UPDATED 27 February 2012

Are we killing our Soldiers?

The way to solve the Soldier's Load problem is to look at him HOLISTICALLY and vigorously examine every ounce of gear carried to reduce weight

Part 1: Inefficient Daily Time Schedule results in a Lack of Sleep

"Space and territory I can recover; time, NEVER".


As bad as the conflicts in Iraq/Afghanistan are, the sad truth is that more Soldiers die each year in preventable accidents and suicides.

Each year, 40,000-50,000 Americans die in personally owned vehicle accidents. The major cause break-down is as follows:

17,000 deaths due to speeding
13,000 deaths due to driving drunk
2,600 deaths due to not wearing seatbelts
1,500 deaths due to driving from a lack of sleep

Army leaders (many are actually TOXIC BUREAUCRATS) claim that "Soldier welfare and safety" are priorities and its time we hold them to this and stop this scourge that takes away combat power before we even get to the battlefield. The new Army Chief of Staff, General Peter Schoomaker has said:

"This is a game of wits and will. You've got to be learning and adapting constantly to survive."

How are we going to be ALERT to adapt and stay alive if we are not getting enough sleep? and driving them to drink? The Soldiers we are losing could be the ones who destroy that enemy bunker and win the Congressional Medal of Honor that saves a battalion, or after Army duty discover the cure for cancer, or be their to render CPR to save another life--maybe yours. However we will never know in this life what human potential was lost because these Soldier's lost their lives in preventable tragedies. To prevent these losses of Army Soldier power, ALL factors will be placed on the table to include the entire U.S. Army lifestyle and ingrained ways of operating--our very culture.

There are no bad Soldiers--just bad Leaders

As reservists coming from civilian life, we offer a fresh perspective to what's going on. Comparing/contrasting the physical and mental well-being of men from before they were mobilized to now after they've been on active duty for over half a year for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, some dramatic realizations are apparent. After 8 months of working out every day and in some cases twice a day, many of our Soldiers still cannot run fast enough to pass the current Army sports PT test, primarily the 2-mile run; while time standards vary with age/sex, generally everyone need to run at an 8 minute-a-mile pace to pass. While everyone is burning more calories and have lost weight to not appear civilian chubby to fit the Army machismo ("macho") narcissist image, we find entire units groggy and constantly tired. Its obvious that on a daily basis, our men are not getting enough rest so their bodies can recover from PT to be of maximum--or in some older Soldiers' case--any good. The Army 19th century harassment mentality insists that those that have not passed the current absurd, combat-irrelevant sports PT test are "inferior beings" to be punished and must do PT twice a day and thus the people that need the rest the most to gain in strength and aerobic conditioning--get the least. The snobby elitist mentality that seeks to find/create scapegoats to be ostracized and eventually "run out of the Army" sours the entire atmosphere of a unit and destroys teamwork at every opportunity by an "us" and "them" mentality. Knowing your toxic bureaucrats aka "leaders" are eager to throw you to the wolves is not loyalty from the top down. The blame-the-individual-Soldier-for-everything mentality also does not mentor these Soldiers at risk by running with them to see if their stride mechanics could be improved, their running form enhanced and breathing/pace worked on, or even if the very act of running on pavement in sports attire is relevant to combat fitness or wise in light of the dozens of foot, ankle, knee and back injured Soldiers flocking to morning sick call attests--things that leaders who care and want their men to succeed would do as in a civilian cross-country team or successful business. If the Army is going to do sports distance running, then it should be at least as good at it as high school track and cross country teams--clearly its not. Instead, the Army is run by an anti-analyze-the-problem-and-solve-it, blue-collar, fix-yourself-or-you-will-be-destroyed mentality that makes waking up each morning and wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army a loathsome chore when it should be a joy to be amongst a band of brothers pulling for each other to succeed. All of these things are signs of an organization failing to intelligently and with the right moral values, overcome a challenge; in this case, a mere sports run in t-shirt and shorts for time. I'm sure if a high a school cross-country coach were put in charge of our Soldiers having trouble with their 2 mile runs they'd in short order be not only passing the test but would become COMPETITIVE with the "speed demons" in their unit. The difference? Civilian coaches would motivate and inspire not brow beat and make the training productive in any way it needs to be not counter-productive and demeaning. Adults don't run asshole clubs. The U.S. military is filled with units run as asshole clubs.

An Army not getting enough sleep?

However, as we worried about the plight of some good Soldiers getting forced out of the Army because after months of inadequate preparation/rest they do not run like skinny x-country teens, we pondered our own experiences with a lack of sleep driving Personally Owned Vehicles (POVs) and wondered if there is a linkage to the overall lack of sleep during an active duty Army day to these needless fatalities we keep on reading about in civilian life and around the Army?

We're convinced there is.

If you look at the mandated XVIII Airborne Corps work day, formation at 0630 for PT and the day ending at 1700 gives the Soldier only 6 hours of human life to unwind after he drives off post to home. If he lives on post, the stress of Army life never actually leaves him; try it sometime and you'll see. If he goes shopping for food, does laundry, he then only has 5 hours of waking life 'til midnight. If he goes to sleep at midnight, he has to wake up at 5am to have 30 minutes to shower/shave and leave at 5:30 to get to the unit at 6am to be early and not late for formation or suffer the wrath of the toxic bureaucrats aka assholes. Thus, on the average, Soldiers in the XVIII Airborne Corps get less than the recognized 6 hours of sleep the average human being on planet earth needs each day. If the Soldier wants to get 8 hours of sleep he has to go to bed at 9pm each day. This means after he leaves work and goes home, he has just 3 hours of life to himself each day.

With such little time is there any point even going home? Maybe if we had the BATTLEBOX system....

Is it a wonder then that Soldier's family lives are in chaos, stress and dis-array?

Is it a wonder Soldiers commit suicide?

SIDEBAR 1: At least 17 U.S. troops have committed suicide in Iraq

By RANDALL RICHARD, AP National Writer

Corpus Christi Coastal Bend South Texas news, information, events calendar

November 22, 2003

Rebecca Suell wants answers, and not the ones the U.S. Army is giving her.

Why does the Army keep calling the last letter her husband sent to her, the one he mailed from Iraq on June 15, a suicide note? Can taking a bottle of Tylenol really kill you? And how did he get his hands on a bottle of Tylenol in the middle of the desert anyway?

The questions may differ, but experts say the desperate search for answers and the denial are usually the same.

Since April, the military says, at least 17 Americans 15 Army Soldiers and two marines have taken their own lives in Iraq. The true number is almost certainly higher. At least two dozen non-combat deaths, some of them possible suicides, are under investigation according to an AP review of Army casualty reports.

No one in the military is saying for the record that the suicide rate among forces in Iraq is alarming. But Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American military commander in Iraq, was concerned enough, according to the Army Surgeon General's office, to have ordered a 12-person mental health assessment team to Iraq to see what more can be done to prevent suicides and to help troops better cope with anxiety and depression.

Army spokesman Martha Rudd said the assessment team returned from Iraq two weeks ago, but that it will take several weeks to come up with recommendations. Until then, she said, no one on the team will have anything to say to the press.

Whether the suicide rate among the troops should be considered high is impossible to say because there is nothing to compare it with, experts say. What would be considered a "normal" rate for an all-voluntary military force of men and women on extensive deployments to the Middle East, under constant pressure from guerrillas who use terror tactics?

Rudd said that by the Army's calculations, its suicide rate in Iraq is roughly 12 per 100,000 well below the civilian suicide rate for U.S. men of 17.5 suicides per 100,000. The comparison is misleading, however.

The civilian rate is an annual figure, and the Iraq figure covers only about seven months. Furthermore, the troops have not yet spent their first holiday season in Iraq a time when the risk of suicide is traditionally at its highest.

The troops in Iraq include thousands of women, who typically have a lower suicide rate than men. And the Army figure does not include possible suicides among the non-combat deaths yet to be explained.

Whatever the 12-month suicide figure turns out to be, the Army is not satisfied that it is low enough. The Army has an extensive suicide prevention program, with Soldiers "all the way down the chain" of command trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how best to intervene, Rudd said.

"Zero suicides is our goal," she said. "We may not get there, but we're going to try."

[EDITOR: Oh really? Are you willing to reform the Army from its asshole club culture to do this?]

In all, 422 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. The military has characterized 129 of the deaths as "non-hostile," including 105 since President Bush officially declared major hostilities over on May 1. Most if not all the confirmed suicides occurred after May 1, according to the military. According to an AP analysis of military reports, non-combat deaths include 13 caused by a weapons discharge, two from drowning, one from breathing difficulties and one described only as "medical." An additional 13 are listed with no cause given.

For Rebecca Suell and many of the families of Soldiers who are believed to have killed themselves in Iraq, answers are as hard to come by as sleep.

Night after night, Suell said, she lies awake asking herself the same questions.

Why, as sad and as tired of Iraq as he said he was, would her husband take his own life when she had just told him how much she loved him, how much the kids missed him and needed him?

Why would a man who loved the Lord so much who told her on the day he died that he felt he was getting closer and closer to God every day defy his Lord's strictures against taking his own life?

But the more she sobs, the clearer it becomes that Joseph D. Suell, posthumously promoted to sergeant, was in crisis the day he died so desperate to come home that he even asked his wife to talk to his commanding officer.

And she did.

She told him, she said, how life was so hard without her husband, how going to nursing school and working at Wal-Mart and trying to raise three children, all at the same time, was too much for her to bear alone.

She told him how her husband had no sooner finished serving a year and half in Korea than he was sent to Iraq, that in five years as a Soldier she had been with him less than 18 months.

She told his commanding officer that their youngest daughter didn't even know her father, that he was away the day she was born, and that all her husband really wanted was to be at home with his family in Lufkin, Texas, for Christmas.

Just a month or two, she begged, and then you can have him back.

His commanding officer, she said, told her that the Army was doing everything it could to get him back to her but that he couldn't promise it would happen in time for Christmas.

The Army will not talk about Suell's death, nor does it publish, out of concern for the families, the names of Soldiers who have killed themselves in Iraq.

But Rudd, the Army spokesman, said it is not unusual for family members to question whether a loved one's death was a suicide. It is for that reason, she said, that it often takes months to complete an investigation into a soldiers death.

For the sake of the family, Rudd said, "we need to be absolutely certain."

In many respects, Joseph Suell does not fit the profile of a Soldier who commits suicide. Typically, mental health experts said, such suicides are triggered by a "Dear John" message from home.

Even among civilians, one of the common triggers "is a rupture of a relationship," said David Shaffer, a Columbia University psychiatrist and former consultant for the Department of Defense.

But there are always deeper reasons, usually far murkier and far more complex, experts said. Like the wars they fight, no two Soldiers who commit suicide face the same mix of potentially deadly stress.

"In most previous conflicts you went, you fought, you came home," Rudd said. "In this one they went, they fought, they're still there."

Rudd said she knows of no studies that show a definitive correlation between length of deployment and military suicide rates. But Michelle Kelley, a psychiatrist who studies deployment-related stress for the Navy, said the longer the deployment, the greater the strain on a relationship with a loved one.

The military, she said, needs to be especially watchful for anxiety and depression among its troops in the weeks ahead. For civilian and Soldier alike, the Christmas season and depression go hand in hand, Kelley said. But for a Soldier, she added, a weapon is always at hand.

Soldiers, she said, must be encouraged to seek help when they need it. For that reason, she expressed concern about the case of PFC. Georg-Andreas Pogany.

The Soldier, assigned to a Green Beret interrogation team, began throwing up after seeing the severed body of an Iraqi civilian three days after being deployed to Iraq. After seeking help for a self-described anxiety attack, he was ordered back to the United States and became the first Soldier since Vietnam charged with cowardice--a charge later reduced to dereliction of duty. [EDITOR: typical reaction by the Army Asshole Club]

That, Kelley said, is "the last thing you want to do" if you want Soldiers to seek help in times of stress.... You need to make it clear to those people who have witnessed something traumatic that they need to talk about it that they won't be stigmatized for doing so and that it's not going to follow them through their military career."

Shaffer, the Columbia University psychiatrist, said it is not that simple. A commanding officer's decision to file a cowardice charge might, in some circumstances, even be a morale boost for the Soldiers under his command, he said.

Shaffer warned against drawing any conclusions based on the number of suicides in Iraq.

Suicide rates vary greatly over time, he said, and also vary with race, ethnicity, religion and other factors. African-Americans, for example, have a lower suicide rate than the general U.S. population. So do those who describe themselves as deeply religious. Drug use, alcoholism and a low education level, on the other hand, are correlated with higher suicide rates.

A comparison of the suicide rate among troops in Iraq with troops in other wars such as Vietnam are meaningless, he said, because the makeup of the fighting forces were so different. (According to the Army, there are no reliable statistics on the suicide rate during the Vietnam War.)

Shaffer said there is also some evidence that those who serve in the Army for a long time have a higher suicide rate than civilians. This is probably because "some longstanding servicemen do develop alcohol problems over time, and alcohol use is very strongly related to suicide," he said.

Rudd, the Army spokesman, also adds something else to the mix:

"Technology today allows people to connect with the home front much more quickly and intimately and often than in previous conflicts," she said. That's not necessarily a good thing if the news from home is bad. Young people can be impulsive, she said, "and Dear John letters and things like that can be very upsetting to a young Soldier."

For Rebecca Suell, who so badly wanted her husband back, there are still only questions.

Why, she demands to know, her voice rising in anger, did the Army send her husband to Iraq after he had mangled his arm in Korea? After they discovered that his asthma was getting worse?

She has taken her 4-year-old daughter, Jada, to the cemetery, she said. "I've told her, 'That's where your daddy lives now right next to your grandfather. And that's where we will all live someday, next to the people we love most.' But she doesn't understand."

So what is she supposed to tell Jada, Rebecca Suell said, the next time she asks: "When is my daddy coming home?'"

Or there are high divorce rates?

Is it a wonder Army Soldiers are dying each day in places like Iraq? Whatever happened to "BE ALERT, STAY ALIVE"? Whatever happened to LEADERSHIP? Club Asshole is not leadership.

SIDEBAR 2: Army culture brags about a lack of sleep?


Washington Times: Inside the Ring, December 12, 2003
By Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough

Parts of a letter from a 1st Armored Division platoon leader to his friends back home - the division is assigned to maintain security in Baghdad:

"The last two things I wanted to mention was morale and dealing with loss. The level of morale here in Iraq is a mixed bag. Overall, I think it's moderately high considering the environment, working conditions, and stress Soldiers are put under everyday. Imagine being a young 19-21 year old lower enlisted Soldier with no more than a high school degree being asked to work 100-hour weeks (at least 14 hours a day, seven-days-a-week) in a highly dangerous and terminally thankless job thousands of miles away from home.

"It's tough, but their spirits are holding up well, especially since the two-week R&R leave program has started. Though troubled by the increases in attacks and body count lately, the troops here are undeterred, and if anything, more focused. They want nothing more than to do their job well, and go home safely to their families. It's inspiring to see, and it's unfortunate that the vast majority of the American public will never see, or fully appreciate the bravery they exhibit everyday."

SIDEBAR 3: Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Vehicular Accidents: 49 deaths out of 437 = 11.21% or 1/10th as of November 5, 2003...


1. Spc. Ronald D. Allen Jr., 22
502nd Personnel Service Battalion, 43rd Area Support Group Mitchell, Indiana
Died of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident that occurred while he was conducting convoy operations near Balad, Iraq on August 25, 2003

2. LCPL Brian E. Anderson, 26
2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Durham, North Carolina
Killed in a vehicle accident west of Nasiriya, Iraq, on April 2, 2003

3. SPC Michael Andrade, 28
115th Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Bristol, Rhode Island
Died of injuries received when a five-ton truck hit the Humvee he was riding in in Balad, Iraq, on September 24, 2003

4. PFC Chad E. Bales, 20
1st Transportation Support Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group, Coahoma, Texas
Killed on April 3 in a non-hostile vehicle accident during convoy operations east of Ash Shahin, Iraq

5. LTC Dominic R. Baragona, 42
19th Maintenance Battalion, III Corps Artillery, Niles, Ohio
Killed in a vehicle accident on May 19, 2003, in Iraq

6. PFC Wilfred D. Bellard, 20
41st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Killed when his vehicle fell into a ravine in Iraq on April 4, 2003

7. TSGT Bruce E. Brown, 32
78th Logistics Readiness Squadron, U.S. Air Force, Coatopa, Alabama
Killed in a vehicle accident on September 4, 2003, near Al Udeid, Qatar

8. LCPL Cedric E. Bruns, 22
6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Force Service Support Group, Vancouver, Washington
Killed May 9, 2003, in a non-hostile vehicle accident in Kuwait

9. SGT Travis L. Burkhardt, 26
170th Military Police Company, Edina, Missouri
Killed when the vehicle he was in hit a curb along the road and rolled over on June 6, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

10. SPC Nathaniel A. Caldwell, 27
404th Air Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Omaha, Nebraska
Killed when his vehicle rolled over while responding to a civilian call on May 21, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

11. PFC Jose Casanova, 23
1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, El Monte, California
Killed when an Iraqi dump truck swerved and rolled over on top of his Humvee in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 13, 2003

12. SGT Sean K. Cataudella, 28
1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Tucson, Arizona
Died when the military vehicle he was driving hit an embankment and rolled into a canal in Baqubah, Iraq, on August 30, 2003

13. 1SG Christopher D. Coffin, 51
Headquarters Company, 352nd Civil Affairs Command, U.S. Army Reserve, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Killed when his vehicle ran into a ditch while trying to avoid a civilian vehicle on Highway 8 in Iraq on July 1, 2003

14. SPC Daniel Francis J. Cunningham, 33
41st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Lewiston, Maine
Killed when his vehicle fell into a ravine in Iraq on April 4, 2003

15. SSG Wilbert Davis, 40
3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hinesville, Georgia
Killed when his vehicle ran off the road into a canal in Iraq on April 3, 2003

16. SPC Michael T. Gleason, 25
519th Military Intelligence Battalion, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, Warren, Pennsylvania
Killed in a vehicle accident while traveling in convoy during a storm on May 30, 2003, between Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq

17. SPC Richard A. Goward, 32
1460th Transportation Co., Army National Guard, Midland, Michigan
Killed April 14, 2003, in a vehicle accident in Iraq

18. SPC Kyle A. Griffin, 20
519th Military Intelligence Battalion, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, Emerson, New Jersey
Killed in a vehicle accident while traveling in convoy during a storm on May 30, 2003, between Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq

19. SPC Kenneth W. Harris Jr., 23
212th Transportation Company, Army Reserves, Charlotte, Tennessee
Fatally injured in a two-vehicle accident that happened when a supply convoy came under small-arms fire southeast of Diwaniyah, Iraq on August 20, 2003

20. SGT Nathaniel Hart Jr., 29
260th Quartermaster Battalion, 24th Corps Support Group, 3rd Infantry Division, Valdosta, Georgia
Died of injuries he received when his vehicle went off the road and rolled over in Tillil, Iraq on July 28, 2003

21. SGT Nicholas M. Hodson, 22
3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment , Smithville, Missouri
Killed in a vehicle accident on March 23, 2003

22. PVT Devon D. Jones, 19
41st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, San Diego, California
Killed when his vehicle fell into a ravine in Iraq on April 4, 2003

23. SGT Jonathan W. Lambert, 28
Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Newsite, Mississippi
Died June 1 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, as a result of injuries he suffered when his Humvee rolled over on May 26, 2003, in Iraq

24. SPC Zachariah W. Long, 20
519th Military Intelligence Battalion, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, Milton, Pennsylvania
Killed in a vehicle accident while traveling in convoy during a storm on May 30, 2003, between Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq

25. LCPL Gregory E. MacDonald, 29
4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve Washington, D.C.
Killed when the light armored vehicle he was traveling in rolled over on June 25, 2003, in Iraq

26. CPL Douglas Jose Marencoreyes, 28
4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Chino, California
Killed when the large transport truck he was riding in rolled over southeast of Samawa, Iraq on May 18, 2003

27. PVT Kenneth A. Nalley, 19
501st Military Police Company, Hamburg, Iowa
Killed when a heavy equipment transporter than crossed the median and struck the Humvee he was in on May 26, 2003, in Samawa, Iraq

28. MAJ Kevin G. Nave, 36
3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Union Lake, Michigan
Killed in a vehicle accident in Iraq on March 26, 2003

29. SPC David T. Nutt, 22
129th Support Battalion, 101st Corps Support Group, 101st Airborne Division, Blackshear, Georgia
Killed on May 14, 2003, in a vehicle accident in Mosul, Iraq

30. LCPL Eric J. Orlowski, 26
2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Buffalo, New York
Killed on April 25, 2003, when his vehicle rolled over while traveling through rough terrain

31. 1LT Osbaldo Orozco, 26
1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Delano, California
Killed in a vehicle accident April 25, 2003, in Iraq

32. PFC Daniel R. Parker, 18
2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Lake Elsinore, California
Fatally injured when he thrown from his vehicle after the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle in another lane in Mosul, Iraq on August 12, 2003

33. SSG Brett J. Petriken, 30
501st Military Police Company, Omaha, Nebraska
Killed when a heavy equipment transporter than crossed the median and struck the Humvee he was in on May 26, 2003, in Samawa, Iraq

34. SSG Andrew R. Pokorny, 30
3rd Air Defense Artillery, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Naperville, Illinois
Killed when his M113 armored personnel carrier threw a track, causing it to roll over in Al Asad, Iraq on June 13, 2003

35. SGT Darrin K. Potter, 24
223rd Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Louisville, Kentucky
Killed when his vehicle overturned and entered a canal while responding to a mortar attack on Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, Iraq on September 29, 2003

36. PFC Brandon Ramsey, 21
933rd Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Calumet City, Illinois
Killed when his vehicle rolled over during a chase of a suspicious vehicle while on a convoy escort mission in Tallil, Iraq on August 8, 2003

37. CPL John T. Rivero, 23
C Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, Tampa, Florida
Killed April 17, 2003, in a Kuwait vehicle accident

38. SSG Cameron B. Sarno, 43
257th Transportation Company, Las Vegas, Nevada
Hit by a truck and killed while changing his vehicle's tire in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on September 1, 2003

39. SGT Juan M. Serrano, 31
1st Battalion, 37th Armor, 1st Armored Division, Manati, Puerto Rico
Died when a Humvee fell on him while changing a tire, inflicting a fatal head injury, in Baghdad, Iraq on July 24, 2003

40. LCPL Karl Shearer, 24
Household Cavalry Regiment, Hometown of record not available
Killed April 1, 2003, in an accident involving a light armored vehicle

41. LCPL Matthew R. Smith, 20
Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Force Service Support Group, Anderson, Indiana
Killed in a non-hostile vehicle accident in Kuwait on May 10, 2003

42. SGT Roderic A. Solomon, 32
2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Killed when a Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled off a cliff on March 28, 2003, in a non-hostile accident

43. LCPL Jason Andrew Tetrault, 20
7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Moreno Valley, California
Killed in a vehicle accident in Kuwait on July 9, 2003

44. SPC Jarrett B. Thompson, 27
946th Transportation Company, Army Reserves, Dover, Delaware
Died September 7, 2003, at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., from injuries suffered August 30 in a vehicle accident in Iraq

45. SPC Brandon S. Tobler, 19
671st Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Portland, Oregon
Died in a vehicle accident in Iraq on March 22, 2003

46. SPC Douglas J. Weismantle, 28
1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Killed when an Iraqi dump truck swerved and rolled over on top of his Humvee in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 13, 2003

47. LCPL William W. White, 24
3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Brooklyn, New York
Killed in a vehicle accident in Iraq on March 29, 2003

48. SFC Christopher R. Willoughby, 29
221st Military Intelligence Battalion, Army National Guard, Phenix City, Alabama
Died when the vehicle he was in rolled over in Baghdad, Iraq on July 20, 2003

49. SGT Henry Ybarra III, 32
D Troop, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry, 11th Aviation Regiment, Austin, Texas
Killed when the tire he was changing on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck exploded on September 11, 2003, in Balad, Iraq

Soldiers are not on a daily basis given adequate time to rest and unwind and its killing not only them due to lack of alertness while driving and doing other dangerous activities, but its ruining the Army as a whole as morale plummets made worse by extended 1 year+ combat deployments.

SIDEBAR 4: Military Weak Co-Dependant Culture cannot figure out why all these preventable deaths are happening

The real case of this is the sleepless, culture of non-thinking co-dependants who blindly follow orders afraid to "rock-the-boat" in Club Asshole to get more sleep ("you are a pussy, suck it up!") or get headlights fixed ("the TM says a broken headlight is NOT a deadline item to get high priority replacement parts"). I love the slow 45 mph convoy speed limit, is anyone telling the Stryker armored car liars that they ain't goin' 60 mph as they brag to the press? Iraq has become a blood bath of dead and maimed Americans sent to their deaths by uncaring officials who are clueless to realize its their own cultural BS that is the cause.

Accidents Outside Combat Take Toll on U.S. Military

Sun Jan 4,11:56 AM ET Add Top Stories - Los Angeles Times to My Yahoo!

Alan C. Miller and Kevin Sack Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON - Writing to his mother from Iraq (news - web sites) in early May, Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith said he planned to be home in Anderson, Ind., to celebrate his 21st birthday later that month.

He never made it.

It wasn't an enemy sniper or rocket-propelled grenade that ended the young marine reservist's life. After crisscrossing the desert for months at the wheel of a Humvee, Smith was speeding south along a northbound shoulder one night when he slammed his vehicle into an Army tractor-trailer abandoned on the side of the highway. He died of a massive head injury.

[Editor: why we need reflective rear covers to place on outside of abandoned cars on road shoulders]

Smith had been driving for 15 hours with little break, and the Humvee's radio, speedometer and seat belts were not functioning, said his lone passenger, Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Delk. One of its low-beam lights also was out, and Smith was using his high beams sparingly so as not to blind oncoming traffic. When the trailer suddenly materialized, there was no time to react. [EDITOR: another example of the U.S. military's ahem "supply system" not working--it's like "military intelligence"--an oxymoron for Type B personality lemming morons]

Months later, Smith's mother said her son's loss would somehow be easier to accept if he had been killed by hostile fire.

"It was a stupid accident; it shouldn't have happened," Patricia T. Smith said. "He'd be ticked off because he would think he didn't die the way a marine should die."

It is not only Iraqi resistance that is cutting down U.S. forces at an alarming rate. Since the war started on March 20, more than 80 have died in non-combat accidents. That's nearly one-fifth of the total fatalities among Soldiers. Many, like Smith, were killed in military vehicles. Others perished when helicopters crashed or weapons misfired.

This toll of preventable loss, which is by no means limited to the Middle East battlefront, has alarmed the Pentagon. A total of 575 servicemen and women died in accidents worldwide during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the second straight year non-combat fatalities have risen and a 64% increase since 1998. The death rate for active-duty personnel in accidents rose last year to the highest level in eight years - 35.63 per 100,000 individuals.

The recent increases occurred as the U.S. fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and troops found themselves in treacherous conditions and unfamiliar terrain. Nonetheless, most fatal accidents in the last three years occurred in the United States. In fact, half the fatalities happened in private motor vehicles - exacting a high price in lost Soldiers and increased health-care costs.

For a generation, accidents have proved far more deadly than combat or terrorism. Since 1980, more than 20,000 military personnel have died in accidents while fewer than 1,000 have perished in battle, Defense Department figures show.

By its nature, military service is dangerous. Those who enlist do so with the expectation that they may be put in harm's way.

[Editor: anyone telling this to the Army Rangers and marines? These folks think smugly they are superior to their brother Soldiers and trash-talk them that they are not worthy to wear things like berets.]

Nevertheless, the military had been steadily reducing its losses due to accidents, cutting its annual fatality figure by 56% between 1991 and 1998. But the reductions stopped the following year, even as private sector companies with high-risk activities, such as commercial airlines, continued to make impressive strides in reducing accidents. With the military rates climbing again, the magnitude of the losses has drawn concern at the highest levels. In May, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld challenged the heads of the services to cut the number and rate of accidents by half within two years.

"World-class organizations do not tolerate preventable accidents," he said. [EDITOR: then the DoD is NOT a world-class organization--it has "class" alright"--the attitude of the upper-class Illuminati who want the lower classes to die to meet their population reduction goals]. "These goals are achievable. We owe no less to the men and women who defend our nation." [EDITOR: How about that? Something Rumsfeld said that was TRUE and selfless. Too bad he didn't/doesn't mean it as an Illuminati member].

Rumsfeld spoke on a day when four marines died in Iraq in the accidental crash of their CH-46 helicopter into a canal and a fifth drowned trying to rescue them. But officials say the impetus for the secretary's initiative predated the war.

In response, the Pentagon created the Defense Safety Oversight Council - a group including senior Army, Navy and Air Force officials - to track accidents, determine why they are increasing and make recommendations. It can propose any steps it deems necessary, right up to grounding an aircraft as too dangerous, Defense officials said.

"Every accident that happens is another flag for us to address root causes," said Joseph J. Angello Jr., a Pentagon official who helps direct military readiness and serves as the council's executive secretary.

Rumsfeld's target would be ambitious in peacetime, but it is particularly challenging amid continuing warfare. Former Defense Department safety experts welcome Rumsfeld's attention to an issue that has long taken a back seat, but they express skepticism about the Pentagon's willingness to change a mind-set that accepts accidents as a cost of business.

"They've reached out a couple of times in the last two years to have industry work with them, to learn industry's best practices," said Richard F. Healing, a National Transportation Safety Board member and former Navy director of safety and survivability. "To date, that effort has suffered from a chronic lack of sufficient funding - not walking the talk."

Even now, major safety measures will have to compete with such expensive priorities as buying weapons, waging war and rebuilding Iraq.

Angello said the council hopes "implementation costs will be very small compared to the savings." [EDITOR: listen to the late comedian George Carlin--the rich don't care about YOU]

In recent years, cost savings have come at the expense of safety. To trim the budget, the number of safety positions in the Defense secretary's office dwindled from five to one in the 1990s. A single official now oversees aviation, weapons and transportation safety issues. Though the shift occurred during the Clinton administration, these safety jobs have not been restored under Rumsfeld.

"The song remains the same," said George W. Siebert, who directed safety and occupational health policy in the Defense secretary's office from 1984 to 1998 and recalls a 1986 challenge by then-Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger to reduce accidents.

"The services [bureaucracies] really want to run their own show. That's where the money is. That's where the clout is. Unless they get that partnership, you're not going to see any reductions."

As a first step, the council compiled statistics on accident costs and causes. Angello described the number of military injuries as "stunning."

Between Jan. 1, 2001, and the end of September 2003, the Army recorded 534 accidental deaths, the Navy, 291, the Air Force, 280, and the marines, 250, Defense Department figures show. Half died in private car and motorcycle accidents, 15% in aviation accidents and 5% each in military vehicle accidents and by drowning.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, as in the recent conflict in Afghanistan, far more Soldiers died from non-hostile causes, including sickness, suicide and accidents, than from enemy fire.

"You're talking about a very highly skilled, scarce commodity: the modern American service person," said Daniel Goure, a defense analyst and former Pentagon official. "You don't want to lose them at all, but you clearly don't want to lose them to accidents."

Many of the accidents occur at the intersection of bad judgment and faulty equipment. Take the crash that killed Matthew Smith.

Delk said the Humvee in which he and Smith were traveling was the communications vehicle for a long convoy ferrying troops and supplies between Kuwait and Iraq. The accident occurred at 10:30 p.m., and Smith had been at the wheel since 7 that morning, Delk said. He said that Smith declined when he offered to take over, but that it was not uncommon for Smith and others to drive 16 or more hours a day.

Because their radio didn't work, Delk said, he and Smith drove up and down the convoy to communicate with their commander on short-range walkie-talkies. He said they were racing along at about 60 mph in the emergency lane on the wrong side of an unlit road. "Over there," he said, "we drove on whatever side of the road we wanted."

The trailer "just came out of nowhere," Delk said. "The next thing I knew I heard us hit it and felt the back of the vehicle lift up and my head hit the back of the seat."

Smith, his face bleeding badly, was alive, but not for long, his companion said. Delk, who broke his leg and injured an arm, remains on active duty while recuperating in the U.S.

The Army accident investigation report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, largely held Smith responsible. It noted he was traveling against the flow of traffic, with limited visibility, at speeds far exceeding the 45 mph he had been ordered to drive.

The report did not mention the radio, speedometer or seat belts being broken, as Delk told The Times. It said Smith had "been given the opportunity to sleep for eight hours" before driving, consistent with marine regulations. And it noted that Smith was not wearing his seat belt and that neither he nor Delk had their helmets on as ordered, though it acknowledged that wearing one would not have prevented Smith's death.

Col. David G. Reist, commander of the marines' Transportation Support Group in Iraq, said no problems were noted with the Humvee's equipment in a routine check before the trip.

"Our unit drove 1.3 million miles in the war," Reist said. "We had one death. This happened two miles from the end of them coming home. This just tore my heart out."

Aircraft Crashes Rise

The trend for aviation accidents has also been troubling, with fatalities increasing by nearly a third over the last two years. In the 2002 fiscal year, 57 aircraft were destroyed in accidents, more than doubling the total from the previous year.

Also in 2002, accidental military aviation crashes cost more than $1 billion in lost aircraft, some upward of $50 million each. Sixty-one pilots and passengers died. [EDITOR: how many lives could have been saved had the passengers bailed out with parachutes?]

In contrast, no U.S. commercial passenger or cargo plane suffered a fatal crash in 2002.

Beyond the purely human toll, each fatality means an enormous lost investment for the military. Still, it often takes a series of deadly crashes before the military will make crucial safety improvements. Even when there is a pattern in multiple accidents, it can take years to secure the funds and install the equipment needed to fix the problem.

"Human error is a leading cause of mishaps," a 2002 Congressional Research Service report on military aviation safety found. But it also cited "aircraft age, pilot training, weather and other environmental conditions [and] mechanical failure and new aircraft designs" as factors.

Most military aircraft lack the safety features on commercial airplanes, which can sometimes prevent crashes caused by human error. The General Accounting Office (news - web sites), the investigative arm of Congress, reported last year that "the military services have lagged as much as two decades behind [the civilian Federal Aviation Administration in requiring the installation of cockpit technology in passenger-carrying aircraft to alert pilots to impending collisions."

There have been deadly consequences.

After a plane in his air wing narrowly avoided a head-on collision with two other military aircraft in Saudi Arabia in 1995, Lt. Col. Jay Lacklen, a safety chief at Dover Air Force Base, decided to search military files for other near misses. He discovered nearly a dozen.

Lacklen wrote letters up the chain-of-command urging the installation of a collision-avoidance system that was standard on commercial airliners. The system uses a computer to alert pilots when other planes are too close and guide them away from impending collisions.

The following year, an Air Force transport plane carrying Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown slammed into a mountain in Croatia. The Air Force then committed to equipping passenger-carrying aircraft with such a system, but did not make funding it a high priority.

Lacklen sent another warning letter Sept. 12, 1997: "When - not if - we smack two airplanes together, there will be no excuses and there will be no explanation why we delayed."

The following day, an Air Force C-141 transport plane collided with a German military plane at 35,000 feet off the African coast, killing all nine crew members on the U.S. plane and 24 on the German aircraft.

An investigation disclosed that the German plane was on the wrong flight path and that African air traffic controllers failed to notice it was on a collision course with the U.S. jet.

The lead Air Force investigator found that a collision avoidance system "could have prevented the accident."

In the aftermath, the Pentagon instructed the services to reallocate money to speed up installation of the warning device in passenger and cargo-carrying aircraft, including the C-141s.

Even then, the final C-141 didn't get the warning device until five years after the 1997 collision.

Relatives of those killed in the 1997 accident say it should not have taken such a tragedy to make the planes safer.

"If they're going to send these young men into hazardous areas, then they should have made the technology available to keep them safe," said Jean Bryant, whose son, Staff Sgt. Stacy D. Bryant, was among those killed. "They were there on behalf of their country. They had to give their lives because the system was not available."

The military has also lagged behind commercial aviation in the use of sophisticated flight data recorders (FDR), which can detect potential problems before they cause a crash.

"It has dramatically altered our accident-prevention program," said John Marshall, Delta Air Lines' vice president for corporate safety and compliance and a former Air Force fighter pilot.

Last year, Defense Undersecretary David S.C. Chu, who chairs the Pentagon safety council, successfully sought $15 million for the Navy, marines and Air Force to continue testing the technology in various aircraft.

Deaths in Private Autos

The greatest number of accidental military deaths occurs in private motor vehicles. Indeed, military drivers are far more likely than civilians to die in crashes.

In the marine corps, 25.17 individuals out of 100,000 perished in motor vehicle accidents in the last fiscal year. The figure for the Air Force was 17.54, and for the Army, 16.5. The rate for the general population is about 15 per 100,000, according to the Transportation Department.

Half of the accidental deaths among military personnel in the last fiscal year - 284 - occurred in off-duty private vehicles.

Those killed are predominantly men 18 to 25, Defense officials said. In the Navy and marine corps, 36% of the accidents in 2002 involved excessive speed, 34% involved misuse or nonuse of seat belts, and 29% were alcohol-related, Naval Safety Center records show.

Army Rangers David M. Lye and Aaron Page were speeding in Lye's dark green Mustang on Feb. 17, 2002, in Olympia, Wash., when the car turned a corner, struck a curb, barreled into a utility pole and flipped over.

Page, 27, died of head injuries. Lye suffered a broken neck. His blood-alcohol level tested at more than twice the legal limit; Page's was also high.

Lye, 31 at the time and the father of four young daughters, was the chief warrant officer in an elite unit. He said he had no recall of the accident or the events preceding it. His attorney contended Page was driving, but the jury determined Lye was at the wheel. He was convicted of vehicular homicide, was sentenced to three years and is being discharged from the Army.

Speaking by phone from the minimum-security Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Little Rock, Wash., Lye said he had spent many hours pondering the instantaneous destruction of his exemplary 12-year career. "I was doing all these great things and moving up in the Army so fast that I felt indestructible." He said he thought, "Maybe I can cheat on the rules a bit here." [EDITOR: N-A-R-C-I-S-S-I-S-M]

The Army is so concerned about deaths in private vehicles that it has developed a computerized program to assess the risks involved in each trip off base. A Soldier provides his or her intended route, expected level of fatigue, weather forecasts and other factors. The computer then recommends which roads to take and provides guidance on conditions. The Army may impose a policy to only grant passes or leaves to those who score above a certain risk level. [EDITOR: "Solution" from CLUB ASSHOLE: restrict everyone to post--not stop being CLUB ASSHOLE so Soldiers flee from the place]

But service personnel are also killed in military vehicle accidents. From 1988 to 1996, crashes in military vehicles were second only to aviation crashes as a cause of death while on duty, a 1998 GAO study found.

In Iraq, Soldiers were killed when a Bradley fighting vehicle drove off a cliff, an [Editor: top-heavy Stryker] armored personnel carrier rolled over and a Humvee crashed into another vehicle during a blinding sandstorm.

These accidents happened even though the Defense Department has an extensive traffic safety program.

It requires motorcycle safety training as well as driving instruction for those younger than 26 and those convicted of a serious moving violation. The courses are provided at no cost. Bases make rides or taxis available to anyone who has been drinking. And each military service has training programs for specialized military vehicles.

Nevertheless, the safety council's Angello said additional driver education might be needed, especially for young enlistees who have not received training in high school or who come from urban areas where mass transit is the primary means of transportation.

Look Busy at all costs

Here is the kicker, the typical Army get-up-before-the-sun paradigm has you "hurrying up and waiting"; you are not spending every second doing absolutely critical and important tasks, you are standing around in human wannabe robot formations, finally you do PT at 0640 then waste almost 3 hours fooling around with it until 0900 am formation in duty uniform. Then, the tired troops work 'til 1100 am then go on lunch until 1300, wasting another 2 hours. At 1300, they stay 'til 1700 groggy--if they ate lunch working off digesting two meals. Is it a wonder nothing seems to get accomplished during the day other than herding people from one location to the other and having them operate by going-through-the-motions? The 21st century battlefield with alert, thinking enemies who creatively seek asymmetric situations to place strength against our weaknesses demands we have ALERT and THINKING Soldiers not drones. Dr. C. DiGiovanni, M.D. writes in Sleep and Sleep Deprivation http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/TbsNew/Pages/Officer%20Courses/Infantry%20Officer%20Course/Human%20Factors/Pages/page4.htm:

"You cannot condition yourself to get by with significantly less sleep, and the more sleep debt you acquire, the worse will be your performance. Sleep debt, however, does not produce deterioration in all activities. For example, in static and repetitive tasks, accuracy is generally maintained, but the time it takes to perform those tasks progressively lengthens. Also, many forms of physical activity are not affected, at least initially, by sleep debt. What is affected by sleep debt is the ability of the brain to perform its higher functions, such as learning new information, recalling previously learned information, reacting to information, and analyzing information and making decisions."

The current Army daily time schedule is like a government bureaucrat on a time clock wasting time to appear busy by changing gears (changing functions) There is this undercurrent, an unspoken worry in the minds of regular Army Soldiers that if we are not VISIBLY "earning our pay" that civilians who are watching us could take our jobs away with---so WE MUST LOOK BUSY (C-O-N- J-O-B), in fact we must look busier than our civilian employer counterparts who in contrast as mature adults not worried about appearances build in adequate sleep into their schedules. You can't make a profit if you cannot make a good or service because your employees are groggy or worse--DEAD. Unlike the U.S. Government, civilian companies cannot force people into their ranks, they have to somewhat value and protect their workers. However, without a draft to fill the ranks regardless of what's causing the attrition, can the Army afford to squander away its volunteers?

Get away on the weekend--even if it kills you

Amidst this miserable set of parameters, the "4 day weekend" becomes an oasis of hope for all involved. However, even if you stayed put and slept all 4 days you cannot store sleep and when you return to the daily Army grind, your body is again sleep-deprived or you go to bed unrealistically early and have no human life apart from the drag-events-out and do things in a mediocre, Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) way Army life. So what do Soldiers do on their long weekends tied in to holidays? Or even the regular 2-day weekends?

They drive home.


To get away from the Army.

To be with people that love them unconditionally and not constantly back-bite and harass them over trivial and unimportant matters (BS) because the Army has a hierarchy of instant obedience powers meant actually only for war-time necessity that however can be easily abused daily during peacetime by those with rank--but without humanity or maturity/wisdom (Toxic Bureaucrats AKA Assholes). Our Soldiers go home to be with adults who treat them like the human beings they are---not by their demeaning social rank in an obsolete, 19th century set of institutional norms.

The problem is that for many "home" is a very long drive and they are then doing it without adequate sleep. If we actually gave a damn about our people we would have High-Speed Trains with which to cross the very large 3, 000 mile Continental U.S. and get a decent sleep as you do it--remember the Rockefeller oil Illuminati want us to be broke so we cannot challenge their rule and crash & burn in their unsafe gasoline automobiles when smacked in the rear by dangerous, inefficient 18-wheeler trucks trying to move goods around along the Eisenhower autobahn copy. And/or they drive to someplace to drink alcohol (a drug) to escape their Army existence. Then when they drive back on post, running out of time due to time/distance factors or else be late to morning formation and get UCMJ punishment, they drive too fast, fall asleep at the wheel, make bad driving decisions due to intoxication and/or fatigue and they end up DEAD as a statistic on the Gruber road marquee or a blurb in the post newspaper.

And its all killing our Soldiers. Seniors.org reports:

"In a study on the effects of sleep deprivation, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who slept four to six hours a night for fourteen consecutive nights showed significant deficits in cognitive performance equivalent to going without sleep for up to three days in a row. Yet these subjects reported feeling only slightly sleepy and were unaware of how impaired they were. The research article, "The Cumulative Cost of Additional Wakefulness: Dose-Response Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and Sleep Physiology From Chronic Sleep Restriction and Total Sleep Deprivation," appears in the March issue of the journal 'SLEEP'.

According to Principal Investigator David Dinges, "This is the first systematic study to look at the prolonged cognitive effects of chronic sleep restriction lasting for more than a week. The results provide a clearer picture of possible dangers to people who typically are awake longer on a regular basis," he explained, "including members of the military, medical and surgical residents, and shift workers. Reduced cognitive abilities can occur even with a moderate reduction in sleep."

Cognitive performance deficits included reduced ability to pay attention and react to a stimulus, such as when driving, or monitoring at airports. Other deficits involved impairment of the ability to think quickly and not make mistakes, and a reduced ability to multi-task -- to hold thoughts in the brain in some order while doing something else."

Studies also show (see APPENDIX) that having our Soldiers sleep deprived for the entire week and then before cutting them loose on weekend to drive home giving them platitudes about "not driving when sleepy" during the safety brief is not going to cut it. In fact, not even one whole day set aside to recover from sleep debt would be enough. What has to change is the daily reality of our Army.

The Solution is in our grasp: change our ways

Its time for Army Leaders to put-their-(tax payer's)-money-where-their-mouths are; and to face the fact that what's making our Soldiers miserable and what is killing them is the uninspired, unfulfilling Army mentality/lifestyle/time schedule which is COMPLETELY UNDER OUR CONTROL TO FIX IMMEDIATELY.

Human beings need at least 6 if not 8 hours of sleep each day, regardless of dumb blue-collar macho mentalities that would brow-beat you to say otherwise. When Soldiers get this rest, their bodies recover from training and get stronger, they are more alert and productive at their jobs and consequently they drive more safely. Thus, its time we build this adequate rest into daily Army life, stop time-wasting during the day and be more ALERT, sharp and focused.

Look at the precautions firemen and policemen (actually facing dangers daily) take to be ALERT and rested--many are on duty one day and off duty for two days. If getting enough rest to be ALERT is important to fight fires and arrest dangerous criminals its also important enough to do to win FIREFIGHTS. The current Army long-day outward appearance takes place instead of being time-efficient, ALERT and focusing rested, thinking concentrated energy upon tasks and getting them done by Greatest Common Denominator (GCD) not just get by so the sergeant-tyrant asshole doesn't yell at me. This means empowering Soldiers so they GIVE A DAMN and realize they are OWNERS of the Army, too--not its prison inmates so we accomplish tasks faster and with higher qualities of performance.

During hot summer weather, the duty day should begin at 0800, combat-oriented PT 'til 0830 and shower up and report for duty by 0930. Breakfast is an option from 0900 to 0930. Work until lunch at 1200 noon. Return to duty at 1300. Duty day ends at 3:30 pm unless doing field training. During winter months, no PT until the end of day, and then in BDUs/ACUs; no shower change time wasting, just drive home afterwards. This means a CONCENTRATED, FOCUSED 8 hour work day that leaders must intelligently plan and utilize second-by-second instead of the current drawn- out, we-have-the-morning, we-have-the-afternoon, we-have-the-evening, mentality that is boring, uninspired and listless, assuming you got a whole day to spread out things to get done. The Army needs to learn how to be ALERT and to hustle--multi-tasking on a daily basis---by stop being condescending, rigid assholes to its men, so they will like being in the Army and will put the full force of their creativity into it, building thinking, seeing loyalty so we can get more done using less time as we would in combat where multiple problems will be thrown at you; requiring multiple answers. Anal retentive, rigid, linear thinking and plodding task organizing will not prevail on the non-linear battlefield against creative enemies who also think on many levels at the same time. We could begin at HQDA level by improving the current inadequate Army values of LDRSHP to a full L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P with the addition of the letter "a" for ALERTNESS added as an Army value. Other needed values are INITIATIVE and ENTHUSIASM. Details:


Soldiers would be encouraged to go to sleep each night at 11 pm (2300 hours); a midnight on-post curfew could be enforced by Charge of Quarters (CQ) Soldiers walking into the barracks areas and insuring all our 18-24 year-old junior Soldiers are "lights out and quiet" to get their needed rest. This will insure each day they will get 6-8 hours of sleep while having 8 hours of family/personal life so we do not have the epidemic of suicides, divorces, car accidents and one-term enlistments that we now have. They will have time to reflect and study/think about the modern battlefield by visiting the library, reading books and doing online searches for information. Maybe the new found job satisfaction and physical uplifting of being in the Army will make trying to escape to someplace else by drugs or long car trips not needed at all, resulting in many lives saved from the outset.

An Army wife writes in on the lack of sleep:

"I read this letter with interest and wished that my husband's schedule was as light as the one cited. He is a mid-level NCO with XVIII Airborne Corps. He leaves the house for PT at 5:30 am each morning. The 'stated' brigade policy is that the Soldiers are to be released from PT at 7:30 am; we live fewer than 10 min. from his duty station, and he rarely arrives home before 8am. We have ceased to expect the 4-day weekends--he, among many others in his company, often is expected to work on one or more days of these weekends; catching up on paperwork, TA-50 layouts, etc. that couldn't be fit into the 'regular' work week. An 'early night' for him is arriving home around 1800-1830.

Pity the NCO that live 20-30 minutes off-post.

He often works through most of lunch, hoping to be be able to spend a little while with the kids before they have to go to bed. He has missed almost as many soccer games and school awards ceremonies as he did when he was in Afghanistan. Multiply him times the hundreds and thousands of Soldiers who are constantly being asked to cram 28 hours worth of work into 24 hours worth of day, and it's no wonder our force is so burned out. He joked that maybe he ought to go back to Afghanistan so he could get some rest.

Ha ha!

Thanks for letting me opine."

A DA civilian and Army wife/mother writes:

"I received your article, and I have to say that I am speechless and blown away. It is PERFECT, I would not change a thing.

You really did your research, this could definitely be the new norm for the military. You have spoken for every person that wears the uniform, and for every Soldier that has wanted and tried to stand up for themselves and their peers, but knew they would suffer the consequences.


The sad truth is that the military at one time was the best of the best and set the norm for society, now politics has taken over, everyone now believes that Soldiers and their dependents are "bad apples", rejects that could not make it as a civilian, what people fail to realize is that most of these people join the military for two reasons, personal and professional, they want to make a difference, learn skills, be better role models."


Background data on Sleep Deprivation


Sleep and Sleep Deprivation

by C. DiGiovanni, M.D.

(N.B.: The author is indebted to Col Gregory Belenky, MC, USA, of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, for much of the following material and for the figures that accompany this article.)

Sleep deprivation produces fatigue of the mind and contributes to a sense of fear in the person who faces uncertainty or danger. To paraphrase Clausewitz, sleep deprivation increases friction in mental operations.

Decision-making may be aided by a growing variety of electronic information-processing technology, but it is ultimately a human brain that makes a decision. The more sleep-deprived that brain is, the more likely any decision it makes will be bad, perhaps disastrously bad. Because we all rely on our brains, each of us needs to know how much sleep we need, ways to increase sleep during periods of continuous operations, and what happens when we don't get enough sleep.

The process of sleeping progresses in stages, from stage one (very light sleep) to stage four (the deepest sleep stage). A typical sleep cycle consists of several minutes spent in passing through stages one and two, a lengthier period at stages three and four, and then a few minutes of dream (or rapid eye movement [REM]) sleep. Each cycle lasts 60-90 minutes and repeats itself throughout the course of time spent sleeping. Over a typical eight-hour period of sleep, the amount of time spent in stages three and four progressively diminishes, and the amount of dream sleep progressively increases.

All sleep, regardless of stage, is good and contributes to our daily sleep requirement. (The daily sleep requirement is the amount of sleep we need in each 24-hour period. It can be met through one lengthy period of sleep at night or by shorter periods of sleep, including napping, when the opportunity presents itself.) Stages three and four of the sleep cycle are the times of least stimulation to the brain and, thus, are the stages of deepest sleep. The brain emits a different electrical signal at each stage of the cycle, and it is this signal that defines the characteristics of each stage. Figure 1 shows the electrical signals at each sleep stage, as recorded by an electroencephalogram (EEG). You will note the markedly different pattern of stages three and four of sleep.

Another factor that influences sleep is Circadian rhythm, which is the biological clock that we all have that regulates the release of hormones in our bodies throughout each 24-25 hour period. One of the results of this biological clock is that our level of alertness varies throughout the 24-hour day. Most of us, who prefer to sleep at night and work during the day, are at our lowest levels of alertness and intellectual ability between the hours of 0200 and 0600. Our level of alertness then begins to increase until noon, when it dips a bit, then resumes rising until around 2000, when it begins its final decline of the day. Planning raids to begin between 0200 and 0600 gives the attackers an advantage because the enemy is least alert.

The amount of sleep we need in each 24-hour period may differ from person to person, but not by much. The average time is between seven and eight hours, and most of us will fall somewhere in the six to ten hour range. Just as you know the number of miles you can travel in your car on a gallon of gas, you should also know how much sleep you need in each 24-hour period. Without that knowledge, you will not know in advance what your limits are. You can determine the amount of sleep you need by going to bed at night under normal circumstances (not already sleep deprived, and not inebriated), and allowing yourself to wake up naturally (without an alarm clock) the following morning. If you do that for a few nights and take the average of the amount of time you slept, you will have a good idea of your daily sleep requirement. Knowing that requirement will enable you to know when you are beginning to acquire a sleep debt.

You cannot condition yourself to get by with significantly less sleep, and the more sleep debt you acquire, the worse will be your performance. Sleep debt, however, does not produce deterioration in all activities. For example, in static and repetitive tasks, accuracy is generally maintained, but the time it takes to perform those tasks progressively lengthens. Also, many forms of physical activity are not affected, at least initially, by sleep debt. What is affected by sleep debt is the ability of the brain to perform its higher functions, such as learning new information, recalling previously learned information, reacting to information, and analyzing information and making decisions. This deterioration in higher brain functioning has been documented numerous times through neuropsychological testing and from specialized studies of brain metabolism in sleep-deprived persons; their brains show altered metabolism in those very parts of the brain that are responsible for these higher brain functions.

Figure 2 shows the results of 72 hours of sleep deprivation on the ability of a group of volunteers to perform a task that requires sustained attention. For each 24 hours of sleep deprivation, their performance deteriorated by 25%. Figure 3 illustrates a point made earlier, namely, that in repetitive tasks, it is efficiency, not accuracy, that is hurt by sleep deprivation. In this study, the number of rounds loaded and fired by an artillery battery markedly fell as sleep debt increased.

As a leader of marines who face danger, you have an obligation to make the best decisions you can. You cannot make that quality of decision if your brain is fatigued. Furthermore, you also have an obligation to set a good example for those you lead. If you ignore your own sleep requirements, those whom you lead may ignore theirs. Unfortunately, studies, (figure 4) have shown that those who have the greatest leadership and decision-making responsibilities during military exercises are the ones who get the least amount of sleep.

Obviously, in the real world of warfighting and continuous operations, loss of sleep is a fact of life. What tactics can one employ to compensate for this reduced opportunity for sleep? One is to begin a period of continuous operations already well rested. You cannot store sleep, but if you begin an operation well rested, even though your performance will deteriorate with increasing sleep debt, your performance at each point along that time-line will be better than if you were sleep-deprived at the outset. A second ploy is to consume caffeine, in the form of beverage, tablet, or caffeineated chewing gum. If you normally drink several cups of coffee daily, another cup will not do you much good, but if you are not much of a coffee drinker, a cup's worth of caffeine will give you a boost in alertness and performance.

Probably the best tactic to use, however, is to nap. Even one 30-minute nap in each 24-hour period of otherwise sleep deprivation can result in significant improvement in your ability to use your brain (see figures 5 and 6). Although not ideal, napping can get you through a period of continuous operations, where opportunities for sleep are greatly reduced and fragmented. But if you plan to survive on naps, pay attention to the quality of your naps. Take them under conditions that will allow your brain not to be stimulated by ambient noise, light, or other disturbances. And plan your nap to be of sufficient length to do you some good; the "15 minute power nap" will work, but 30 minutes would be better. Remember, the closer you can get to achieving your normal sleep requirement, whether through naps or a single long sleep period, the better you will perform.

Sleeping medications, acquired by prescription or over the counter, may help promote sleep and improve sleep efficiency. If you take them, however, make sure that you will be able to sleep for an adequate length of time to allow the effects of the drug to wear off. If not, you may be worse off because you will be both sleep-deprived and under the influence of a sleep medication. Check with medical personnel before you take such medication. If in doubt, don't take it.

If you deploy to an area that has a significant time-zone shift from your home base, remember that major Circadian rhythm shifts require 3-5 days to occur. You can help this adjustment process by immediately scheduling your new work, sleep, and off-duty activities by the new local time. Also, if shift work is required, make its hours and personnel rosters consistent from day to day; do not assign someone to work from 0600 to 1400 hours one day, and from 1400 to 2200 the next day.

Finally, when you work with people who are sleep deprived, remember that they will have deficits in their understanding of what you tell them and in their ability to think, learn, recall, and react. Therefore, speak in simple sentences, limit to a minimum anything unusually complex, don't expect them to remember everything you tell them, repeat often the essential items, have them repeat back to you these essential items to make sure they have registered, and check their performance after the briefing to ensure they are doing what you told them.

2. armymedicine.army.mil/news/releases/sleepresearch.htm

Even Warriors Need Their Sleep

News & Media - News Releases
by Karen Fleming-Michael
Fort Detrick, Md., Standard Staff Writer

Though military operations take place at all hours and for long hours, there's no getting around it: warfighters need their sleep. "There's nothing heroic about staying up," said Col. Gregory Belenky, lead sleep researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. In fact, he said warfighters who deprive themselves of sleep can cause missions to fail "Historically, battles are won and lost at the small unit level, squads and platoons, and because of the interaction between individuals within squads and between squads," said Belenky, a psychiatrist who has studied sleep for the Army since 1984. "If you're sleep deprived, you're not going to make good decisions." The military studies sleep in two types of operations, sustained and continuous. During sustained operations, warfighters get less than four hours sleep each night, which is considered severe sleep restriction or deprivation. Sustained operations can go on for days. During continuous operations, warfighters get four or more but less than seven hours sleep each night, which is considered mild to moderate sleep restriction. Continuous operations can go on for weeks or months; typically they are punctuated by periods of sustained operations. It appears that warfighters recover faster from sustained operations than continuous ones, Belenky said. "Recovery from continuous operations is not rapid," he said. "What complicates deprivation is that sustained operations can be interposed on continuous operations, so already-sleep-deprived Soldiers are getting even more off track with their sleep." Going off sleep's beaten path can have serious consequences for warfighters trying to make decisions, process information and judge situations because the regions of the brain best able to perform these actions are most affected by lack of sleep. Degraded activity in the brain's front (prefrontal cortex), sides (parietal cortex) and thalamus can cause problems. Warfighters, he said, encounter a lot of information and need to be able to process it at their level to make decisions. "You can have a brilliant plan, but unless you have intelligent execution at the lowest level, it won't work," Belenky said. Sleep-deprived warfighters, he said, because their higher order thinking is impaired, can cause accidents and "not-so-clever decisions."

To quell some of the effects of sleep deprivation during operations, a team of 15 researchers, including physicians, physiologists and experimental psychologists, study sleep at WRAIR for the Department of Defense. Findings are included in peer-reviewed literature as well as Army field manuals, like U.S. Army Field Manual 6-22.5 Combat Stress and FM 22-51 Leader's Manual for Combat Stress Control. Because restricted sleep is a reality for warfighters, researchers base their lab studies on that condition. For example, in experiments done at WRAIR's sleep lab, it was evident that people who lived on three, five and seven hours of sleep for more than a week took longer than three days to recover. "We don't know how long it takes them to recover," Belenky said. "The brain adapts. Like adaptations to exercise, starvation and altitude, [sleep adaptations] take a while to put in place. They also take a while to undo." To help commanders in the field determine the toll that less sleep takes on troops, WRAIR researchers developed a sleep watch that measures arm movement to determine if someone is awake or asleep and records how much sleep he or she got. The sleep watch also has a performance prediction model that tells how well the individual is performing and will perform in the future. When researchers developed the watch, they took a logistician's approach of treating sleep as a consumable that can be restocked. "You wouldn't ask a battalion commander to manage fuel ... unless the commander knew how much he had on hand, what his fuel use would be in an operation and what would be available for resupply," Belenky said. "The sleep watch gives the commander what he needs to look at for how much sleep his troops have been getting and what the performance consequences are with that amount of sleep." The commander then can look at factors, like fuel, ammunition, food and sleep, to make an educated decision about whether the unit is ready for a mission. Because people's need for sleep varies as much as their personalities, Army researchers are exploring ways to alter the watch's current one-size-fits-all presentation.

Army researchers have also looked at stimulants to see if they are effective in keeping Soldiers awake and able to make sound decisions. "Stimulants have their place and are very effective ... but there's no standard right now for who should take a stimulant," Belenky said. He added that he would like to see stimulant use and dose targeted toward individuals, not populations, so a person gets just what they need to perform, no more and no less. When looking at different stimulants, studies have shown the long-time friend of the Soldier, caffeine, is an effective aid. For caffeine to be most effective though, regular users need to minimize its use so when they need it, caffeine will give them a boost, Belenky said. In upcoming studies, WRAIR researchers will test caffeine, d-amphetamine and modafinil to see which of those three stimulants produces the best results. The bottom line with stimulants, Belenky said, is they are "short-term fixes at best. The real answer is to get adequate amounts of sleep and efficiently managed sleep." Though all researchers agree natural sleep is best, military operational requirements at times makes getting sufficient, productive sleep impossible. For this reason, Army researchers also study sleep-inducing compounds to help circumvent the body's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that makes humans most sleepy between 3 and 5 a.m. and in the middle of the afternoon. Though highly addictive, drugs called hypnotics do increase sleep length. However, if the user is awakened an hour or two after some drugs' peak effects, his or her judgment is impaired. If the user is a Soldier, that means readiness is impaired.

The Army's aviation community at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory began testing zaleplon, a new sleep-inducing compound Feb. 23 to see if its hangover effect is less than previously tested hypnotics. "Aviators, like the instructor pilots we have at Fort Rucker, can fly all days then 'poof' they're asked to switch to night flights, and they have real trouble staying awake and sleeping when they need to," said researcher Dr. Pat Le Duc of USAARL. "Finding a safe hypnotic is one way we can mitigate some of the effects of the circadian mechanism." She along with the team at the lab hopes the dozen aviators in the eight-day, seven-night study will answer whether a 10 milligram dose taken before an early bedtime will allow subjects to fall asleep faster and get better sleep. The team also hopes to learn if an increase in sleep length will increase alertness, lessen fatigue and offset the common declines in performance that typically occur when work begins early in the morning, which runs counter to the circadian clock. The aviators will complete cognitive tests, fly the lab's simulator, undergo sleepiness and electrophysiological evaluations and complete questionnaires on their mood. Showing aviators the results of their tests is often an eye-opener, Le Duc said. "When they're sleep deprived, there's a real decrease in their performance that they don't notice. Most of them think they're not affected by losing sleep, but when they see the results on paper, they realize how poorly they performed," she said. While waiting for answers on the best stimulant or hypnotic for warfighters, Belenky's advice on catching Zs is clear cut. "Take the opportunity to sleep. Naps are wonderful," he said. He advises commanders to organize their areas so sleep can occur. "I've tried to sleep in a big tent where every 20 minutes someone shook me awake, asking me if I was 'Smith.' It got so bad, we ended up sleeping with big signs that had our names on them so we'd be left alone," he said.

3. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/2020/2020_010330_sleep.html

Risks of Short Sleeping
Recent Studies Expose Dangers in Chronic Sleep Deprivation

March 30

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a condition that until recently, most health professionals did not take seriously. It can accelerate the aging process, lead to obesity and increase the risk of some diseases. It's garden-variety sleep deprivation and it might be more of a problem than you think.

For the first time, scientists are looking seriously at what happens to our bodies when we live on five, six or seven hours of sleep a night and what they're finding is shocking.

Upsets Blood Sugar

Dr. Eve Van Cauter is a sleep science trailblazer whose research team at the University of Chicago recently published the first study to specifically examine the physical health impact of ordinary sleep deprivation. She calls the impact of sleep debt on the body, "astonishing." After four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights, healthy young men had blood test results that nearly matched those of diabetics. Their ability to process blood sugar was reduced by 30 percent, they had a huge drop in their insulin response, and they had elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can lead to hypertension and memory impairment. "We had results that were more compatible with individuals 60-years-old than with young, fit men in their early '20s," Van Cauter explains. Perhaps equally incredible is that until Van Cauter's study, most scientists believed that sleep debt did not cause any significant physical problems. "The concept that sleep is for the mind not the body prevailed and so no one was really looking at the possibility that sleep loss has an impact on health," Van Cauter says. Though subjects in the study slept only four hours a night, Van Cauter says sleeping six or seven hours might be just as dangerous. "Six hours instead of four hours, would have a similar impact but would just take a longer period of time," she says. After the experiment, the six men could make up for their sleep debt. It is unclear, however, how sleep debt affects the body over long periods of time. Van Cauter's early findings suggest that chronic short sleepers have a hard time keeping their blood sugars stable, which makes them prone to insulin resistance and obesity. Experts are now speculating that lack of sleep could be the missing link in understanding America's obesity epidemic. [EDITOR: Maybe Command Sergeant Major Asshole of the Army should be looking at the CULTURE of the Army that causes sleeplessness--instead of trying to make the PT test "harder" to satisfy narcissistic snobby urges]

Slows the Mind

The military's leading sleep expert, Colonel Gregory Belenky has long been concerned about the effect of sleep deprivation on America's hi-tech warriors. Now he is looking beyond safety and performance to uncover the biological damage that might result from sleep deprivation. His research shows that "brain function is degraded by prolonged waking." Belenky's high-tech brain images show that sleep debt decreases the entire brain's ability to function most significantly impairing the areas of the brain responsible for attention, complex planning, complex mental operations, and judgement. What most surprised Belenky, however, is the difficulty with which the brain recovers from sleep deprivation. Even after 4 eight-hour recovery nights of sleep, Belenky's subjects were still making more errors than when they started.

Trying to Cheat Nature

The United States is becoming a nation of chronic short sleepers. In 1910, most Americans slept nine hours per night. Now, the average night's sleep is 7.5 hours and the trend shows no signs of flattening. Though millions of Americans routinely get fewer than 6 hours, the vast majority needs at least 8 hours per night. Dr. David Dinges, chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, estimates that only 10 percent of Americans can consistently sleep fewer than eight hours per night without harmful effects on one's health. Many people, he says, need as many as 10. "If you're a nine or a nine and a half-hour need, and you're sleeping eight, you're developing a sleep debt--there's no way to cheat Mother Nature," says Dingis.

Fighting Fatigue

Though you cannot cheat Mother Nature, many people try by guzzling cup after cup of coffee. Dingis explains that the lift a cup of coffee gives is in fact an extra boost of stress. "When you use caffeine heavily during sleep deprivation, you have an elevated level of stress hormones occurring in the body and that's not particularly good," Dingis says. Other people who suffer from sleep debt blame their environment, saying that their meeting or lecture is too boring to keep them awake. Dinges says this is denial: "If you're bored, you're awake, you're just bored. If you're bored and you fall asleep, you've got a sleep debt."

How Much Is Enough?

So, how do you figure out what's the right amount of sleep for you personally? Dr. Belenky suggests paying attention to how much you sleep while on vacation "when you can sleep as long as you want. For the first few days you are likely to sleep a lot, but as you pay off your sleep debt, you will reach a natural equilibrium. At the end of the first week you will probably be sleeping the number of hours you need on a regular basis."

Recovery Sleep

If you do have a sleep debt, sometimes you can pay it off by napping. All stages of sleep are important, but the sleep that helps the body to recover happens quite soon after falling asleep. "You get a terrific return from the first 20 or 30 minutes of sleep relative to any other 20 to 30 minutes of sleep so naps pack a lot of power," says Dinges. Dinges says the best time to take a nap is from noon to 6 p.m. and the peak time is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is also critical that you lie down completely. Finally, it is more efficient to nap in advance of anticipated sleep debt rather than the next day.

4. seniors.gov/articles/0303/sleep.htm

Sustained Reduced Sleep Can Have Serious Consequences

March 13, 2003 - In a study on the effects of sleep deprivation, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who slept 4 to 6 hours a night for 14 consecutive nights showed significant deficits in cognitive performance equivalent to going without sleep for up to three days in a row. Yet these subjects reported feeling only slightly sleepy and were unaware of how impaired they were. The research article, "The Cumulative Cost of Additional Wakefulness: Dose-Response Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and Sleep Physiology From Chronic Sleep Restriction and Total Sleep Deprivation," appears in the March issue of the journal 'SLEEP'.

According to Principal Investigator David Dinges, "This is the first systematic study to look at the prolonged cognitive effects of chronic sleep restriction lasting for more than a week. The results provide a clearer picture of possible dangers to people who typically are awake longer on a regular basis," he explained, "including members of the military, medical and surgical residents, and shift workers. Reduced cognitive abilities can occur even with a moderate reduction in sleep."

Cognitive performance deficits included reduced ability to pay attention and react to a stimulus, such as when driving, or monitoring at airports. Other deficits involved impairment of the ability to think quickly and not make mistakes, and a reduced ability to multi-task -- to hold thoughts in the brain in some order while doing something else.

Dr. Patricia A. Grady, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH, which provided primary funding for the study, said, "These findings show that while young adults may believe they can adapt to less than a full night's sleep over time, chronic sleep deprivation may seriously affect their performance while they are awake, and they may not even realize it."

Investigators also found that to prevent neurobehavioral defects from accumulating, the average person needs 8.16 hours of sleep during a 24-hour day, although there were differences among individuals in their need for sleep.

The study included 48 healthy individuals aged 21 to 38 who were divided into four groups -- those who were allowed to sleep up to either 8, 6 or 4 hours per night during a 24- hour period for two weeks, and those who were deprived of sleep for three consecutive 24-hour periods. The experiments were conducted in a lab with constant monitoring. When awake, participants could watch movies, read, and interact with lab staff but could not have caffeine, alcohol, tobacco or medications.

In addition to NINR, other NIH funding was provided by the National Center for Research Resources and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. NIH is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. A grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research supported total sleep deprivation data used in the study.

5. musc.edu/pr/darpa.htm

MUSC To Develop Brain Stimulation Device For Military

CHARLESTON, SC -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced today that it has awarded the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) a Phase I/II contract to develop a portable brain stimulation device for use by the military to alleviate the effects of sleep deprivation on Soldiers' performance. The contract, entitled "Creating a Man-portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation System (TMS) to Improve War-fighter Performance", was awarded to Mark S. George, M.D., and Daryl E. Bohning, Ph.D., both of MUSC. The project has the potential of revolutionizing warfare and has important other military and non-military applications. The overall goal of the project is to use the unique resources at MUSC's Brain Stimulation Laboratory and Center for Advanced Imaging Research to determine if: 1. non-invasive stimulation of the brain can improve a Soldier's performance, 2. and then design, manufacture and test a prototype of a system that would be capable of delivering this technology in the field. "If we are successful," said Mark George, M.D., contract principal investigator and director of the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at MUSC, "the U.S. military would have the theoretical background of how to use this system to improve soldier performance, and a proven, tested prototype of a system that can be carried to the next level of testing." MUSC researchers will use functional imaging of how the brain solves complex tasks, and then apply non-invasive brain stimulation to determine if one can boost performance, either at baseline or following several days of sleep deprivation. Several recent studies have hinted that this may be possible. The contract is part of a nationwide program conducted by DARPA to improve Soldiers' performance after several days of little to no sleep. If MUSC researchers determine that brain stimulation can temporarily improve performance, then they are charged with designing and then building helmets that could be worn by pilots or Soldiers in combat. "This award is a tribute to the innovative work being conducted by Dr. George and his colleagues," said MUSC president Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. "When we created the Center for Advanced Imaging Research with Dr. George as director, our goal was to promote this type of cutting edge work. We are delighted to build a collaborative relationship with DARPA and hope that it will grow in the years ahead." "We are very excited about this work, and that we can carry it out here in South Carolina," said George, who is also distinguished professor of psychiatry, radiology and neurology at MUSC. "Although this work -- trying to improve soldiers' performance -- is not directly related to improving health, it has the potential for helping us in our other work in understanding how to use brain stimulation to treat diseases like depression and Parkinson's disease. Also, if we can safely improve the performance of sleepy Soldiers, then there are lots of other potential applications in our society where this might be useful."

About TMS -- The system will use the principle of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to stimulate regions of the brain affected by sleep deprivation. George has received international recognition for his development of this technique to treat depressive illness. Transcranial magnetic stimulation involves placing an electromagnetic coil on the scalp. High-intensity current is rapidly turned on and off in the coil through the discharge of capacitors. This produces a time-varying magnetic field that lasts for about 100 to 200 microseconds. The magnetic field has a strength of approximately 40,000 times the earth's magnetic field. The proximity of the brain to the time-varying magnetic field makes current flow in neural tissue. The technological advances made in the last 15 years led to the development of magnetic stimulators that produce sufficient current in the brain to result in neuronal depolarization.

About DARPA -- DARPA is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions. The DARPA mission is to develop imaginative, innovative and often high-risk ideas offering a significant technological impact that will go well beyond the normal evolutionary developmental approaches; and, to pursue these ideas from the demonstration of technical feasibility through the development of prototype systems. About MUSC -- The Medical University of South Carolina's mission is to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina and beyond through education, research and health care. Located on the Charleston peninsula, the university educates students from across the state and beyond. It provides primary care services for the local community and serves as a referral center for specialized care for patients from across the state, the nation and the world.

6. http://pdm.medicine.wisc.edu/nordic/AccidentsandSleepiness.htm

Accidents and Sleepiness in a Military Setting

by Hesla PE, Medical Section, Sessvoll, Norway

Introduction: Human error has been identified as the root cause of the majority of accidents in virtually every industry examined. Agencies that compile accident statistics probably underestimate sleepiness and fatigue as contributors to accidents. There is a lack of scientific awareness in the way sleep and circadian rhythms may control alertness and performance. Work regulations that permit prolonged and dangerous schedules in which sleep is sacrificed for expediency and performance, further exacerbate the safety problem. The consequences of human error due to fatigue potentially are more serious now than before. A number of factors may contribute to sleep deprivation, and accumulated sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for performance. Sleep deprivation is characteristic of schedules that involve prolonged wakefulness, either chronic or intermittent, as well as work that is extended for many days without an opportunity for recovery and sleep. Sleepiness has been documented to impair performance, such as in causing the subject to doze off periodically. The ability to be vigilant visually and react quickly degrades as sleepiness increases. Military settings provide the most important knowledge about sleep and safety. Soldiers are subjected to long work hours, and they handle heavy equipment as well as potentially dangerous material. It has been observed that in peacekeeping operations, soldiers work long hours and are under pressure to perform in situations in which safety regulations may be inadequate and result in serious accidents.

Methods: Sleepiness was measured with the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Sleep latency in sets of <5 minutes constitute an increased propensity to fall asleep unintentionally. The use of MSLT tests during active peacekeeping service almost are non-existent. However, during the last 20 years, some observations have been made concerning fatigue and accidents in Norwegian soldiers. Annually, about four casualties have been registered of which some were due directly to human error and fatigue resulting from sleep deprivation.

Results: Four incidents will be presented, each analysing relationship between sleep 1oss and its consequences.

Conclusion: Sleep loss and sleep deprivation during peacekeeping operations resulting in fatigue may jeopardise optimal functioning of military personnel who otherwise are in good health. It is imperative that military planners pay attention to adequate sleep schedules and sleep conditions in order to prevent fatigue. Each Soldier must be aware of the hazards of duty if he is not fully alert and awake. Mechanical devices that monitor sleep/wakefulness are available, and they may be of value for signaling to each individual when he is in danger of falling asleep unintentionally.

7. clickondetroit.com/health/2040661/detail.html

'Sleep Debts' Cause Poor Mental Functioning

Study: Six Hours Of Sleep Doesn't Cut It

POSTED: 10:35 a.m. EST March 14, 2003 Sleep: Don't be too sure you're getting enough of it.

Those who believe they can function well on six or fewer hours of sleep every night may be accumulating a "sleep debt" that undermines their mental performance during the day, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. But those people might be too sleep-deprived to know it, they said.

The study, published in Saturday's issue of the journal Sleep, found that chronically sleep-deprived volunteers reported feeling "only slightly sleepy" even when their performance was at its worst during standard psychological testing. The results provide insight into the daily challenges that confront military personnel, residents and on-call doctors and surgeons, shift workers, parents of young children, and others who routinely get fewer than six hours of sleep each night, according to lead researcher David Dinges. Researchers studied the effects of four hours of sleep vs. six hours of sleep per night on healthy volunteers ages 21 to 38 over a two-week period. "Routine nightly sleep for fewer than six hours results in cognitive performance deficits, even if we feel we have adapted to it," said Hans Van Dongen, assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in Penn's Department of Psychiatry. "This work demonstrates the importance of sleep as a necessity for health and well-being," he said. "Even relatively moderate sleep restriction, if it is sustained night after night, can seriously impair our neurobiological functioning."

8. clickondetroit.com/health/2083149/detail.html

Could Sleep Deprivation Sabotage Military?

Instrument Can Track Eye Movements To Test For Fatigue

UPDATED: 12:46 p.m. EST April 2, 2003

You don't have to be a doctor -- or a general -- to realize that an Army on the attack has little time for rest. There's the physical demands, and the stress of battle. Then, the Soldiers have to try sleeping in a foxhole, which many believe may not be all that restorative.

"We call them 'stragglers.' Anytime there's a movement marching, they're the ones that are obviously fatigued," said Sgt. Gerrold Johnson of the U.S. Army. "They're in the back of the group." Determination and adrenaline can compensate some, but eventually fatigue has to degrade performance -- and in war, that can get you and your unit killed.

"[Sleep] affects how alert you can be, how attentive you can be, and it affects your decision-making ability, how rapidly you can react, and how accurately you can react," said Dr. Michael Rosenberg of JFK Medical Center in New Jersey. But would a Soldier admit that he or she is tired? "I was a Paratrooper (during) the time I was in the Gulf War," Johnson said. "We're tough guys. We stick it out. We-suck-it-up. We drive on." Stimulant medications, including amphetamines, ritalin and provigil are reportedly being used in the war to keep troops sharp. But a commander has to have a better way to tell whether his troops are able to carry out a mission. Researchers have found out that eye movements, such as tracking an object and pupillary reaction time, deteriorate with fatigue. Rosenberg, who is a retired Air Force colonel, says the goal is to correlate those and other measurable things with fatigue and mission impairment. "The goal would be to have a small portable device to test Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors to quickly test them and use the results to decide whether each individual Soldier be able to complete his mission safely and successfully," he said.


The Edge of Safety

Sleep and Fatigue Endanger All Travel

Tessa Muggeridge and Charlie Litton October 18th 2010
Center for Public Integrity and News21

Accidents happen in a matter of seconds.

An airplane pilot takes a moment too long to react in an emergency. A trucker who has been on the road all day wanders across the median. A train engineer is lulled to sleep by the isolation and monotony of the job and misses a signal.

It's impossible to say how many accidents are caused by operators who are just too tired to do their jobs, in part because fatigue can't be measured like the level of alcohol in a person's system. But fatigue is frequently cited by investigators as a factor in accidents in the air, on the water and on railways and highways.

Over the past four decades, there have been more than 320 airplane accidents and incidents related to fatigue, and nearly 750 people have died, according to an analysis. The National Transportation Safety Board, created in 1967 to help safeguard U.S. travelers, has been trying since its inception to persuade federal agencies, industries and states to take steps to reduce the likelihood of these kinds of accidents. The board has issued 138 fatigue-related safety recommendations. Only 68 have been implemented, according to the analysis. Some of the proposals are still pending decades after they were issued. In other cases, the board has simply given up on its recommendations ever being adopted, declaring those cases "closed unacceptable."

Many of the recommendations that have been implemented tend to be modest, such as handing out brochures about fatigue or requiring pilots to sit through a 30-minute training video. Meanwhile, major areas of safety regulation have gone unchanged for decades. A regulation that pilots can fly no more than 1,000 hours in a single year hasn't changed since 1935.

That was the year that a Washington-bound TWA flight carrying 11 passengers plummeted from the sky and crashed into a muddy field outside of Atlanta, Mo. The pilot and four passengers, including U.S. Sen. Bronson Cutting of New Mexico, died. In a memo about the crash investigation, Department of Air Commerce Director Eugene L. Vidal called for a government study of fatigue. The letter is the first known mention of fatigue as a concern in aviation safety.

55 years and dozens of government studies and reports later, the NTSB listed fatigue on its inaugural "Most Wanted" list-recommendations that the safety board believes are the most critical. Today, fatigue remains on the list, one of just four of the original items that have never been addressed to the board's satisfaction. "We need to quit talking about fatigue and we need to start trying to do something about it," said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt.

Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari said the Obama administration considers fatigue "an urgent safety priority." Its efforts include establishing new rules and expanding education efforts for truckers as well as proposing new rules for pilots. "We are going to continue doing all that we can to make sure roads, skies and rails are as safe as possible for travelers," he said. Highways

NTSB does not track fatigue-related highway accidents on a regular basis. But in 1993, the board commissioned a study expecting to learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol on trucking accidents. Investigators studied all heavy-trucking accidents that year and made an unexpected discovery: Fatigue turned out to be the bigger problem. The study found that 3,311 heavy truck accidents killed 3,783 people that year, and that between 30 percent and 40 percent of those accidents were fatigue-related.

"Truck drivers drive more hours in a week than pilots fly in a month," said Jacqueline S. Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Drivers are paid by the mile-that's an incredible incentive to drive as far and fast as you can."

The NTSB also found that more than half of all single-driver trucking accidents occurred in the earliest hours of the day when the fewest number of cars are on the road: between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Three-fourths of those early morning accidents were found to be fatigued-related.

NTSB has issued 34 recommendations regarding fatigue on the nation's roads. Only 17 have been followed. One of the outstanding recommendations is a call to equip buses with data recorders that can track drivers' hours of service.

On a dark and desolate stretch of highway in the Four Corners region of Utah in 2008, a busload of skiers were returning from a three-day trip to the slopes of Telluride, Colo. Five hours into a long drive to Phoenix, the 71-year-old driver let his bus wander outside the lines of the two-lane highway. At about 8:00 p.m., the bus hit the guardrail, slid down an embankment and rolled into a drainage ditch. The 360-degree roll peeled the top off the Astro Stage Lines Motor Coach and tossed all but three of the 53 occupants into a snow-swept January night. Nine were killed, including five under age 18. The NTSB determined that driver fatigue played a key role in the accident.

Dr. Richard O'Desky, an Ohio physician in occupational medicine who often examines and certifies truckers, said he speeds past trucks on the highway because he knows how often drivers are impaired.

"My problem now is I know too much-the last place I want to be is next to a truck," he said. "There are plenty that have no business being behind the wheel."

The FMCSA has recently stepped up its efforts to target commercial drivers who have demonstrated high-risk behaviors related to fatigue, according to the DOT, its parent agency. Officials also are promoting road designs that slope the edges of pavements so that drivers who stray can more easily get back on the road.


Pilots say fatigue is a constant battle in the cockpit. "I've been there where you literally do a little tap dance with your feet and then nod off," said Roger Nielsen, a retired U.S. Airways captain. "What you try to do is you read each other, you constantly check on how each other is doing, and then if one person says 'I'm totally bagged'... it's not uncommon to let somebody take a nap."

Pilots, controllers and flight crews who report safety problems through an anonymous NASA database frequently mention fatigue as a problem. Since NASA added a fatigue category in June 2009 there have been more than 200 reports from flight crew members concerned about fatigue affecting work performance and safety. NTSB's Sumwalt said one in five reports submitted to the database are fatigue-related.

Since 1972, the safety board has come up with 37 separate ways to address fatigue, ranging from changing pilot flying hours to commissioning more research on how much-and what kind-of sleep pilots, flight crews, controllers and maintenance workers need. But only 12 have been implemented while the other 25 remain open or the board has given up on them without action ever being taken.

The crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 outside of Buffalo, N.Y. in February 2009 heightened concerns about pilot fatigue. 4 crew members and 45 passengers were killed when the plane went down, crashing into a house. One person on the ground was killed. An NTSB investigation concluded the accident was the result of pilot error and the pilots were likely fatigued. The captain spent the night before sleeping in the company crew room and had been awake at least 15 hours. The first officer had gotten at most 8.5 hours of sleep in the preceding 34 hours-part of that while commuting from Seattle to Newark the night before the accident, according to the report.

The Colgan crash let to more than two dozen NTSB recommendations, including measures to reduce the risk of fatigue. 17 months after the crash, the FAA released a proposal to reduce flight and duty time requirements for pilots. The proposal is similar to measures introduced in 1972 and 1995--that failed after encountering industry opposition.

The new rules would require pilots to rest for 9 hours rather than 8 before reporting for duty. Pilots also would be limited to 13 hours of work between rest periods and get more consecutive time off during the work week. Pilots would be able to decline assignments without penalty if they felt too fatigued to fly. And airlines would be encouraged to put in place individual fatigue risk management systems, according to documents released by the FAA. The proposal could cost airlines $1.3 billion over the next 10 years.

Public comments will be accepted on the plan until Nov. 13, after which the FAA may make revisions. "We pulled together a cross section of the aviation community to help craft changes to pilot fatigue rules that haven't been updated since the mid-1980s," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. NTSB spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said it's too soon to tell if the rules go far enough, but the board "is pleased that the effort has gotten this far along."

One of the safety board's key concerns is that U.S. regulations lag far behind modern sleep research-and behind other countries. In the European Union, for example, crew rest time excludes the time spent traveling to or from work. That's not the case in the U.S. "Incredible as it may seem, the time a pilot spends waiting for a hotel shuttle and going through airport security screening is defined as rest under the current (FAA) regulatory scheme," Air Line Pilots Association President John Prater told a Senate subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security last year.

Australia, a world leader in fatigue regulation, is the only country that considers not only how long a person sleeps but the time of day. Because the body is conditioned to operate on a normal daytime schedule, or circadian rhythm, the most restorative sleep happens at night. Simply put, eight hours of sleep in the middle of the day is not the same as eight hours at night. If the body's rhythm, which is based on light cues, is disrupted, jet lag can result.

In Australia, pilots must get extra rest time if their off-duty time doesn't fall between the normal sleeping hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Limits on hours of duty and flight time also vary between the U.S. and other countries, according to a 2007 report commissioned by the FAA. In the U.S., a single- or two-pilot crew can fly for 10 hours in one day. In Australia, South Africa, and Canada the limit is eight, according to the report. [EDITOR: Qantas is also the ONLY airline that hasn't had a fatal crash. Connect-the-dots.]

"Airlines want to fly as much as they can fly, and they want to do it with as few personnel (as possible)," said John Prest, an executive at Fatigue Science, a Honolulu company specializing in fatigue-related technology. "Let's be realistic-they're in business to make money."

NTSB investigators point to an October 2004 crash in Kirksville, Mo., that killed 13 as an example of pilot scheduling that wouldn't be allowed in other countries.

The pilots, who commuted to work in Missouri from other states, had been awake for more than 16 hours and on duty for more than 14 hours when they got into trouble. In the final moments of the flight, they were peering out the cockpit window looking for the runway, unaware the plane was at a dangerously low altitude--until it smacked into a tree.

The one-hour flight was their sixth of the day-and one that wouldn't have been allowed under British regulations, said NTSB human factors investigator Malcolm Brenner, who worked on the accident. The pilots were scheduled to fly a total of 8 legs that day, but two were canceled because of the stormy weather. The NTSB cited fatigue as a probable cause in the crash, but investigators will never know exactly what kind of a role it played or how it affected the pilots' final decisions as the plane went down.


For the nation's railways, 25 of 39 fatigue-related recommendations have been implemented. But even when action is taken it often comes too late. A 1991 recommendation to equip train locomotives with devices to alert conductors to dangers might have helped prevent a fatal accident six years later.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., outside of Delia, Kan., an engineer apparently nodded off at the controls as the train rolled through several signals and flashing lights. The engineer missed repeated radio calls, and by the time he snapped awake, it was too late. His train lurched through a switch that connects two sets of rail and into the side of an oncoming train that was bounding down the other track at about 70 mph.

In their report, NTSB investigators said they believed the conductor was too sleepy, startled or disoriented after he awoke to realize he needed to apply the brakes. They suggested a mechanical system that could sense an engineer's lack of movement and rouse him in enough time to avert a crash. No such system has been implemented.

Former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz said that under railways' seniority system, veteran engineers get to select their schedules first and often choose to pack more hours into the workday so they can have more days off. "They're the guys with seniority, who are older, generally overweight, generally with health problems, generally with stuff going on in their lives," Goelz said. "It's exactly the wrong people you want on duty at that time."


In the maritime industry, the NTSB has issued 21 fatigue-related recommendations. Nearly half have not been followed. One of these is a 1988 recommendation that called for the U.S. Coast Guard to establish watch and duty time limitations for crew members on board ferries and other inspected passenger vessels.

Seven years after that recommendation was issued, a cruise ship ran aground off the Alaskan coast after its pilot erred while trying to guide the ship over a well-known and charted rock just before 2:00 a.m. Although he had been on duty for less than two hours, the pilot hadn't slept longer than 5.5 hours the previous day.

When the entire vessel shuddered from the impact of hitting the rock, the pilot didn't immediately realize the error. "Under normal conditions, such an experienced pilot should have immediately deduced that he had not safely passed Poundstone Rock when he felt the vessel shudder," the NTSB said. "A fatigued pilot, however, might not be sufficiently alert to realize that he had grounded." The pilot, who was later diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, suffered from "chronic fatigue," according to the NTSB report.

Fatigue at sea can be a result of having no escape from the workplace. "A lot of these crews, when they're on watch, when they're working, they're on the vessel," said David Deaver, a safety analyst at the U.S. Coast Guard's investigations division. "When they're done ... they're still on the vessel. They work and reside and live at this same place."

Lack of Action

Virtually everyone-scientists, lawmakers, industry executives, safety advocates and even operators themselves-says that fatigue is an issue ripe for more attention. "We've got enough evidence on fatigue now so we know how the human body responds broadly," said Goelz, the former NTSB managing director. "We should be able to regulate and operate based on scientific evidence."

But the regulatory process sometimes allows proposals to languish in bureaucratic purgatory, with no real action for decades, if at all. Gerald Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues at the Government Accountability Office, published a report in 2001 that detailed the inefficiency of the FAA's rulemaking. The report stated that between 1995 and 2000 the FAA completed 29 major rules, each averaging about 2.5 years, but six rules took 10 years or more to complete. "The rulemaking process is a very, very circuitous, complicated and time-consuming process," Dillingham said.

The FAA, for example, twice proposed hours-of-service rule changes for pilots-once in 1972 and again in 1995. Neither was adopted. The 1995 proposal was withdrawn in 2009. In the intervening 14 years there were no fewer than 97 aviation accidents and incidents in which fatigue was a factor, resulting in nearly 500 deaths.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt made fatigue one of the agency's highest priorities when he assembled a committee shortly after his confirmation in the summer of 2009. This September, the agency issued its new rule proposals that are now in the public comment period.

"We badly need a new flight and duty-time regulation," Prater of the Air Line Pilots Association told senators last year. "While we have been told it will be done in mid-2010, we have seen too many times in the past that the FAA has not delivered on its promises with regard to pilot fatigue regulations."

A Culture of Fatigue

No amount of training or experience can overcome the insidious effects of fatigue, as any pilot, truck driver, boat captain or anyone who's stayed up too late watching TV knows.

"Temporarily, a person who otherwise is very experienced, very well trained, very, very good at what they do-fatigue can make that person stupid," said Steven Hursh, a fatigue expert at Johns Hopkins University who has developed tools that are intended to track fatigue.

When tired, people react more slowly, struggle with attention lapses and take more unnecessary risks. They also suffer from a narrowed field of focus, or tunnel vision, which limits their ability to competently monitor several things at once-such as the many gauges, switches and control settings of a modern commercial airline cockpit.

The effects of fatigue mirror those of alcohol, as proven in scientific studies around the world. After being awake for as little as 24 hours, a person's workplace performance can be equivalent to that of someone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 percent, equal to or greater than the legal intoxication limit in all 50 states.

What's most dangerous is that people are unable to recognize their own fatigue. Even worse, they usually can't register how it's affecting their performance until it's too late and something has gone wrong.

At present, one of the few tools investigators have to determine whether fatigue was a factor in an accident is listening to what pilots say on a flight recorder, such as talking about sleep or being tired. "By the time you feel sleepy or talk about being sleepy, you're very far gone," the NTSB's Brenner said. "You don't realize how impaired you are. The part of your brain that recognizes what's happening is impaired."

The problem is compounded by a culture "that places a lot of value on burning the midnight oil," said NTSB fatigue transportation research analyst Jana Price. Most people take pride in working through fatigue, considering it a sign of strength, even if means putting themselves or others in danger, she said. It's common to hear people brag about how little sleep they got before getting behind the wheel to drive to work in the morning or how late they stayed in the office to finish an important project.

NTSB investigator Malcolm Brenner said public attitudes toward fatigue are about the same as attitudes toward drinking and driving 20 years ago. "At one time, there was a sense that if you're under (the influence of) alcohol you can power your way through it, but that's no longer tolerated," Brenner said.

Someday in the near future, safety advocates hope that operating under the influence of fatigue will be just as unacceptable.

Tessa Muggeridge and Charlie Litton write for News21, from which this article is adapted. News21 reporters Ryan Phillips and Ariel Zirulnick and Center for Public Integrity staff members Michael Pell and Nick Schwellenbach contributed to this story.

GO TO PARTS 2-5: An Army without a Clue about the Modern Battlefield?