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Martin
12-12-2004, 08:36
Understanding Fear's Effect on Unit Effectiveness (http://www.army.mil/professionalwriting/volumes/volume2/december_2004/12_04_3_pf.html)
Gregory A. Daddis
Military Review
July-August 2004

Martin
12-12-2004, 08:38
Please see above link instead.

Martin
12-12-2004, 08:40
Please see above link instead.

Martin
12-12-2004, 13:10
This reminded me of a quote, originally said by a Vietnam era soldier addressing a group of soldiers at basic in the '80s. (I read it in a book)

The fear that you are carrying has got a name. We call it birdchest. Yes, I suppose you feel tough and proud and believe you can complete if not great acts then at least... acts. But we know... that deepest inside you are all a little birdchest. Small frightened heartbeats. To fight and to kill is to be a birdchest. To do fearsome raids under time pressure is to be a birdchest. To maintain a human feeling for human life after the butchering and the killing on the battlefield is to be a birdchest. You better acknowledge the fact that during the most part of your duty you will be afraid. The day you no longer feel the fear it's time to change job, cause then you will automatically become a danger for yourself and your surrounding envoirment. Think about it, gentlemen. Understand that war is fear, nothing else than clean and pure fear.

Martin

alphamale
12-15-2004, 13:12
Most interesting part of that article to me was the extent to which being alone vs with others was emphasized as a primary driver of fear in the soldier.


[fighting alone]

"A soldier, pinned to the ground by hostile fire, with no form of activity to divert his thought from the whistling flails of lead that lash the ground about him, soon develops an overwhelming sense of inferiority. He feels alone and deserted. He feels unable to protect himself."


vs


[fighting with others; cool quote]

One Union soldier advancing on Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in 1862 gained courage from General C.F. Smith, who rode calmly among a hail of Confederate minie balls: "I was scared to death, but I saw the old man's white mustache over his shoulder, and went on."




Academic articles like this always seem to find a away at least once to restate the obvious as a "finding". Here is this ones. Hope he didn't put too much research into discovering this..


"Israeli military psychologist Ben Shalit thought that men could train to overcome fear by handling frightening and unusual situations. While such preparation might not have guaranteed fearlessness in battle, it did develop a "trust in one's ability to handle difficult situations."

Martin, thanks for the post.

FrontSight

Martin
12-15-2004, 13:18
Martin, thanks for the post.

FrontSight

You're welcome.

Martin

Razor
12-15-2004, 13:51
[fighting with others; cool quote]

One Union soldier advancing on Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in 1862 gained courage from General C.F. Smith, who rode calmly among a hail of Confederate minie balls: "I was scared to death, but I saw the old man's white mustache over his shoulder, and went on."

This is why the motto of the infantry is "Follow Me".

Kyobanim
08-25-2005, 21:20
This thread deserves a bump. This information translates nicely to the civilian world. Good stuff, Martin.

A Soldier
09-09-2005, 14:48
How do the skills mentioned in the article translate well to the civillian world??


I don't know of too many civilian position that face fear on a daily basis.

Could you please elaborate.

Pete
09-09-2005, 15:32
This is why the motto of the infantry is "Follow Me".

You forgot the rest of it

Follow me, I'm right behind the engineers :D

Solid
09-09-2005, 16:49
FS,
It is necessary in science to prove even the most commonsensical things because they then can be used as solid building blocks for more advanced thought. Also, this can often lead to discovering a flaw in common sense. For example, it was for a very long time common sense that the world was flat, or that the sun orbited the earth, or that there was nothing in the place of the U.S....

Solid

Pete
09-09-2005, 17:31
How do the skills mentioned in the article translate well to the civillian world??


I don't know of too many civilian position that face fear on a daily basis.

Could you please elaborate.


All of the Para-military forces, police, emergency services/first responders, fire fighters, security guards, gate guards at a high school football game, ticket takers at a concert.

A private citizen who comes on an overturned car in a creek, a biker who's friend slide over the edge of a cliff while biking.

When an emergency happens you need to solve the problem not run around in circles with your hands to your cheeks screaming.

As an everyday civilian you do not generally walk through life saying I will face
fear today. Fear generally jumps right out from around the corner straight into your face. And fear comes in many forms.

aricbcool
09-09-2005, 17:37
You forgot the rest of it

Follow me, I'm right behind the engineers :D

:D

Reminds me of Starship Troopers...

Unofficial Engineer motto:"First we dig 'em, then we die in 'em."

Classic book.

--Aric

Tubbs
09-09-2005, 23:17
Another good resource on this subject is the book "On Killing" by David Grossman (my apologies I don't remember if he is a retired Col. or LtCol. and I lent out my copy of the book).

lksteve
09-09-2005, 23:34
How do the skills mentioned in the article translate well to the civillian world??mastery of fundamentals...name a field of endeavor...those that master the fundamentals, whether it involves personal risk or not, a good grounding in the fundamentals allows someone to persevere in the face of stress, whether it is working in the dust and noise of a construction site or dealing with a hundred ringing telephones...

every day, i send survey crews out to work on four and six lane highways and roads, with traffic moving at 65 miles an hour around them...they need to keep their SA on a keen edge, they need to have mastery over fundamentals, they need mastery of the equipment and software they use to be effective and safe...the more a crew is experienced in the environment, the more work they can accomplish...this is not to say that they are sent out without instruction or guidance...

the unknown is a daunting situation for many folks, even without the presence of physical danger...i have been in a position, the last three years, of training survey crews for engineering companies, that for lack of a better explanation, lack the SA and understanding needed to keep surveyors employed...thus, there is a tremendous amount of turnover within these companies...novice crew and party chiefs are very apprehensive about working outside their comfort zone, and while normally they are cockier than a brand new buck sergeant/second lieutenant, they seem to be clingy when faced with a new challenge...call it leadership, call it management, call it what you will, but at times like this, the boss needs to step forward and take an active role in the actual work (rather than direct, budget, allocate, etc) until such time as the crew gains enough skill and experience to go foward without having their hands held...it's true in surveying, probably true in roofing, crab fishing and working on an oil rig...

i could go on, but the truth be known, a soldier has more skills to succeed in the civilian world than they know and certainly are more capable than their prospective civilian employer is aware of...as mentioned in the article, success breeds success and soldiers, well trained soldiers, anyway, become used to overcoming, adapting and perservering...IMNSHO...

Michelle
09-10-2005, 11:10
Another good resource on this subject is the book "On Killing" by David Grossman (my apologies I don't remember if he is a retired Col. or LtCol. and I lent out my copy of the book).

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I have a copy on my bedside table. Another good book is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker. His theories rest on the fact that TRUE fear is galvanizing, not paralizing... that from a bio-mechanical point of view, it should almost always promote action rather than non-action. I believe that to be true in my experiences, and yet you do hear of people who "freeze" or pull a "deer in the headlights". I wonder what sets one human beng apart from another in that regard. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

m1

Maisy
09-11-2005, 00:10
it should almost always promote action rather than non-action

Yes, I never did understand the "freeze" reaction. At moments of fear for myself, when the adrenaline kicks in, I go into overdrive. My brain works faster, my reactions speed up, etc, then when the crisis is over, and everything is dealt with, that's when I fall apart.

I would make two points though, 1) every time I have had a high fear situation, I have also had an action to take eg car accidents, dog attacks, etc. I am not sure what would happen if I ever had a high fear situation where I didn't have any idea what to do.
2) I have never (thank god) ever been in a situation where my life was under serious direct threat by others.
I therefore cannot predict with accuracy what I would do in either situation, and I would never assume that I would not freeze under those conditions.

However, in the day-to-day situations that I would have to deal with, I can't understand the freeze reaction. I have seen mothers do it when their children have been injured, and others have had to step in because Mum was useless. :(

HOLLiS
09-11-2005, 11:55
Maisy let my add some thoughts; to over come ones natural reaction to FEAR, is where training and experience comes in. One reason the military drives a trainee hard, with out sleep, in crappy conditions and under stress is to help that person learn a better way to deal with their FEAR, give them the self confidence to survive, and hopefully to come home.

Under extreme stress a person can become very cool and deliberate in action, but that is learned response. Professional military people, EMTs, Police, Firefighters etc.... will demonstrate that ability. Some thinks it comes with a cost. The stress eventually needs to be dealt with.

BTW there are types of fear, Objective and Subjective. Subjective fear is the easiest to over come, by training/experience and knowledge. Subjective fear may not even have a real threat. Objective fear is more difficult, it is a real threat. That is where the strength come from from deep down inside a person, the desire to survive and the tenacity to survive. I don't know if a person can "learn" how to act in that situation, or it is more innate. The desire to survive in not that same in all of us, from my experiences. There are others on this board who are far more qualify to speak on this than me, I hope they will.

Michelle
09-11-2005, 19:31
Maisy let my add some thoughts; to over come ones natural reaction to FEAR, is where training and experience comes in. One reason the military drives a trainee hard, with out sleep, in crappy conditions and under stress is to help that person learn a better way to deal with their FEAR, give them the self confidence to survive, and hopefully to come home.

Sorry, I'm not Maisy, but:

Lets take this down to the "civilian" aspect. I think that's why someone "bumped" this topic.... to let it morph into the the civilian application.

Under extreme stress a person can become very cool and deliberate in action, but that is learned response.

Is it?

I ask this honestly.... because I remember being in a situation when I was 12 years old, where everyone else fell apart, and I instead became pretty rational and focused. No one trained me. It just happened. And it has happened a few times since then.


BTW there are types of fear, Objective and Subjective.

This is very important. Can you expand on it more? I think it's the crux of the matter. I also think we (as a society) tend to blur the lines between "anxiety" versus "fear". Anxiety I have found can leave you in a state of non-action. You are apprehensive and still assessing the situation. Fear, I find, promotes action... it's a survival instinct and it MOVES you... in one way or another.

I don't know if a person can "learn" how to act in that situation, or it is more innate. The desire to survive in not that same in all of us, from my experiences.

This is the million dollar question. Why is that desire not the same in all of us?


m1

HOLLiS
09-11-2005, 21:07
"This is the million dollar question. Why is that desire not the same in all of us?"

Michelle, I was hoping more would respond to this.

I don't know. I do know some die easy, some die very hard... and why; I don't know. Maybe it is a simple mix depending on time. We all go through emotions of being able to take on the world one day and in the next day the opposite of wanting to hide under our beds.

In Fear, Ignorance can confuse a person to think what is the a real threat and what is not. The ability to understand what is and what is not a threat is important. In war it means living or not. In LE it means endless pages of explanations for a decision made in .01 seconds. AND/or?

safeasmilk
09-18-2005, 03:16
FEAR...strong word.
Freezing in a dangerous situation.
I was 12/13 and going out my back door on a sunny summer day.As I went down the steps I looked up at my neighbors yard,maybe 50 feet away.Mrs.R was at the barbeque ,tending to the grill.As I watched,she poured some fluid from a jar onto the grill.The whole grill exploded in flame,engulfing Mrs.R.She raised the flaming jar of fluid over her head and tossed it behind her ,not realizing her daughter was there.
Whooosh,they were both in flames,screaming.
I could not move.Thank God the husband came flying out his back door,ripped Mrs.R's blouse off and screamed at her to roll.He then jumped on his daughter and rolled her,smothering the flames.
I saw it all,yet I froze.I could not believe what I was seeing.I froze.
Never again.I made an effort to not let fear take control.Action,quick and purposeful,yet not mindless,must be taken.
As I have gotten older I have been in fear-inducing situations at the CIVILIAN level.I have not frozen,and I consider that to be a direct result of mental preparedness,not that you look at every situation and evaluate the danger potential,but the mental mantra of action,not inertia.Knowing that you can and will act.
My .02

72_Wilderness
09-19-2005, 14:59
and yet you do hear of people who "freeze" or pull a "deer in the headlights". I wonder what sets one human beng apart from another in that regard. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Could it be a shock to the person and a recovery time for the shock?

I was working on a band saw in my schools ag shop last week, everything was going fine, the saw was working, I wasn't cutting my fingers off, no one else was around to get in the way or cause accidents. All of the sudden I hear a horrendous bang, I jump back, the saw blade has stopped moving, I froze. I think because of shock because everything was working fine, the saw blade wasn't binding at all. I just stood there looking at the band saw as it continued to run. The saw blade had broken and the internal wheels continued to spin. From the classroom area I vaguely heard someone yell, "Turn it off." It took me about 2 to 3 seconds to register the order and then I carried it out. I wasn’t afraid just socked that it had happened or in other words not expecting it to happen.

Just another thing you can add to the box.
72W

Michelle
09-19-2005, 19:50
Could it be a shock to the person and a recovery time for the shock?

Could be. But what is "shock" to one person versus another?

Kinda similar to your situation but with a more graphic outcome:

When I was about 14, my brother was out in the yard cutting down a tree trunk with a chain saw and he slipped and cut his big toe off (okay, the fact he was barefoot while doing this is a whole other story about stupidity and Darwin awards but nevertheless)....

There were 3 people out in the yard besides me when this went down. EVERY single one of them stood there "in shock". I was the only one that flew over to him, threw a compress on his foot (my shirt) and screamed at my mother to go fill a bag full of ice. She finally moved when she had something to do. She had no idea why she was doing it though... lol. When she came out with the bag of ice, I picked his toe out of the grass (sorry if this is gross), and threw it in the ice and finally got people to help get bro in the car to head for ER. He puked twice in the car... he was going into "bonafied shock"... physical, not emotional.

SO, my question is... I was the youngest person out there in the yard... and EVERYONE else froze. Why didn't I?

There have been several situations like this before and since then.

It's not just a matter of self-preservation that enters the realm of fear.... for me fear can be just as gripping if a loved one is in danger (if not more so... actually sometimes it IS more so). And yet 98% of the time it makes me focus and move...not freeze.

SO....

This is why I am asking... how much of this is about training, and how much of it is innate? NO ONE seems to want to address this question here. Which seems interesting to me.

m1
P.S. Yes, they were able to reattach his toe...which was a darn miracle considering how mangled it was... it's not like a chainsaw makes a super clean cut on small areas. It doesn't look perfectly pretty, but its functional and thats all that matters at the end of the day. The ER doc asked how I knew to throw it on ice and transport. I told him I read lots. ;)

Maisy
09-19-2005, 20:22
how much of this is about training, and how much of it is innate?

No idea, but I believe there has to be an innate ability there to train. I wonder if it is linked to leadership ability/training?

The hypothesis would be that people born with the talent for leadership automatically take over situations where a leader is necessary, ie moments of great stress when others are looking for leadership. This does not mean that the leader actually chooses the right course of action.

If the talent is not natural, then organisations such as defence forces, law enforcement (and probably gangs, criminal orgs etc) train that skill into people.

There are still going to be people who naturally take the lead, and people who naturally look for leaders, but training gives the people who follow not only the muscle memory etc to rely on, but also the instant recognition of who to look to (therefore more confidence), and also gives the leaders the skills to know what the right course of action is?

What do you think?

Kyobanim
09-19-2005, 20:23
I'm not a psychologist or anything but I used to stay at a Holiday Inn Express when the pshrink ward let me out on weekend passes . . .

This is why I am asking... how much of this is about training, and how much of it is innate? NO ONE seems to want to address this question here. Which seems interesting to me.

Personally, I don't think it's as much training as personality type. Sure, if you take a person and train them for a job and train them well and they are studious, then you'll probably get someone who can react appropriately for a situation related to that particular job. And that's about as far as they are comfortable.

Whereas you take an "A" type personality, someone that is confident, doesn't scare easily and thrives in a stressful environment; they will react in a positive manner whether it be to take action themselves or 'order' someone to take action in a positive way.

Take an honest evaluation of your personality type and that of those present for your example and then look at the situation you addressed here, (this is an suggestion for everyone). You'd have to spend your life reading in order to react appropriately for every situation you might run across.

Here's my training example:

An infantry company runs drill for different types of ambushes. They run these drills until you're sick of them and then you run them again. Eventually, it becomes second nature and the whole unit can react to an ambush the right way most of the time.

Now, look back at the Jessica Lynch story. There was one truck driver in that platoon that did everything right: suppressing fire, he took out the mortar, and other things. I seriously doubt that this particular transport company ran ambush drills yet this one guy did the right thing. I bet this guy has one of those get'R'done personalities.

This all sounded good in my head. Hope it reads better to you than it does to me.


@Maisy - I agree with what you said about leadership