Notes from Underground

When an Army psychologist sent us this letter from deep in the Iraqi battle zone, we couldn't resist posting it. Outside salutes his work, and offers the men and women of our armed forces best wishes for a safe return.

Jan 1, 2004
Outside Magazine

Bobby Sidell in the spiderhole where Saddam Hussein was captured—holding up an issue of Outside.   

Dear Outside,

I am a clinical psychologist with the 85th Combat Stress Control (CSC) Detachment, augmenting the 4th Forward Support Battalion, supporting the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4ID (yes, I know that is a mouthful). It is basically a mental health unit that goes out to take care of all the soldiers, especially the war fighters, and sustain them.

The mission of our team is to preserve the fighting strength of the soldiers. We convoy to where the soldiers are and check up on them. We walk around the units and talk to everyone, regardless of rank. As long as the soldier is stable and can continue with the mission, we keep them on the front line with their unit. If our team sees a soldier who is overwhelmed, we will pull them from the line and send them to our fitness team, where they can stay for three nights. There they will get some hot chow, some good sleep, and some additional support. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they return back to their unit without any further problems. We are all about prevention: identifying soldiers who have potential for serious issues, and quickly intervening so that they are stable and can keep doing their job.

The [attached] picture is of me at the hole where Saddam Hussein was captured. As you can see I am holding up an issue of your magazine. I discovered your publication while sifting through some magazines at my camp. I was instantly hooked. I enjoyed your focus on healthy living and outdoor activities. It is hard to get my hands on new issues out here, but I read every old one I come across. I will have to wait to read another issue until I return back to the States. I just wanted to let you know that you have a new reader out here in Iraq.


Bobby Sidell
Psy.D. CPT
MS Clinical Psychologist, 85th CSC

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