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#1
Old 11-14-2014, 12:05 AM
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What branches of the military have the least likelihood of seeing combat or developing PTSD

Assume someone wanted to join the military for various reasons, but wanted to avoid combat and the physical and psychological effects of it. What branch would be best?

I assume marines have the highest % who see combat and develop combat related health problems, followed by army.

I don't know about air force or navy, but I would assume for both the rates are likely much lower than the army and marines. If we were at actual war the rates for people in the navy would be higher, but in the war on terror there isn't a lot of threat to sailors (USS Cole is about all I can think of recently).

I'd assume coast guard would be last, but have no idea.
#2
Old 11-14-2014, 12:39 AM
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The Air Force is probably the best for that outside of a few roles. Their bases are fairly cushy (for the military) and many of the jobs are directly transferable to the civilian world. Some of their officers are fighter and bomber pilots that can kill more people with with a single push of a button than most infantry ever could. Others are on alert to launch nukes 24/7 that can kill millions within minutes but that has never come up so they deal with boredom a lot more than PTSD. However, hhe vast majority of the people in the Air Force have support jobs that will never see any direct combat even though all are trained for it to some degree.

Don't discount the danger in the Coast Guard. I would rank it quite high according to what I know, My little brother is a Coast Guard Officer by way of OCS (very rare) and he claims it was the absolute hardest thing that he can imagine. He lead search and rescue efforts in Hawaii before being assigned to an elite anti-terrorist patrol in Virginia protecting the general Washington D.C. area He almost died from a weird infection that he got from a training exerciser and now has permanent heart and lung disability from it. Unlike the other branches of the military, the Coast Guard has law enforcement work to do as well as national defense work. They see real duty every day. One day it could be saving a lost group of people caught in a storm and the next it could be forceably taking over a boat full of Colombians with millions of dollars worth of cocaine on board with nothing left to lose. All of that is done on the open water with no fast backups on hand so lots of them get PTSD from the missions.
#3
Old 11-14-2014, 01:38 AM
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The smallest branch of the military is the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. I'm speculating they would have the lowest rate of PTSD of any of the branches. But they did serve in WWI & II (and some died). Wikipedia lists the reason that they were commissioned as officers, so that if they were captured on the battlefield (e. g., doing a survey), they wouldn't be executed as spies.

Looked into joining, but was told that they were swamped with applications in the mid-80's, so I nixed that idea. With about 300 people, I'm guessing they can be choosy.

The second smallest is the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (remember C. Everette Coop wearing his uniform?). Those folks do engage in such feats as dealing with epidemics (Ebola), along with major man-made (9-11), and natural disasters (hurricanes), so (I'm speculating here) likely to have some PTSD cases from the carnage and human suffering they're dealing with.

USCG. What Shagnasty said. Lost a family member in that branch.
#4
Old 11-14-2014, 03:44 AM
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It's like this... I joined the Coast Guard because they were non-combatant. Dept of Transportation (at the time) and NOT DOD. I had enough of combatant stuff in the Army. Eventually, I reported aboard a WMEC (210' Medium Endurance Cutter) and reported to the Exec for my billet and berthing assignments. He took one glance at my chest with the ribbons and Combat Infantryman Badge, flipped through my Personnel Record, and assigned me to the Law Enforcement Detail.

How'd you like to be the first Coastie to poke his head up over the side of a boat full of suspected drug runners?

On the other hand, I was probably the only ET2 in CG history that a Warrant Gunner and Chief Gunner's Mate ever asked for suggestions, listened to them, and actually took them. They really liked the part where I suggested "Put the .50 cal there and the dual 20mm here." and "If the first warning burst doesn't make them heave to, put the second burst into their bridge or engine compartment."
#5
Old 11-14-2014, 08:08 AM
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I reject part of the OP's premise. PTSD is not caused solely by combat. You can have an office job and suffer from PTSD from a car accident or a mugging. Also plenty of people go through heavy combat and never suffer from PTSD. The reasons why one person will suffer and another going through the same situation will not are not fully known.

To avoid combat the branch isn't as important as the MOS. One advantage you have with joining the Army is that when you go in you are guaranteed a specific job. Some of the other branches don't guarantee. But in general I would say that the Air Force and Navy give you the least likely chance to be in combat.


Quote:
Originally Posted by user_hostile View Post
The smallest branch of the military is the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. I'm speculating they would have the lowest rate of PTSD of any of the branches. But they did serve in WWI & II (and some died). Wikipedia lists the reason that they were commissioned as officers, so that if they were captured on the battlefield (e. g., doing a survey), they wouldn't be executed as spies.

Looked into joining, but was told that they were swamped with applications in the mid-80's, so I nixed that idea. With about 300 people, I'm guessing they can be choosy.

The second smallest is the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (remember C. Everette Coop wearing his uniform?). Those folks do engage in such feats as dealing with epidemics (Ebola), along with major man-made (9-11), and natural disasters (hurricanes), so (I'm speculating here) likely to have some PTSD cases from the carnage and human suffering they're dealing with.
They are considered uniformed services. That means that their structure is defined by title 10 of the U.S. Code. They are not considered to be military.
#6
Old 11-14-2014, 08:34 AM
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20 years in the Navy. I never saw combat, although I was on the ground in Afghanistan for a short time. I have to agree with Loach, you do not have to go into combat to develop PTSD. I worked in a desk job for most of my time in the Navy, and had 2 friends take their own lives. In the short time that I worked on the flight deck I got blown down the deck by E-2 rotor wash, had to hide behind a tow tractor as the exhaust of a Tomcat was turned directly at me, and was on a ship where someone in the same job field as me accidently triggered an ejection seat while sitting in the carrier's hangar bay, instantly turning himself into a red splotch on the overhead (ceiling). I could have gotten PTSD, and who knows, it may develop at a later time. Also, for the last few years they have put out messages for Navy personnel to volunteer to do Army jobs in the war zone. If no one volunteers, then someone gets volun-told to go. There are plenty of opportunities to develop PTSD in all branches of the military.
#7
Old 11-14-2014, 09:35 AM
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Is there still an entity known as the Merchant Marine? I think WACS and WAVES had pretty low casualty rates.

"Branches" of the military is a pretty fluid concept, needing to be constantly adjusted according to the technology of wrfare. Are you talking about present-day branches, or historical?

As soon as you think you've got it pretty well narrowed down to land sea and air, along comes space and digital and intellectual and guerrilla and a few that we will think of later on in our own lifetimes. War has lasting power that wil defy men's ingenuity.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-14-2014 at 09:38 AM.
#8
Old 11-14-2014, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Is there still an entity known as the Merchant Marine?
There is. They are civilians.
#9
Old 11-15-2014, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
There is. They are civilians.
The Merchant Marine Academy still exists, in King's Point, NY. The Graduates become officers of merchant ships, as well as USNS ships which are Navy ships crewed by mostly civilians. (Also some Army controlled ships, but I don't know much about them.)
#10
Old 11-15-2014, 01:28 AM
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Branch is a bad way to look at it. An Air Force tactical air control party specialist is likely going to see more close combat than an Army personnel specialist. No matter the speciality though there's a chance they end up in close combat. Recent operations had Provincial Reconstruction Teams which were manned jointly including Air Force and Navy. A former Soldier of mine spent more time in close combat during the first gulf war when he was Air Force (Security Police) than he did in two combat deployments (Iraq and Afghanistan) as an infantryman.

Minimizing the exposure is a matter of job. Avoiding it is a matter of not holding up your right hand and taking the oath.
#11
Old 11-15-2014, 03:06 AM
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NM

Last edited by user_hostile; 11-15-2014 at 03:09 AM. Reason: End my hijack. I should really be in another thread.
#12
Old 11-15-2014, 03:17 AM
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Trust me, no service is going to take a USPHS physician, optometrist, dentist, or podiatrist, issue them cammies and a rifle, and send them out on a patrol. And any service that operates aircraft would find a NOAA meteorologist useful as a meteorologist. And any seagoing service would find data about ocean and sea depths, tides, and currents really useful too. Though they might be assigned some damage control and fire fighting stations when at General Quarters aboard ship, but that's just simple survival.
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