Military Families

The Maine Reason Cutting Defense Spending Is So Tough

There was a report out the other day suggesting one thing the Pentagon might have to cut, as it tightens its belt, is the $1.3 billion it provides the Defense Commissary Agency, which runs 252 grocery stores around the world. Sure, those kinds of places made sense when troops and their families were stationed in far-off corners of …

Reverse Boot Camp: Pick Me, Drill Sergeant!

The President today announced a series of initiatives to help American service members better assimilate into the civilian world after leaving service. Several of these programs require Congressional approval, and there are already competing bills circulating inside the Dome of Shame. So it’s not clear exactly how these will play out. …

Military Suicides: The Families Left Behind

In the recent swirl of articles and blogs about the new Presidential policy on honoring those who suicide in combat with a condolence letter, there are some who may be lost: the Families. The controversy seems to be about whether or not you should “honor” the Soldier who died with a letter of condolence. Recently the White House …

Military Housing: Trials and Tribulation

Compared to many of my gay and lesbian colleagues, my time in service has treated me well. In general gay officers have it easier than our enlisted counterparts, and our options with housing play a large role.

Many newly enlisted troops are forced to live in small dorms with roommates. It’s usually not the barracks scene that …

Leroy Petry, the Medal of Honor and Intrepidity

This past weekend, I attended the wedding of my Army roommate who’s still on active duty. Among the many conversations of the assembled veterans, all junior officers who fought together in Iraq, was the award of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry, who sacrificed his hand to save his fellow Rangers in Afghanistan. …

A Smart “Dissenting Voice” on Troop Suicide Condolence Letters

Army Capt. DJ Skelton lost his left eye and can’t use his left arm because of a rocket attack in Fallujah. He went on to advise Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on wounded warrior issues.

Skelton has some interesting thoughts about the new White House policy, announced last week, to begin to send condolence …

Inside the White House Struggle with Condolence Letters and Suicides

White House aides emphasized Friday that President Obama’s announcement this week to send condolence letters to some troops who commit suicide was designed to patch a hole in a policy President Obama inherited. It’s part of a broader effort to recognize and address the common mental wounds of war, but it is also starting to feel to …

Controversy Grows over Obama’s Military Suicide Condolence Letters

Some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families are vexed by the seemingly arbitrary, location-based limits of a new White House policy to use condolence letters to acknowledge military suicides as legitimate casualties of war.

The disappointment is particularly palpable among family of troops who committed suicide after …

White House Suicide Condolence Letters for Troops Exclude Most Deaths

A new White House policy to send condolence letters to the family of troops who go to war and commit suicide excludes the vast majority of those soldiers and their families, undercutting President Obama’s stated effort to defray the stigma associated with mental health problems from combat. The loophole has also disappointed veteran …

Fixing the Human Wreckage of War

Thousands of soldiers, gravely wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, become as much as they can be through months of rehabilitation in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units. Every once in awhile a story pops up about how things fells apart for a specific WTU soldier. But most troops — somewhere around 80% — give their WTUs good grades, …

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