Operational Stress Control and Readiness
By Cpl. Jacob A. Singsank, 1st Marine Logistics Group
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A new program is being offered to Marines, by Marines, which equips them with the knowledge to save lives.
Roughly 50 Marines and sailors with units from 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Air Wing and Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group attended the five day Operational Stress Control and Readiness Program, earlier this month at I Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
“The Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) Program is being implemented throughout the operating forces to assist commanders in preventing, identifying, and managing combat and operational stress problems in their Marines and units as early as possible,” said Staff Sgt. Domonic R. Tino, master trainer, OSCAR Program, The Basic School, Quantico, Va.
The OSCAR Program trains Marines who work at battalion and squadron levels to provide help to stressed service members through early intervention in garrison.
The Marine Corps understands the seriousness of mental health problems due to deployment, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
That is why this program exists; to recognize symptoms early and get service members the help they need.
“War changes every Marine,” said Gunnery Sgt. Robert J. Gordon, assistant storage chief, Ammunition Company, 1st Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st MLG. “By asking for help, it makes the Marine stronger and mission ready for overall accomplishment.”
According to www.welcomebackveterans.org, untreated PTSD exacts an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society. People with PTSD often do not recognize that they are having problems and generally do not seek treatment on their own.
Gordon, 40, from Brooklyn, N.Y. said that the OSCAR Program is a great program because it gives Marines the tools needed to help out one another.
During the week-long class, Marines and sailors trained to receive their team-member and team-trainer certification. Team members work one-on-one with Marines and sailors to help them with stress. If they’re unable to resolve the issue, the service members are instructed to escort their stressed comrades to seek help from the chaplain or a medical facility.
During the team trainer portion of the class, OSCAR Program candidates train more in-depth using materials and practical application. Team trainers are authorized to certify qualified service members on being OSCAR Program team members.
Throughout the basic and advanced programs, the service members were taught through classroom instruction, facilitated instructions, role-playing, a leadership panel and practice sessions covering general OSCAR knowledge.
“The OSCAR Program’s key to success is the small unit leadership,” said Tino, 32, from New Britain, Conn. “If Marines grasp it, the institution thrives.” The course is setup to be instructed at all times to qualify candidates on being OSCAR Program team members whether the service members are preparing for deployment or have just returned from one. The master trainers made it a priority on the importance of identifying and providing help to stressed service member as soon as detected. If the stress on service members is ignored, they could have a mental break down causing injury to themselves or others.
“It’s okay to have problems and talk about them before they escalate,” said Tino. “The course is setup so we don’t make the same mistakes as our forefathers.”