At an age when many people are considering retirement, Capt. Dan Grinstead was instead leaving for his first deployment to Afghanistan, according to an article on 9news.com, a website for Denver’s local NBC affiliate.
Grinstead, an Iowa native in his 60s and a social worker for 35 years, felt that his services would be best put to use helping soldiers cope with the multitude of stresses they face during combat.
“I just couldn’t imagine myself sitting down talking with soldiers in anything other than a uniform,” he told 9news.com. Leaving his family and being deployed with a team of 2,800 others, Grinstead helped his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan deal with issues like sleep disturbances, relationship problems, financial concerns and witnessing death.
Grinstead recalled the admiration he felt for the quiet strength the soldiers displayed under tremendous physical, emotional and mental stress as they risked their own lives to serve their country.
Lt. Col. Steven Kremer, the commander of Grinstead’s battalion, said Grinstead’s social work expertise was invaluable.
“Being able to deal with your emotions, your issues, your frustrations makes you a better soldier,” Kremer said in the article. “You know, Dan’s providing a form of body armor.”
Now that Grinstead is back in the U.S., he is adjusting to life again after deployment and coping with the change by sharing his experiences, the article says. His new mission is getting soldiers to adjust to life outside of combat as they return to their own homes and families.
As he said to 9news.com,”You hope you can explain to families what’s going on: Why am I scanning a room? Why am I driving the way I am? You have to have those skills to survive in a hostile environment, and the trick is to turn them off when you get home.”
From the February 2012 NASW News’ “Social Work in the Public Eye.”