Veterans Roundup: Confederate Base Names, Suicide Plan Delays and More Challenges Out There

Posted by Fred Wellman

Veterans group urges White House task force to release plan for suicide prevention after delays
Stars and Stripes, Nikki Wentling (@nikkiwentling)

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) recently called on Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to “release its past-due plan to prevent veteran suicide,” intended to establish a “roadmap” for improving national and local efforts to prevent veteran suicide. In March 2019 Trump established a task force led by Wilkie to “mobilize every level of American society” to address the veteran suicide crisis; the task force was supposed to submit its strategic plan by March 2020, but Wilkie repeatedly pushed back the deadline. Jeremy Butler, the CEO of IAVA, said that the VA used the pandemic as an “excuse to delay” publishing its strategic plan, and noted that the “ongoing and pervasive effects of the pandemic are only exacerbating” already-high rates of veteran suicide. Anthony Hassan, president of Cohen Veterans Network, said that the “system [will be] flooded” with veterans in need of mental health care after the pandemic, and encouraged veterans to “take ‘timeouts’ at home by being alone and listening to music, taking a walk or calling someone who’s a good listener.”

Military Leaders to Troops: It’s Time to Talk About Racism and Protests, Richard Sisk (@militarydotcom)

Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25 and subsequent protesting regarding police brutality, leaders from each of the services have published memos addressing Floyd’s death. Those letters called for “dialogue” and “listening” as a common theme of action. In reaction to the backlash that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper received for joining Trump on a walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal church that required violent clearing of protesters, Milley included a brief handwritten note in addition to his memo. The concern now lies in whether Trump will go through with his online threats of deploying the National Guard, despite statements from the service chiefs advising against it.

‘What I saw was just absolutely wrong’: National Guardsmen struggle with their role in controlling protests
Politico, Daniel Lippman (@politico)

Multiple National Guardsmen have expressed their discomfort with being “weaponized” and used as displays of power amidst peaceful civilian protests, causing increased unrest due to their presence. The difficulty comes from the distance between being seen as heroes following deployment to aid in areas severely impacted by COVID-19 to having items and insults thrown at them by protesters who lump them with police officers. Guardsmen have struggled with their duty to provide protection of the right for peaceful protest, with some noting that they felt their job was to ultimately protect the protesters from the blatantly appalling actions of the police, as well as the continued false claims about violence at peaceful protests.

Meet the former soldier who gave DC National Guardsmen an impromptu phalanx lesson in this viral video
Task & Purpose, Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra)

Earlier this week, a video of a man walking up and down a line of National Guardsmen emerged – he was ordering them to “close the gaps” of their broken phalanx during police brutality protests in Washington, D.C. The impromptu instructor was a former D.C. Guardsman, Wayne Carr-Maiden, who saw things were escalating and said, “Things can go from zero to 100 really quick. I would hate if my battle buddies get all this inappropriate slander thrown at them . . . They are just following orders to protect what they’re told to protect.”

Called to Lead
CNAS, Barrett Bogue (@BarrettBogue) and Dr. Andrew Morse (@AndrewMorseIA)

In this study, authors Barrett Bogue and Dr. Andrew Morse look at the connections between military service and higher education leadership. Specifically, the purposes of this study are to “(1) to identify the connections between military service and higher education leadership competencies; and (2) offer recommendations for growing the number of service members and veterans who are positioned to assume leadership roles in higher education settings.” Significant findings from the study include the reasons veterans choose to work in higher education and the leadership tools gained through military service that they utilize.

The racist history behind the 10 US Army facilities named after Confederate leaders
Vox, Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox)

In recent months, the US Army has come under pressure to rename 10 bases and facilities that are currently named after leaders of the Confederacy. John McHugh, who served as secretary of the Army from 2009 to 2015, said, “If the former Confederate state of Virginia can remove the statue of General Lee from Richmond, the capital city of that Confederacy, today’s Army ought to be able to respond to the realities of today as well.” Many people find that this is long overdue – Fred Wellman, ScoutComms Founder and CEO, said, “We are forcing our black soldiers to serve on a base named after leaders who served to keep them in chains.”

Fred Wellman

Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of veteran news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. Follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms

This entry was posted on Monday, June 15, 2020 1:42 pm

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