Defense Forces to improve interoperability, tactics, and training techniques.
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Friday, September 26, 2014 | THE RED 7 | Page Page | THE RED 7 | Friday, September 26, 2014
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Year No. 4 Edition No. 39
Desire to be resilient can mask depression SOCSOUTH welcomes new commander
Service) — The Army culture is
one of toughness and resilience, so
seeking help for depression may be
very hard for Soldiers to do, said
Col. (Dr.) Geoffrey Grammer.
Grammer, who is Research Department chief, National Intrepid
Center of Excellence, Bethesda,
Maryland, spoke Thursday, at the
Psychological Health and Resilience
Summit at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. His
topic was “Hidden Medical Aspects
of Depression.”
“When people show up at a primary care facility with depression,
particularly in a non-behavioral
health setting, they may not necessarily say, ‘I have an emotional
disturbance’ or ‘I’m feeling down,’”
Grammer said.
Instead, most find it easier to talk
about their physical manifestations
of depression, he said, things like
insomnia, difficulty concentrating or
feeling tired all the time.
Those may or may not be underlying symptoms of depression, he
For a Soldier or family member, it
may be “easier to focus on stomach
discomfort rather than on an existential crisis,” he said, adding that
it’s a defense mechanism.
Grammer cautioned that confronting people with symptoms
— sadness or decreased interest in
activities — and telling them that
they might be depressed, could make
them even more depressed and they
could put up even stronger defense
Rather than telling them they
might be depressed, it would be better to encourage them to seek behavioral or medical care for whatever
symptoms they may be exhibiting
and let a physician handle it.
Depression is common
About one in eight people will get
depressed at some point in their lives,
Grammer said. About 10 percent of
people hospitalized for depression
will complete suicide. “That’s fairly
significant,” he said.
The most likely ages for depression are between 20 and 50, he said.
Women are twice as likely to get depression as men.
Also, “if you have a family history
By Lt. Joe Nawrocki
Special Operations Command
Illustration by Peggy Frierson | U.S. Army
Col. (Dr.) Geoffrey Grammer, Research Department chief, National Intrepid Center of Excellence, discussed the Army culture of toughness, which may mask depression, Sept. 18, at the Psychological Health and
Resilience Summit at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Va.
of depression there’s up to a threefold greater risk,” he said. “Also, men
who are married have a lower rate
and women who are married have a
higher rate of depression.”
The good news, Grammer said,
is “most depression is mild, while a
smaller percentage will be moderate
and an even smaller percentage will
be severe.”
Not all depression is caused by
stressors in life like an angry boss.
There are some types of medications
that have side effects that can cause
depression. That’s why, he said, it’s
important to understand the types
of medicines being taken and to seek
medical advice. Ruling out medications should be one of the first steps.
actually cause depression,” Grammer said, “so there’s an interplay
between the two.”
For example, “if you have diabetes and are depressed, your total
risk for medical complications associated with diabetes increases. Your
glycemic control is likely to worsen.
Conversely, if you have diabetes and
poor glycemic control, you are at
increased risk of depression.”
Grammer than provided other
examples of interplays between depression and illness or disease, including rhetoric arthritis, coronary
disease, cancer and pain. He said
there are many more.
Depression does a number of
things to the body, including elevating cortisol levels, which leads to
Why treat it?
a number of problems. Depression
“Depression can beget medi- can also cause severe cognitive defical illness and medical illness can cits such as memory problems, he
HOMESTEAD - Soldiers,
Sailors, Airmen, Marines
and civilians assigned to U.S.
Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH)
welcomed U.S. Army Brig.
Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag as the
14th commander of SOCSOUTH, based at Homestead, during an assumption
of command ceremony, Sept.
Marine Gen. John F. Kelly,
the combatant commander
of U.S. Southern Command
(SOUTHCOM), presided
over the ceremony.
In his remarks, Gen. Kelly welcomed Sonntag and
his family to the command
and the South Florida area.
He also talked about SOCSOUTH’s accomplishments
in support of USSOUTHCOM such as building partner nation capacity in order
to improve security from
transnational organized
crime throughout the Western Hemisphere, as well as
ongoing partnerships with
nations from the Caribbean,
Central and South America.
Master Sgt. Alex Licea | SOCSOUTH
Army Brig. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag speaks to service
members and civilians after taking command of Special
Operations Command South during an assumption of
command ceremony Sept. 16 at the command’s headquarters in Homestead. Sonntag is the 14th commander in
SOCSOUTH’s history.
During his first remarks
as the commander of SOCOSOUTH, Sonntag talked
about the great legacy of
SOCSOUTH and working
alongside the service members of the command.
“The privilege of leading
our nation’s finest is something I do not nor will ever
take lightly,” he said. “I am
ready to roll up my sleeves
and get to work alongside of
everyone here.”
Sonntag arrives at SOCSOUTH after serving as
the deputy commander of
the U.S. Army Special Operations Command based
in Fort Bragg, N.C. He is a
graduate of the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point. He
has served in various leadership positions in his 28-year
military career including
deployments in support of
combat operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan. Sonntag
Lt. Joe Nawrocki | SOCSOUTH
Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, hands the U. S.
Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) unit colors to Army Brig. Gen. Kurt
L. Sonntag officially making him the commander of SOCSOUTH during an assumption
of command ceremony Sept. 16 at the command’s headquarters in Homestead, Fla.
Sonntag is the 14th commander in SOCSOUTH history.
is married and he has two
noted. Unfortunately, even once the
depression is resolved, these cognitive effects often linger and can even
worsen. The important thing to do is
to prevent more episodes of depression or things can quickly spiral.
A number of treatment options
for depression are available, Grammer said.
One option that a lot of people
choose is to simply do nothing, he
said. About 40 percent of depressed
people will get better on their own,
but some could go on to develop major depression.
Not treating depression can lead
to loss of productivity, he noted. Last,
year, there was an estimated $83 billion in lost productivity in U.S.
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Friday, September 26, 2014 | THE RED 7 | Page Page | THE RED 7 | Friday, September 26, 2014
Special Ops Command stresses
preservation of force
By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense
Media Activity
‘We’re all Army boys here,’ lunch group member declares
of the bunch, who served
Northwest Florida Daily News during the Korean War.
Ret. Col. Burt
Prutzman is the youngest
ICEVILLE — Evat 71 years old.
ery week for
“We had to get his
about 20 years, a mother to sign for him,”
group of retired
joked Ret. Brig. Gen. Curt
Soldiers have met at the
Hoglan, who is 80.
Bluewater Bay Golf Club for
While the men are
happy to share some
The rowdy bunch of
stories of their lunches
men, now in their 70s
at the club, other tales
and 80s, get together
are shrouded in a little
each Wednesday, order
mystery, such as that time
sandwiches or salads and in the parking lot when
Prichard was challenged
“Some of us have heard by a guy with a pistol.
the same stories sevThe group originally
eral times now, but no one got together to play golf,
seems to mind,” said Ret.
but these days it is difCol. Johnnie Prichard.
ficult for many of the men
At a recent lunch, the 83to get out on the course.
year-old was joined by a
“Fifteen years ago we
dozen other experienced
would have 35 Army guys
soldiers, including six reevery week for Army golf,”
tired generals.
said Maj. Gen. Jim MusThe lunch is something selman, who is 75. “Now
the men look forward to
we’re lucky if we can get a
each week. Their confoursome.”
versations often turn to
Prichard said new
politics and sometimes in- members are more than
clude playful jabs at other welcome to join.
branches of the military.
“We are kind of like a
“This is an Air Force
close-knit fraternity,” he
town, but we’re all Army
said. “We would like to
boys here,” said Ret. Col.
get some young blood in
Doug Ciley, 88, the eldest
combat the demands on the
nation’s special operations
forces, U.S. Special Operations Command has made
its Preservation of the Force
and Family initiative a priority, the program’s director
said Sept. 17.
Speaking at the Defense
Centers of Excellence for
Psychological Health and
Resilience Summit in Falls
Church, Virginia, Navy Capt.
Thomas Chaby said the program for the joint command’s
67,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines centers
on prevention by building
resilience and giving troops
the tools and strategies they
need to navigate combat’s
The program’s task force
came up with a holistic approach to address the problem of pressure on the force
and their families, to maintain and improve readiness,
operational effectiveness and
the immediate and long-term
well-being of the force.
“There are unique challenges in special operations,
[and] our commander felt we
needed to formally address
them,” Chaby said. “After
13 years of battle, we have
assessed that our force is
The program’s focus now
is to look ahead as special
operations forces continue to
operate in a dangerous world.
“There’s really no end to
where we are right now,” he
said of challenges the force
faces, noting that service
members stationed overseas
face the stresses of not getting adequate sleep and being
far away from their families,
among other issues.
Resilience builders
Using Defense Department resilience builders to
meet the needs of special operators, Chaby said, Socom
is looking at factors such as
strength and conditioning,
athletic training and nutrition
to extend operational readiness and to retain special
operations service members
onboard as leaders.
Typically, special operations has a high retention
rate, with operators serving
20 to 30 years, Chaby said.
“The demands on the body
are tough, and most extensive at 15 to 20 years [into
their careers], when they’re
[approaching] key leadership
If special operators break
down then, there are few on
whom to fall back, he added.
“We’re trying to preserve that
investment,” he said. “It can
take five years to create guys
who can go downrange and
do what they need to do. The
average age for an officer is
34, and enlisted, 29. In key
leadership positions, they’re
approaching 40 years old.”
An assessment showed a
“huge delta” between special
operators with characteristics consistent with alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety
and depression and seeking
the care they need, because
of the stigma of seeking behavioral health care, Chaby
“Sometimes there’s a
double or triple delta, and
that’s unacceptable,” he said.
“There’s a culture in the military, and it extends into unit
Socom leaders have prioritized stripping away the
stigma attached to seeking
help, Chaby said. “They challenge and educate their leaders every chance they get
and say, ‘Getting behavioral
health care is a good thing,’”
he added.
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desire From page 2
Above, retired Army officers (left to right) Joe Jellison (Brig. Gen.), John Crosby (Lt. Gen.), Butch Nobles (Col.) and
Curt Hoglan (Brig. Gen.) listen to Okaloosa County Commissioner Kelly Windes during a recent gathering at the Bluewater Bay Golf Club Bar and Grill.
At top, a group of retired soldiers have been meeting at the Bluewater Bay Golf Club for decades.
Also when people are depressed, it affects their family members and co-workers
and can even lead them to
become depressed as well.
“Depression feeds on itself,” Grammer said. “Every
time you have a depressive
episode it increases the risk
that you’ll have more. People with three depressive
episodes have a 90 percent
chance of having more.” For
these people, “treatment
might need to be indefinite,
even after symptoms are
Treatment for mild to
moderate depression often
responds well to psychotherapy, he said. Cognitive
behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy are
good. So is lifestyle modification such as that advocated
by the Army’s Performance
Triad, which focuses on improved sleep, activity and
But treating severe depression is much more difficult, he said. “Psychotherapy
or behavioral modification
alone may not resolve” it.
Also, there’s no conclusive
evidence that one type of antidepressant medication is better than another. It’s is best to
consult with a physician.
Finally, it is important not
to confuse other illnesses
such as bipolar with medication. Drugs for these are
different than for severe depression. Again, he urged,
people who may be suffering from depression to seek
medical care and advice.
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Friday, September 26, 2014 | THE RED 7 | Page Page | THE RED 7 | Friday, September 26, 2014
80,000 vets with ptsd could gain discharge upgrades
Magnolia Grill
have existed at the time
of discharge,” it is to be “a
mitigating factor” in the
misconduct that generated
an Other Than Honorable,
also then called Undesirable, discharge.
Hagel likely is reacting
to several recent developments including a federal
class action lawsuit filed
last March on behalf of
Vietnam veterans, which
generated a wave of publicity and attracted an
influential advocate in
Hagel’s former Senate colleague, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Blumenthal said last
week that many veterans
went to war when PTSD
“was undiagnosed and
untreated” and it “caused
many of them, particularly
from the Vietnam era, to
be given less than honorable discharges.”
The Veterans Legal
Services Clinic at Yale
University Law School
filed the class action
lawsuit, Monk v. Mabus,
with five combat veterans and three veterans’
organizations named as
plaintiffs. Their complaint
says that as a result of
undiagnosed PTSD, these
veterans were unable to
perform assigned duties
and were discharged for
misconduct attributable to
post-traumatic stress. Yet
over the years, the lawsuit
contends, the military “has
near-categorically refused
to correct these wrongful
One plaintiff, Conley
Monk, 66, joined the Marine Corps at age 20. Nine
months later he was in
Quang Tri Province, South
Vietnam, flinching at enemy mortar rounds and
sniper fire and, for him,
living in a nightmarish
habitat of mosquitoes and
snakes, so different from
what he had known.
The day he arrived in
Vietnam with the 9th Motor Transport Battalion,
3rd Marine Division, the
airport came under a
barrage of mortar fire.
From July through November 1969, he drove
troop trucks and “many
times we would be under
fire,” he recalled. “Every
day I prayed God would
bring me back home to the
United States.”
When his unit redeployed to Okinawa, but return to Vietnam remained
a terrifying possibility,
Monk said he suffered
flashbacks from undiagnosed post-traumatic
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worked a full career as
a substance abuse counselor in New Haven, Conn.
But today he has PTSD
and Type II diabetes, both
compensable conditions if
a Navy board will upgrade
his discharge to general or honorable. Hagel’s
guidelines have no effect
on Bad Conduct or Dishonorable discharges.
Advocates for Vietnam
vets point to a sharp contrast in their treatment
with that of Iraq and Afghanistan vets see today.
Under a recent policy
change to protect PTSD
victims, the services cannot separate a member
with bad paper discharge
without screening for
PTSD and traumatic
brain injury. The idea is
that members with behavioral issues might be
more deserving of mental
health care and a medical
discharge than a punitive
That wasn’t the mindset
during Vietnam and hasn’t
been the practice, even
recently, of boards for correction of records, writes
lawyer Rebecca Izzo in a
lengthy analysis of the issue published last spring
in Yale Law Journal.
Not “every veteran with
PTSD and a bad discharge
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stress. He used drugs too
and was absent without
One night on returning
to his unit, his sergeant
grabbed him and accused
him wrongly of theft. They
fought. At his non-judicial
punishment proceeding,
Monk said, “they offered
me an undesirable discharge. I wanted to be
relieved. I wanted to come
home from the military. I
accepted it.”
But Monk soon learned
a ticket home on a bad
discharge cost him a lot.
While friends attended
college on the GI Bill,
Monk needed student
loans. He wasn’t eligible
for a VA guaranteed home
loan or VA healthcare or
disability compensation,
which he sought for a foot
condition he blamed on
the dampness of Vietnam.
The wartime stress also
stuck around.
“I used to have nightmares of Vietnam,” Monk
said. “And whenever I
would hear [a vehicle]
backfire I would hit the
ground, thinking I was under fire. I would wake up
in the middle of the night
with cold sweats…change
my tee shirt and go back
to sleep.”
Fortunately for Monk
his “bad paper” didn’t
impact employment. He
Other Than
of the
who will
gain from
the new
during the
Vietnam War, before the
medical community recognized PTSD as a disabling
service-connected condition. PTSD only received a
medical diagnostic code in
1980, five years after that
war officially ended.
Hagel instructed boards
to give “liberal consideration” to any language
found in medical records
describing one or more
symptoms that meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD or
related conditions. Liberal
consideration also is to be
used when veterans’ civilian providers have diagnosed PTSD.
And where PTSD “is
reasonably determined to
As many as 80,000 veterans who suffered from
post-traumatic stress and
received Other Than Honorable discharges can use
evidence of their PTSD
to petition service boards
to upgrade the bad paper
At stake for individuals is removal of lifelong
stigmas that have scarred
reputations, limited job
prospects and blocked
critical veteran benefits.
Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel this month
directed that boards for
correction of military records or naval records begin to “fully and carefully
consider every petition
based on PTSD brought by
each veteran.”
His Sept. 3 memo gives
Army, Navy and Air Force
secretaries “supplemental
guidance” that boards are
to use when petitioners
seek discharge upgrades
claiming that unrecognized Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder caused
the misbehavior that led to
Member SIPC
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wake up Saturday morning
to a healthy breakfast and
yoga on the beach. All participants will receive goody
bags with beauty, wellness
and more. Cost is $30 per
person and includes a single
tent, camping equipment,
snacks, beverages, breakfast, and yoga instruction.
Register as a group for a 2-4person tent and pay only $20
per person. For information
and to sign up, call Outdoor
Rec, 882-5058.
Come out and join the
96th FSS and the Eglin
Fitness Center for Eglin’s
7th Annual Breast Cancer
Awareness 3-Mile Run/Walk
at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the
CE pavilion. Participation
is free to all base personnel,
no sign-up is required. Wear
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Following the race, a Breast
Cancer Awareness Costume
Contest will be held, with a
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Cardio, weights, fun and
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deserves an upgrade,” Izzo
wrote. “However, under
current practice, the [Army Board for Correction
of Military Record] consistently disregards later
evidence of PTSD, making
it nearly impossible for veterans with bad discharges
arising from conduct due
to undiagnosed PTSD to
get discharge upgrades.”
Hagel’s guidance will
address that criticism.
“We are very excited
about the memo,” said
Emma Kaufman, a law student and intern at the Yale
clinic that filed the classaction lawsuit. “It is the
foundation for a good solution [but not] a complete
The lawsuit will remain
active until plaintiffs are
satisfied with how the services are implementing the
guidance, to include effective outreach to impacted
veterans on how and why
to petition boards for better discharges.
The Yale team came
up with an 80,000 estimate
of Vietnam veterans impacted both by PTSD and
having undesirable or OTH
Kaufman said vets
who want help petitioning
boards can call the legal
services clinic at (203)
436-9270 or search for legal
services in their communities at Stateside Legal
Services’ website: http://
Tom Philpott is a syndicated
columnist. You may write to
him at Military Update, P.O.
Box 231111, Centreville, VA
20120-1111; or at [email protected]
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festival on Sunday. Easy pay
is available with the balance
due Oct. 4. ITT/882-5930.
Trunk or Treat
Get your spook on for this
year’s “Trunk or Treat” Fall
Festival event. Bring the
whole family at 5 p.m. Oct. 24
to Post’l Point for a fun-filled
event featuring contests for
Best Costumes and Best
Decorated Trunks. There
will be plenty of candy, popcorn, candied apples, treats
and prizes to collect, face
painting, a haunted hayride
to enjoy and more. The event
features kid-friendly music
with the opportunity to participate in a Thriller Flash
Mob and movies on the big
screen. Festival admission
is free for all base personnel
and families so scare up the
whole bunch and join us for a
not-too-frightening fun time.
This workshop scheduled Outdoor Rec / 882-5058.
from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sept.
27-28 and is open to fitness
enthusiasts, fitness instructors, Yoga instructors and
students who would like information on how Yoga can
help release physical and
Interested in decoratemotional trauma as well
ing your trunk and bringing
as help with PTSD. Cost is
treats for the kids? Outdoor
reimbursable for active duty
Rec is looking for organizamilitary, military spouses,
tions, clubs, families and
retirees and other eligible
individuals who would like
attendees. For information,
to participate in this event,
contact Eglin Fitness Cenwith prizes for Best Decoter Annex staff at 883-9127;
rated Trunk! Volunteers are
Loretta Glasgow, 603-1910,
also needed. Can’t decorate
[email protected]; or
your trunk, but still want
Whitney Turner, 602-363to get involved? Volunteers
9600, [email protected]
for Eglin’s “Trunk or Treat” Register at www.
event are needed to set up
and take down event deco-
YogaFit for
11 Racetrack Rd NW, Suite E4
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
volunteers Trunk or Treat
550 Redstone Ave, Suite 410
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 682-0032 •
Festival Calle
Orange in Orlando
rations and to help with the
night’s activities. For information, stop by Outdoor Rec
or call 882-5058.
Family Fun Golf
It’s family fun on the Falcon Course every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Each adult
accompanied by a child age
17 or under pays a half-price
green fee and the child plays
for free. Forward tees will be
used on the course to make
playing as a family easier
and more fun. For information, contact the Golf Course
at 882-2949.
Fall Parking Lot sale
Start cleaning out your
garage. All that old stuff
you aren’t using and bring
it to the Parking Lot Sale
on Oct. 25 to make some
cash. Everyone with base
access is invited to shop or
sell at Eglin’s Parking Lot
Sale on Georgia Avenue, located across from the Eglin
Conference Center and Exchange Mini Mall. Space for
sellers is free. Sellers should
be ready to sell at 8:30 a.m.
when the event opens to
shoppers, and ends at 12:30
p.m. Restrooms will be available at the Mini Mall. Note:
sellers are asked not to offer
live animals or guns for sale.
For information, visit www. or call
3rd Annual Eglin
Zombie Stomp
Run for your life at Eglin’s
3rd Annual Zombie Stomp, a
4.4-mile race complete with
exciting challenges and plenty of zombies. Race begins at
2 p.m. on Oct. 25, and includes
an after party with food,
drinks and music. Registration is required for runners
and spectators at
com. Last day for runners to
register online is Friday, Oct.
17 or until race participation
reaches 700. For details, call
883-1682 or visit

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