Combat Operational Stress Control Conference Concludes in San Diego

Bringing humor to the Navy and Marine Corps COSC Conference was well received but we couldn’t have done it without the generosity and support of Jeff Bacon, the Broadside author, and his band of talented cartoonists or Dr. Joel Goodman from The Humor Project. The following story recaps the week-long event, and encourages more participation at next year’s event.  

Combat and Operational Stress Control Conference Concludes in San Diego
Release Date: 4/30/2011 6:31:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The 2011 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference concluded April 29 at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego.

The annual conference provides information for service members on how to recognize stress injuries and teaches up-to-date, effective ways to deal with them.

“The conference is the biggest of its kind in the Navy, where it brings together clinicians, line leaders, other researchers and family members, who are all dedicated to this important mission of combat operational stress control,” said Capt. Scott L. Johnston, director of the Naval Center for COSC.

The conference provided specific information on how humor can be used to tackle stress, how sleep affects stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, stigmas of stress injuries and covered new concepts for stress injury therapy.

“I learned about the different programs and procedures the Navy is trying to implement,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brandon Little, assigned to Naval Hospital Guam. “I really like the virtual reality using video games. I mean, who doesn’t play video games? Being able to incorporate that into physical therapy is awesome.”

The theme of the 2011 conference highlighted “the critical role of junior leaders” and how their actions are vital in stress management.

“I got a lot of information to take back to my command,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Me-o-sha Isom, assigned to Naval Operational Support Dallas Detachment C in Austin. “As a junior leader in the medical department, I just really feel that it’s very important that junior leaders get the information out the best way they can. Even junior Sailors can educate the senior enlisted components as well.”

Johnston challenged military leaders to send more personnel the 2012 COSC Conference.

“We know budgets are tight and it’s hard to get funds to go to conferences, but we’re hoping this will ever-increase,” said Johnston. “We have 300 additional participants this year, and we’re hoping to have even more next year, because it’s important to get junior leaders the tools so they can build that psychological health within their Sailors and Marines.”

Other highlights of the conference included guest appearances from the National Cartoonist Society and representatives from The Humor Project, Inc.

Cartoonists spoke about how they’ve seen humor work against stress and spent time drawing caricatures and comics for service members in attendance.

“As political cartoonists and comic strip artists, we are here to provide a little levity to what is a very stressful environment,” said Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist and senior editor for Investor’s Business Daily. “This is just a small way for us to pay you back, and to say thank you for your service and for the sacrifices you and your families are making.”

Additionally, the conference emphasized the importance of chaplains, medical personnel and leaders informing military family members of available programs for help.

Speakers reiterated the importance of making sure both immediate and extended families are included in the information dissemination of stress-related military programs.

For more information on ways to fight stress, visit

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