Throughout June 1918, the Marine Corps fought along with Allied forces in the Battle of Belleau Wood. This battle was a strategic win for the Allies during World War I as it injected new strength to the fight, stopped the German advance, and increased the levels of confidence and experience in our troops. The toughness and resilience demonstrated by our Marines led to the title of Teufelshunde or “Devil Dogs.” The intentional pursuit of mental, physical, spiritual, and social toughness was tangible among those fighting this battle. When Allied forces were ready to call defeat, Capt. Lloyd Williams -company commander of the 51st Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and graduate of Virginia Tech-, said, “Retreat, Hell! We just got here!” Capt. Williams fought intensely with his Marines and died a few days later. Wounded in battle, he told the docs, “Don’t bother with me. Take care of my good men.” In the face of difficulties, toughness keeps us relentless, resilient, and focus on the mission.
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month . PTSD is a mental health condition that develops in some individuals that have been exposed to or experienced a life-threatening event. Such events can be combat, natural disasters (such as fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and more), accidents, or sexual or physical assault. Statistics indicate that 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Even with all the public discourse and the prevalence of people developing this condition, the number of people seeking treatment is limited. One sign of toughness is the ability to ask for help when needed. Increased toughness comes we build interdependence, working together to establish cohesiveness and support to one another.
As we celebrate toughness in the memory of the 103rd anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood, let us take time to keep an eye on ourselves and others on our united fight against PTSD.
For more info please visit the US Department of Veteran Affair’s National Center for PTSD page.