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David Marlowe

In 2014, the Center lost a friend and an important source of research guidance and wisdom: David H Marlowe PhD, former Chief of the Department of Military Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at USU as well as a senior consultant to the leadership of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. Dr. Marlowe died at the age of 83 after a prolonged illness.  

A lifetime of study of the effect of social structure and belief upon responses to human conflict, war, and natural disasters made him an extremely valuable colleague to the Center. The occasion of his death brings to mind his substantial contributions and the challenges that he has bequeathed us.

As a social anthropologist, he conceptualized culture and ideology as resulting from and defined by relationships to others. Throughout his career, Dr. Marlowe was concerned with how people organize their relationships with other people - close relatives, loved ones, coworkers, neighbors, members of the congregation, commanders, subordinates, peers, strangers, co-religious, those with shared culture or nationality, and those from other cultures. He pursued these interests and applied his insights within the context of military populations and groups, demonstrating how these relationships had a profound effect on both performance and health.

He was also committed to the concept that one learns about Soldiers by going to them in their operational environments and where they live.  His research took him and the research teams he led to combat zones in Vietnam, Panama, the Persian Gulf, and Somalia.  He was as much at home in tents with junior Soldiers as he was in the offices of the senior generals who sought his advice. He was willing to share hardship and risk with Soldiers to acquire the knowledge necessary to understand them and ultimately to make their lives better.