Riding Coattails!!!

I keep up with my alma matter, The US Army, on a couple soldier sites on Facebook. It’s cool to see some of the characteristics and traditions have withstood the test of time. It’s also frustrating to see the impact the culture wars have had on the military. I was blessed to be led by the leadership during my career, mostly Viet Nam Era career soldiers.

When I was a Drill Instructor we had a problem with vendors and DI’s. It might be the pizza guy who got to deliver hundreds of pizza and passed on the bread for using his service. Could have been the t-shirt guy who gave DI’s free hats and sweatshirts for using his services and ordering hundreds of items.

We stopped this while I was a Drill Instructor as part of a push for excellence in integrity. It was not ethical to benefit, other than emotionally, from our trainees money or loyalty. I missed the free outfits and food , but it was the right thing to do and everyone looked down on this practice.

Now I’m a veteran and I see countless, and I mean countless, number of leaders benefitting from veterans, many who don’t even exist. Then I read about how countless leaders within the Dept of the Navy went along with the “snipergate” lies because it was looking good for the unit and the service.

This “22 a day” sound bite going around got me curious. If we’re losing 22 veterans a day we either have a serious recruiting issue or the nature of war had changed to a degree the leadership has seriously failed. Considering the development of systems and tactics something didn’t feel right.

Veterans are a 21st century boon. There are countless folks out there benefitting from the efforts of our veterans. The number of agencies hammering the VA in an effort to privatize veteran services is astounding. These folks make up stories and misuse statistics to justify their efforts to provide services.

This brings me to “22 a day”. The average age of suicides by veterans in one sample is 60yrs old. Which would put them at the end of the Viet Nam era. The study a also divided the sample by deployed and non deployed. The majority of suicides reported were service members who weren’t deployed. I encourage you to google veteran suicide and “22 a day” also. Look at the reliable studies and inform yourself.

Suicides by veterans is an important issue. If the actual truth is that older veterans who were never deployed are the majority of the suicides then our approach and dollars need to be scrutinized so that folks can’t ride the coattails of veterans for personal gain.
Lead the way!!!

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