Veterans

October 31, 2012

Returning veterans need nation’s support

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised caregivers and other people and organizations that support the nation’s military veterans at an event in Washington, D.C., Oct. 30.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., who spoke at the Military Officers Association of America Community Heroes Award Dinner, also extended his thoughts and prayers to Hurricane Sandy victims, noting the Defense Department is teaming with other federal agency and state and local partners in response and recovery efforts.

“We in DOD are working very, very hard in support of our civilian partners [and] in support of the various states that have been impacted by this [storm],” Winnefeld said.

Turning to the association hosting the event, he noted that the nonprofit organization’s legacy of support for the military can be traced to its 1920s roots in Southern California, with an enduring focus on advocacy for and assistance to fellow and former members of the military.

“We recognize the ongoing efforts of … individuals, organizations and family members who comprise the sea of goodwill and have made such a tremendous difference,” Winnefeld said.

He reminded attendees that “half a world away,” the nation remains at war.

“We’ve already furled the battle flags from Iraq,” Winnefeld said. “We need to make sure that our support for these men and women doesn’t fade over time, long after the battle flags from Afghanistan are furled over the next couple of years.”

Winnefeld listed several steps Americans should take to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

“As our troops transition to civilian life, we have to continue to highlight that employing a veteran is not charity,” Winnefeld said. “Who better to hire than someone with transportable skills, who has ingrained discipline and … so clearly [demonstrates] the willingness to sacrifice for something bigger than themselves?”

With a 12 percent unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans and a million more service members preparing to re-enter the workforce in coming years, Americans must do more to ensure veterans have a place to sleep at night, Winnefeld said.

“Tonight, one-third of the entire adult homeless population in our nation is veterans,” Winnefeld said.

Despite charities in Washington and beyond aimed at reducing homelessness among the veteran population through housing, employment assistance and career counseling programs, he noted, more than 67,000 former troops sleep on the streets.

“There’s more we can do to both prevent this from happening in the first place and … get those who have fallen into homelessness back on their feet … into the workplace and … [into] a proper home,” he said.

The admiral also noted caregivers’ attention to wounded warriors and gave thanks for the technical advances over the last decade during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including rapid movement from the battlefield and post-battlefield medical care.

“We’re … grateful for the immediate caregivers, the remarkable, dedicated medical professionals we have across the spectrum of care,” Winnefeld said. “From battlefield corpsmen … to those in … facilities in Afghanistan … [and at] Landstuhl, to the people who receive and transport … wounded warriors, to [continental U.S.] medical facilities.”

The admiral praised the professionals who saved many American warriors, noting more lives would have been lost in earlier wars.

“Thankfully, as these warriors return to a grateful nation, they will be with us for decades, but that means we need to make sure we take care of them and their unseen and seen wounds for decades,” Winnefeld said.

Injured veterans require the support and attention of caregivers, communities and families, who all, in turn, need the nation’s support, the admiral said.

“This is a family business we’re in … and the role … these essential caregivers [fill] is indescribable in its importance and sacrifice,” Winnefeld said. “These people literally drop everything for years at a time to care for our injured, giving up their careers and their lives … they are patriots, and we must do all we can to provide them the direct and indirect support that they need and deserve.”

Other caregivers, Winnefeld added, push the bounds of military medicine and therapy in areas such as prosthetics and physical rehabilitation, giving courage and hope to a new generation of wounded warriors.

“Thanks to all these caregivers, our wounded sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have a future that’s brighter than ever before,” Winnefeld said. “Yet even with [the] outstanding support of our caregivers, our collective work is not complete; there’s more work to do.”

The admiral encouraged the nation to renew its resolve to provide a continuum of care that reflects the same level of commitment veterans have shown their country on the battlefield.

“Together, we can continue to fulfill the commitment.”

 




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


 
 

 

VA expands disability benefits for AF personnel exposed to contaminated aircraft

The Department of Veterans Affairs June 18 published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part...
 
 

Soldier missing from World War II accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 16 that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John W. Herb of Cleveland, Ohio, was buried June 18, in...
 
 

VA campaign encourages public to help raise PTSD awareness

As the country recognizes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA National Center for PTSD is inviting the public to participate in its “PTSD Awareness: June 2015” campaign, which began June 1. This year’s goal is to help more veterans, their families, caregivers and community members understand what PTSD is and know that there are...
 

 
Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn

U.S. paratroopers, WWII veterans pay homage to D-Day 71st anniversary

Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn U.S. Army veterans Cpl. George Shenkle, center right, of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and Sgt. Isaac Phillips, center left, of the 4th Infantry Division, sa...
 
 

VA launches community-based employment service for homeless veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced June 10 a new employment program aimed at helping job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness, and those on the brink of homelessness, gain stable and long-term employment. The new program, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services, relies on Community Employment Coordinators who know their communities and can work with local employers to...
 
 

Arlington denies burial of guardsman killed in chopper crash

Arlington National Cemetery says a Louisiana National Guardsman who was killed in a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico can’t be buried at the hallowed grounds because he was killed during a training exercise. The burial plots are only for service members who die on active duty and space is limited, the cemetery says....
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>