Veterans

October 3, 2012

Dempsey: Americans will shape image of modern vet

Tags:
Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during the Landon lecture series on public issues at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., Oct. 1, 2012.

Now is when the image of todayís generation of veterans is being formed, and Americans need to have a dialogue on what that image will be, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Manhattan, Kansas, Oct. 1.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said he believes the conversation among Americans about todayís veterans has started. ìIím just trying to turn up the volume a bit,î he added.

Dempsey delivered the Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, and used the prestigious platform to focus attention on the dialogue.

Each generation of Americans has formed an image of its veterans. Dempsey spoke of the way America thought of the veterans who fought in Europe and the Pacific during World War II and that generationís post-war contributions. Americans also formed images of their veterans returning from Korea and Vietnam. ìEvery generation of Americans does that, and itís now time for us,î the chairman said.

Todayís veterans have shown courage, resilience, resolve and adaptability, and this must be taken into account as Americans form their image of this generation, he said.

To an extent, the veterans of today are no different from their predecessors. ìWe are Americaís sons and daughters from all across the country, from all walks of life, from myriad backgrounds,î he said.

Today, more than 2 million service members in all components are ìproud to wear the cloth of their country and to go wherever, and do whatever we need to do to serve in peace and in war. Thatís enduring,î the chairman said.

But some things set this generation apart from earlier ones, Dempsey noted. This military is an all-volunteer force. Only one in four young Americans even qualify to serve in the military, and this means there is a smaller number of Americans with first-hand military experience than in past generations. ìThatís got to mean something to the nation,î he said. The force is mostly married, Dempsey added, a sea change from his early years in the Army.

And, ìas of a few months ago, we now are serving in the longest conflict in our nationís history,î he said. ìWeíve asked probably the most significant contribution, over time, from our reserve components,î he said. And most service members have served numerous tours in combat.

The wars they are fighting are different from those in the past, the nationís top military officer said, and the asymmetric nature of the current battle means that any place is at risk with no real place of safety for an in-country break.

ìWhen you are in it, you are in it,î he said. ìThink about a young man or woman on patrol in parts of Afghanistan today, where the underground buried mine is a prevalent form of warfare. [They] exhibit incredible courage on the one hand, but there is incredible anxiety on the other, not knowing whether your next step could potentially be your last.

A veteran coming out of Iraq or Afghanistan ìgoes from life at Mach 4 to something far slower and somewhat more muted,î the chairman said. ìWhen I look at how we prepare veterans to move into civilian society, Ö thereís some work we can do.

Understanding who veterans are and what pressures they underwent for the country is a part of the discussion, but vets themselves have a responsibility in the dialogue, Dempsey said. ìWe all say thanks to [service members], but how often do we take the time to ask them to share their experiences, and how often are [they] willing to share their experiences? he asked.

Many times, even the toughest of veterans will say that coming home is even tougher than being in the combat zone, the chairman said. ìItís the emotional fear of constantly having to reintegrate with your family as they grow while you are not there,î he said. ìThere is in combat a singular focus ñ you know exactly what you have to do. Your purpose is defined, your mission is clear, the enemy will always try to confuse you, there will be fog and friction, but you have a sense of clarity thatís uncanny. Coming home, it is tough to reconcile that.

Overall, the chairman said, the image of todayís veterans is positive.

ìThe veterans of the past decade have each in their own way served heroically ñ but they are not all heroes,î Dempsey said. ìMany have experienced real horrors of war ñ but they are not all victims. All have served America and want to continue to serve her as they transition into your civilian communities.

Given what these vets have done for America, it is in the countryís best interest ìthat we allow this generation of veterans to contribute, to bring their strengths and their passionate curiosity,î he said. ìTo the extent that we all agree we want a stronger America, then we ought to find a way to ensure that these veterans are a part of it and work with them.

Ultimately, who these veterans are and the image of them that Americans share ìis a question that must be answered by them and by the nation that sent them to war,î Dempsey said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s future - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>