FORT HOOD, Texas - After months of training, Soldiers from the 85th Medical Detachment, 1st Medical Brigade, said their farewells in a ceremony Mar. 25 before leaving for Iraq two days later.

The 85th Med. Det. is a combat stress control unit. In Iraq, the Soldiers of the 85th will help troops deal with the stresses of combat through various methods, including using man's best friend.

The unit, which falls under the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), recently trained with therapeutic dogs in preparation for their upcoming mission. The 85th Soldiers will work with those stress-relief dogs in Iraq to help Soldiers feel more comfortable when talking about their troubles.

"Some Soldiers may have difficulty opening up and talking about what's on their mind," said 1st Lt. Camille Betito. "But we are trained to help Soldiers open up, and we provide the tools to help them cope with their issues."

"Everyone that is deployed suffers from various physical and mental stresses," said Lt. Col. Lee Roupe, rear detachment commander for the Silver Knight Brigade. "It is the Stressbusters' job to help our Soldiers mitigate the effects of these stressors."

The unit is expected to be deployed for 12 months, and they will spread out to work in various locations throughout the country.

"Once they arrive in Iraq, the Soldiers will split up and go to different forward operating bases, usually in teams of two," said Betito.

Those teams will then be ready to talk and listen to Soldiers about the stresses that they face. Those issues may range from the traumatic events of combat or to the challenges Soldiers deal with from the home front while they are away.

"The drawdown of forces in Iraq has not removed the stresses that our Soldiers face while deployed," said Roupe.

The commander reassured his Soldiers that the Silver Knight Family will take care of their loved ones while they are gone.

"It is necessary for us to ensure the success of your family back home - to ensure the success of your mission," he said. "We will see you back here, safe and healthy, in 12 months."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16