By Sgt. Cody Harding, TF Danger PAOSeptember 18, 2010
BASRA, Iraq - The new Combat Stress Clinic on the American base at Basra International Airport was named in honor of Sgt. Brandon Maggart in a ceremony Sept. 10.
Maggart, who served with Battery A, 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, was killed in an Aug. 22 rocket attack.
The clinic, which was recently refurbished, provides a place for Soldiers to meet with mental health professionals to deal with the stress that comes with operating in a combat zone. Controlling stress is an important part of the military's overall fitness, and the support center aims to help Soldiers cope.
The Combat Stress Clinic renovations, under the direction of Sgt. Sonja Young, a behavioral health technician with the 162nd Area Medical Support Group, were completed the day before the attack. After helping the Soldiers in Maggart's unit, Young, a San Antonio native, advocated that the new CSC be named after him.
Lt. Col. Pamela Breedlove, the commander of the Combat Stress Clinic, said Maggart's leadership was the reason behind his name being placed on the clinic.
"As Sgt. Maggart truly exemplifies the Army Values, Soldier Resiliency, and the tenets of combat stress control," said Breedlove, a Topeka, Kan., native. "Sgt. Young advocated that the new clinic area be dedicated in his name."
Before the renovations, the CSC was an unattractive place for Soldiers to visit. The building would often become too hot inside to be comfortable, and thin walls kept many discussions from being confidential. The building was improved by adding new air conditioning units, increasing the thickness of the walls, and remodeling the inside of the clinic.
Sgt. Jose Carrera, a Phoenix native serving as the 1st Inf. Div. behavioral health NCO, said the improved atmosphere helps Soldiers open up to the staff.
"Staff members are able to do their job better," Carrera said. "Just by improving the environment of the clinic helps improve the Soldier's [ability] to open up and be able to disclose more things the staff can use to help."
Breedlove said the renovations to the clinic help her and her Soldiers do their jobs more effectively.
"We're here for all Soldiers," Breedlove said. "It is our role to do what we can to help Soldiers and return them to duty." Carrera described the CSC and caring for the needs of the Soldiers under stress as a force multiplier.
"When you have Soldiers coming in and are able to receive the treatment they need, they go back to their units and become more resourceful, more effective, and therefore able to carry out the mission," Carrera said.
The clinic is situated across from the Troop Medical Clinic and is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.