Tag Archives: NCCOSC

Joining Forces to Strengthen Resilience

(Video link)

As we have written about previously, the 2012 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control Conference took place in San Diego this past 23rd and 24th of May.

We are excited to announce the conference plenary session videos and audio recordings of breakout sessions with corresponding PowerPoint presentations are now available for viewing at:


The below Navy NewsStand article highlights many different aspects of the conference which included tracks for Navy and Marine Corps leaders, researchers, clinicians, and families.

For more information on the conference visit the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress control website: www.NCCOSC.navy.mil or find them on Facebook and share your conference feedback.



Resilient Sailors Keep Fleet Moving
Story Number: NNS120525-06
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Maria Yager, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

 SAN DIEGO (NNS) — More than 1,500 service members and civilians representing all branches of the military attended the 2012 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference in San Diego May 23 and 24.

The conference matched operational leaders from the fleet, like Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, Naval Surface Forces; and Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; with medical and readiness experts including Rear Adm. Elizabeth Niemyer, deputy chief, Wounded, Ill, & Injured, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Behavioral Health, and Navy medical and readiness researchers. 

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to be here at this conference. I think it is very meaningful, very important and is a very strong signal to our Sailors just how much importance we give to this work,” said Hunt. “Being able to develop resilience for our people, giving them the right resources, the right training and education so that they can adjust to the very uncertain environment that we have out there is important.”

The theme, Joining Forces to Strengthen Resilience, was chosen to directly support the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which is a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, across a spectrum of wellness that maximizes each Sailor’s and Marine’s personal readiness to hone the most combat effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

“Making sure we take care of our people in a very positive way, upfront and early is what is absolutely necessary to make sure we have that continual combat readiness that we need,” said Hunt.

Participants discussed Operational Stress Control (OSC) and the Combat and Operational Stress Continuum. The continuum is a color-coded guide for Sailors and leaders to measure their stress as it relates to one of four zones: ready, reacting, injured or ill. 

According to OSC, stress is a part of everyday life. Used to our advantage stress can move us to higher levels of performance, but too much or extreme stress can have negative consequences. OSC seeks to educate Sailors, Marines, families and command leaders to take care of themselves, to stay fit and healthy, to look out for one another and take action when they see themselves or others reacting negatively to stress. The goal is to prepare 21st Century Sailors and Marines and their families to positively manage the stress.

“The challenges out there change on a daily basis and the more prepared they are with a very rich education and background the better they are to adapt and overcome,” said Hunt. 

OSC and the continuum are concepts applicable to the entire fleet.


COSC presenters included Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program; Navy Physical Readiness Program; Marine Total Fitness Panel; Navy Personnel Research Studies; Technology, Fleet and Family Support Center; and experts in nutrition, resiliency, sleep studies, behavioral health, suicide prevention and post traumatic stress disorder.

“This is a distinctive event because it is the only one of its kind that brings together such a diverse audience that is singularly united in its passion to help ensure the psychological well-being of our Sailors and Marines,” said Capt. Scott Johnston, director, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control. “Line leaders will help the medical community to understand the realities of readiness and operational needs. Healthcare providers, in turn, will inform leaders of the best way to identify stress and to mitigate it.”


For more information on combat and operational stress control visit www.NCCOSC.navy.mil. 

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.

Related stories:
Military Looks to Boost Ways to Fight Stress – UT San Diego

Success At Sea

This blog post is part of the OSC Five Core Leader Functions series that will feature several guest bloggers.

by Rob Gerardi, Instructional Designer/Outreach Speaker, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control

The best command I ever served aboard was the USS HIGGINS (DDG-76). After the 9/11 attacks the OPTEMPO and requirements for all ships increased immensely and ours was no exception.  We experienced our share of operational stress and observed its affects. However, our Sailors persevered and the HIGGINS earned multiple major awards.

The secret to our success was truly no secret–unit cohesion and quality leadership. The ship’s tight knit atmosphere encouraged us to know each other on professional and personal levels so we could be aware of and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As a result, when there were signs of distress, or changes in behavior or functioning, timely interventions prevented small problems from becoming big ones.

Equally important to our success was our senior leadership’s monitoring of our command’s stress level. While we pushed ourselves to achieve mission, we also identified the stress zones in which individuals were operating moment to moment – and watched for the stressors that presented the greatest challenges. Keeping an eye on both our workloads and our shipmates allowed us to anticipate when the wear and tear would become too much.

However, it’s not enough to identify when someone is having trouble navigating stress, we have to act. Don’t let stigma be a barrier to admitting to your own or someone else’s stress problems.  On HIGGINS, we continually looked out for each other and ensured that everyone who needed help got it. Still today, many of us commonly engage each other and reminisce on how great that command was.

So, know the stress continuum, identify when you or your shipmates are in the yellow “reacting” zone, before you or they become “injured.”   Then have the courage to ask for help, or engage and help out a Shipmate. At the end of the day the most important thing you have is the pride of your mission and the respect and admiration for the Sailors and Marines serving by your side.

YouTube video – Navy OSC – Identify

About the Blogger:

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Gerardi enlisted in the United States Navy on September 16, 1985. He has served as an Independent Duty Corpsman; Program Director, Independent Duty Corpsman School; Command Master Chief for the Naval School Health Sciences; and as the Commander Naval Surface Forces, Force Medical Master Chief. He retired January 2009, and works for the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control, promoting the psychological health of Sailors, Marines and their families.

Related posts:

Conversations with a Cruiser CO – Practical Ways to Mitigate Stress

OSC’s Five Core Leader Functions

Now I  Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?

Sailors, Marines Learn Laughter May be Best Medicine in Preventing Combat Stress

As part of  OSC’s efforts to use humor as a way to relieve stress, the OSC Team partnered with the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) conference planning committee to bring representatives from the National Cartoonist Society and The Humor Project, Inc. to this year’s Navy and Marine Corps COSC conference. The following article highlights what the experts said about using humor to prevent stress injuries.

Sailors, Marines Learn Laughter May be Best Medicine in Preventing Combat Stress

Release Date: 4/28/2011 5:05:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Sailors and Marines learned how humor can help prevent combat stress issues at the 2011 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference in San Diego, April 27.

The second day of the four-day conference emphasized different methods to deal with stress and featured guest appearances from the National Cartoonist Society and representatives from The Humor Project, Inc.

“There are a whole variety of ways stress can be prevented using humor,” said Dr. Joel Goodman, Humor Project founder and director. “Steve Allen said nothing is quite as funny as the unintended humor of reality. So, a homework assignment would be, for five minutes a day, to make believe you’re Steve Allen, looking for humor in reality.”

“A second tip would be to have a childlike perspective; look at the world through the eyes of an eight-year-old and see if you can reframe that adult mess of stress with a childlike perspective,” added Goodman.

Another method Goodman mentioned was trying to see a situation the same way a person’s favorite cartoonist or comedian would see it.

Some of those favorite cartoonists were actually part of the conference lecture as well. Members of the National Cartoonist Society addressed the conference about the impact of humor on stress.

“We’ve heard doctors say humor actually helps the healing process,” said Jeff Bacon, cartoonist for the “Broadside” comic published in Navy Times. “I’ve heard people say ‘that’s the first time I’ve seen that person smile since they’ve been here.'”

The cartoonists held an exhibition of their renowned artwork, where they drew cartoons and caricatures for Sailors and Marines at the conference.

While in town, the group also spent time visiting service members at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD).

“That’s why I appreciate the cartoonists being here, because they’re making an effort to get a new perspective on what it’s like to be in the military and go overseas and fight,” said Ensign Meghan Malone, conference attendee and nurse at NMCSD.

The cartoonists were grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with service members.

“We felt that this is something we should do for the troops,” said Bacon. “It’s hard to describe, but when you’re a cartoonist, and you’re in your room by yourself drawing cartoons, you don’t get out and experience a lot of things, sometimes. So, for us to be able to go out on a ship, or go out to Iraq, or Walter Reed or Brook Army Medical Center and shake the hands of what we call ‘real people,’ it means something to us.”

After the cartoonists’ presentation, Goodman concluded the lecture by thanking military members for their service and reminded them humor is a gift they need to give each other and their families.

With all the deployments and challenges a military family will face, they need humor to keep themselves close, said Goodman.

A goal for the COSC conference is for leaders at all levels to learn new ways to strengthen the force of the Navy and Marine Corps, along with recognizing stress injuries and effective ways to deal with them.

For more information on The Humor Project and ways to conquer stress, visit www.humorproject.com.

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element-West, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacensandiego/.

Combat Operational Stress Conference Kicks Off in San Diego

The OSC Team partnered with the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) conference planning committee to bring ‘real life’ testimony from humorists to commanders and family members about the tools they use to relieve stress. Our next few blog posts will feature highlights and stories from the conference. We encourage you to share them on Facebook and Twitter.

Combat Operational Stress Conference Kicks Off in San Diego
Release Date: 4/27/2011 4:56:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Sailors and Marines are learning new ways to fight off the stresses of military life at the 2011 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference in San Diego, April 26-29.

The theme of this year’s conference highlights “the critical role of junior leaders” and how their actions are vital in stress management.

“Operational stress increasingly affects our personnel; the stakes are high,” said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, one of the conference keynote speakers. “Operational stress control is the foundation for combating that stress, therefore this conference is important. We, as leaders, are charged with the well-being of our Sailors, Marines and their families.

“The collective goal is to build an environment where our people have the skills, support network, and if necessary, the clinical health care to deal with psychological challenges—and succeed,” added Greenert.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West also addressed attendees at the onset of the conference and spoke about junior leaders.

“Leadership is not always about rank,” said West. “It’s the foundation of who we are. Those young leaders are our future and we have to invest in them. Our challenge in the military, for all these programs, is to make sure that our folks know what’s out there.”

MCPON said making sure the various programs are accessible and that service members are aware of them is important, but leaders should make sure both immediate and extended families are included in the information dissemination.

The annual conference focuses on practical tools leaders can apply to prevent or identify stress, and how early intervention with problems is critical to keeping the military fully operational.

“In my view this is predominantly a leadership issue,” said Greenert. “Leaders must be actively engaged in assuring subordinate psychological health and well being. It is complex– unlike our ships, aircraft and equipment, our people cannot run on ‘autopilot,’ nor can they be started up and ‘placed on  a governor.'”

Greenert encouraged leaders to continue to engage their subordinates, to know what is going on in their lives, and added that leaders need to explain how everyone in the chain-of-command plays a vital role.

“Explain how their sacrifices have meaning and value,” said Greenert. “Extend the leadership to their families. Facilitate that family readiness and make sure they have the information they need while the unit is gone.”

Greenert mentioned ways military leaders can seek help for stress issues, such as the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s special psychiatric rapid intervention team, the Navy Operation Stress Control Leaders Course, and the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions.

A goal for the conference is for leaders at all levels to learn new ways to strengthen the force of the Navy and Marine Corps, along with recognizing stress injuries and effective ways to deal with them.

The conference is scheduled to provide specific information, such as how humor can be used to tackle stress, how sleep affects stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and stigmas of stress injuries.

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacensandiego/.

National Cartoonists Society cartoonists to appear at upcoming COSC Conference

If you have been reading our blog for a while then chances are you have seen a cartoon or two done by Jeff Bacon, the creator of Broadside.
Recently, Jeff posted on his blog information on his panel with the National Cartoonists Society:

from the Broadside Blog as featured on militarytimes.com

Cartoons and science

I know what you’re thinking: “This will be a short article.”

Maybe so, but I mean it. On April 27th about a dozen professional cartoonists are actually going to be part of the Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control conference in San Diego.

See? Here’s the agenda.

Combat and Operational Stress is an important topic, and there are experts who have dedicated years of research trying to figure out its cause and effect on our troops. The agenda is full of doctors, psychologists and PhDs who plan to discuss treatment, mitigation, and avoidance.

The cartoonists are not in that group of experts, unless drawing goofy pictures is considered science. We have visited troops all over the world, injured and not, but that’s about as far as our expertise goes. But there we’ll be, and quite frankly, we are starting to get stressed ourselves. It is more like test anxiety, when you know you didn’t study hard enough before a big exam. And they’re going to ask us questions!

Scientific questioner: “Mr. Bacon. How do you relate the bio-morphmic defibulation of cartooning with the transgressional overlap of neuro-toxins in the brain?”

Bacon: “That’s a good question. Usually, I just draw cartoons.”

(Awkward silence)

The funny thing is, though, we have – read more