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Critical Incident Stress Management Course Held Aboard Ponce

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071230-01
Release Date: 12/30/2007 8:08:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nicholas Spinelli, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs

USS PONCE, At Sea (NNS) -- Deployments can be difficult. Months spent away from family and friends are hard for anyone. Sometimes the dangers associated with a military deployment can cause stress related issues to plague returning Sailors and Marines.

Fortunately, Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) are now better prepared to deal with traumatic and stressful situations courtesy of the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) course led by the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable (SOC), Chaplain, Cmdr. Bill "Gunny" Appleton.

Appleton said the course, which was held over a three-day period, teaches participants how to help others minimize and mitigate the troubles of trauma or stress related incidents.

"All units are required to have this program," he said. "It enables Sailors and Marines to assist each other when dealing with combat or other stress related issues."

According to Appleton, CISM provides the tools necessary to deal with problems before they become too serious.

Team member, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jeremey Gibson said attending the class provided him one more way to help his shipmates.

"As a corpsman, it's my job to take care of people and help them through physical traumas. CISM provides me with an opportunity to help people emotionally and mentally," said Gibson.

For his part, Appleton is not just an instructor of the course. He is also a long standing participant and advocate.

"The greatest thing in the world is when you see people doing well after a traumatic event and knowing you did something to help them," Appleton said. It's such a rewarding experience. It's taking care of our own and trusting each other to help with our problems. That's what being a Sailor or a Marine is about."

For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/phibron8/.

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