Category Archives: NCCOSC

Shipmates taking care of shipmates

By: CAPT Kurt Scott

Earlier this month, the world remembered a tragic day in American history — October 12, 2000 — the bombing of the USS Cole (DDG-67). Remembering that day made me reflect on how our world has changed and yet how some things remain steady; like the commitment of shipmates to each other which has never wavered.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daren Jones, Operations Specialist on the USS Cole at the time of the attack, shared his experiences. “I was scared just like everyone else [but] your training kicks in. Everyone acted with the same amount of bravery, the same amount of courage, the same amount of determination. It was amazing.”

Like the training that propelled the USS Cole crew to perform in a time of high-stress and uncertainty, Operational Stress Control (OSC) skills training facilitates conversations about stress awareness and strategies for stress navigation in both oneself and their shipmates.  It’s about having the ‘tools in the toolbox’ for those unexpected moments in both your Navy career and personal life.

Training, while it may feel cumbersome at times, is what keeps our ships and shipmates operating safely in rough seas and calm waters. The recently released NAVADMIN 262/13 requires OSC skills training within six months of deployment after January 1, 2014. MANY commands have already incorporated stress navigation training and tools into their deployments… and have reported great results!

In May 2013, the USS Stout (DDG-55) completed OSC skills training. Now, after more than two months at sea, Shipmates continue to THRIVE with Skipper, CDR Alpigini, reporting “we’re keeping everyone active and being creative about building resilience.  Most importantly, the team has the skills to identify problems amongst each other and knows how to direct Sailors to the right resources like Chaps, Doc, XO, CO, etc.” Learn about Stout’s creative approaches to stress navigation on its Facebook page.

A recent Navy News Service story highlighted the successes aboard the USS Boxer (LHD- 4) where its leadership worked to implement elements of an OSC program. BRAVO ZULU to the crew for recognizing the importance of stress navigation and taking on its very own local initiative, conducted in parallel with the OSC skills training mandate, to leverage local resources and execute the fundamental steps of a successful OSC program. Check out its Facebook page to follow their journey!

Many more ships throughout the fleet have reaped the benefits of OSC skills training over the past several years, and the sky is the limit. How has OSC training impacted your ship?

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: 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 

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

Navy Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference

May 23-24, San Diego, CA 

Click here for conference details

This year’s conference theme, “Joining Forces to Strengthen Resilience” was chosen to emphasize the important role of collaboration to further the common interest in promoting psychological wellness.

This event is the only one of its kind that brings together such a diverse audi­ence that is united in its passion to help ensure the psychological well-being of our Sailors and Marines.  In his welcome letter to attendees, Capt. Scott Johnston, NCCOSC director, said, “Current events increasingly remind us that even as our armed conflicts wind down, the stresses and demands on our service members and their families continue. They are not likely to abate for some time, and all are being called upon to do more with less. Clearly, the need to build and preserve psychological resilience has never been more critical.”

The conference will serve as an opportunity to ‘learn from one another’.  According to Johnston, “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 ways to identify stress and to mitigate it. Researchers will share findings from important studies that are under way, and there will be information on new treatments that show promise in helping our Sailors and Marines. These insights all will aid family members, whose support is so vital to the mission, in understanding and supporting their service members and in learning new skills that they can use to help themselves.”

Conference tracks include: Navy, Marine Corps, Research Clinical, Family and Specialty.

In addition to the wide variety of sessions, leadership excellence will also be recognized.  The Epictetus Leadership Award will be presented to an exemplary Marine and Sailor who have demonstrated excellence in executing any of the five core leader functions of combat and operational stress control – to strengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate – within their commands/units.

Several pre-conference workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, 2012, including the Third Annual Stress Research Meeting, the OSC Navy Leader Course and Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) team training.

Vice Admiral Richard Hunt, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Vice Admiral Gerald Beaman, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet; and Rear Admiral Elizabeth Niemyer, Deputy Chief, Wounded, Ill, & Injured, Director, Navy Nurse Corps will be in attendance and will address the importance of working together to build resilience.

You can “Tweet the Conference” or follow the conversation using the hashtag: #COSC12

For more information and to view the Conference Program Guide visit:

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

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

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element-West, visit