A Vietnam Trilogy: Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989, 2000

By Raymond Monsour Scurfield | Go to book overview

SOME TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Character disorder: term used for persons with long-standing negative personality or psychological traits or characteristics and attitudinal and behavioral problems. While such are considered to be pathological, the person is fully responsible for one’s actions because he can tell right from wrong. More recently, such characterological problems are called “personality disorders.”

Combat medic: medically trained personnel who are attached to combat units and accompany the units into the battlefield.

Disposition through administrative channels: a military person who has problems of attitude and behavior will receive some kind of punishment if he is determined to be able to tell right from wrong and is fully responsible for his actions.

Disposition through medical channels: a military person is considered to have a legitimate medical (physical) or mental problem that impairs the ability to perform his or her duty to such an extent that the duty must be limited or the person may have to be given a medical discharge from active duty.

Flashbacks: a perception that one is reliving a prior traumatic event; in more severe flashbacks, the person fully experiences and believes he is in the actual event and has no consciousness of current reality.

General Medical Officer (GMO): a military physician who is a general practitioner

Mental Hygiene Clinic: outpatient psychiatric and counseling center. If fully staffed, it would have a psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist, psych or social work technicians.

Million dollar wound: a wound that is serious enough to merit being medically evacuated out of the war zone but not serious enough to leave the patient with chronic serious medical problems.

NVA (North Vietnam Army): the uniformed, regular forces of the Hanoi-based communist regime.

Psychiatric casualty rate: what the DOD released as official figures regarding how many troops had to miss three or more duty days due to a psychiatric problem or illness.

Social Work Officer (SWO): military person in the Medical Service Corps with an MSW degree.

Unit consultation: medical officer visit to a field unit to conduct an evaluation on a soldier.

VC (Viet Cong): the irregular enemy forces indigenous to southern Vietnam who were opposed to the Saigon-based Vietnamese government.

VC sympathizers: Vietnamese civilians who felt more allegiance to the VC than to the Saigon-based regime, although oftentimes their support was coerced by threat or violence from the VC.

-vii-

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