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Iraq War Over But Military Re-entry May be Difficult

Study points out issues when service members trying to readjust when they return home.

Now that the Iraq War has been declared over many military personnel will be returning to civilian life, or at least returning to the U.S. for some rest and relaxation.

The Pew Research Center has published a fascinating study that everyone in the U.S. should at least glance at to better understand what military duty means in terms of the readjustment those who served (as well as their families) have to face.

Most Had Easy Time Readjusting

In a survey of almost 2,000 veterans the center found that 72 percent of them say they had a relatively easy time readjusting.  About 27 percent said they had a difficult time, but that number increases significantly – 44 percent – among veterans who served in the 10 years since September 11, 2001.

Image by MDGovpics via Flickr

Why do some veterans have a harder time readjusting than others?  The people at the Pew Center boiled it down to several variables.  One, officers and college graduates were more likely to have an easier time readjusting. Second, among military personnel who felt they well understood what their service mission was all about had an easier time when they returned home. Third, the veterans who saw some of the worst of the war who had a traumatic experience or were wounded had more problems after they came home.  Fourth, those who served in a combat zone and/or or new someone who died or received serious injury found themselves having a harder time adjusting.

Read Full Report Online

Another factor, although not as evident, was that veterans who were married had a harder time readjusting, and found it more difficult than was the case among veterans of previous military conflicts.  Also, the Pew Center said that personnel with strong religious beliefs fared better when they came home.

There is much more information and interesting reading in the report, which can be accessed at http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/12/08/the-difficult-transition-from-military-to-civilian-life/?src=prc-headline.

There are many things people at the home front can do to help returning soldiers – jobs, community support for their families, etc. As the troops come home – and as troops continue to battle in Afghanistan and serve elsewhere around the world – perhaps some of the best and simplest advice this writer has heard from many people is when you meet a returning veteran (or any other service member), just extend your hand and say “thank you.”  It’ll help.

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  1. CletaB

    On December 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm


    Very informative!

  2. dazzlejazz

    On December 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm


    I couldn’t even begin to imagine what some of those guys see and have to deal with.
    Personally, I’d much prefer things were sorted out between two countries like in the Frankie goes to Hollywood video for ‘Two tribes’ – stick the two leaders in a boxing ring and let them fight it out between themselves, sure as hell save many, many innocent lives wouldn’t it.

    Great article.

  3. faizalhuda

    On December 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm


    Good one.

  4. Karen Gross

    On December 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm


    Amazing that anyone in the Middle East is still alive. It would be hell to live and raise a family there.

  5. iva75cpb

    On December 20, 2011 at 4:14 am


    I hope the survivors of this war will manage to leave the horror behind and start a new life. No more wars like this, please.

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