Overcoming fear in combat: How your pulse affects your ability to think rationally and make sound decisions.
The air is filled with dust and sharp cracks from bullets passing by mere inches away.
I dive for cover and begin returning fire. After 10 rounds I look around. My sections are in position. Without stopping to think I make a dash across an open field to get to the front section for a better overview.
I find the section commander in a ditch returning fire. He immediately starts to brief me on the situation. The words make no sense to me. I take two deep breaths to calm myself down. Suddenly I am able to grasp what he is saying:
“Four enemy fighters are in position in the hedgerow in front of us. If you can get 1 and 2 section to provide suppressing fire we can close in on them head on.”
It feels as if everything is moving in slow motion while the body is running on autopilot: How soldiers react to combat
”Soren, how does the body react in combat?”
I am often asked this during the Q & A when I speak about Afghanistan.
Reactions in combat are the body’s reactions to stress. Talking about them is often taboo. I had no idea how comprehensive such reactions were before I started studying them prior to my first deployment to Iraq in 2007
In their extreme forms a psychologist would label it ”acute stress reactions”. Such experiences are not limited to soldiers only. Any humans that are exposed to extreme stressors or traumatic events can suffer from acute stress reaction.Read More