HKY4Vets - Hickory, North Carolina • Aug 22, 2020
It Has. It Can. It Will.
There is one aspect of our modern US military which has always amazed me – the ability of individuals that come from every corner of our country, from different cultural backgrounds, from different races, religions, political persuasions, [insert typical cultural divider here] to rise above that multitude of differences to form one team, with one mission, for one country.
The thought immediately conjures up a stupidly Hollywood example – the scene as Forrest Gump describes fellow members of his platoon, “There was Dallas, from Phoenix; Cleveland – he was from Detroit; and Tex… well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.” The differences between these individuals remain, yet here they all are, thousands of miles away in Vietnam – ensuring the safety and security of each other, the concept of “Band of Brothers”.
To accomplish such a feat of the mutual mission, on such a global scale, over such a historical period of time is truly awe-inspiring and probably exists without much precedent. Is our nation’s military perfect in terms of gender/race/religion/etc? diversity and inclusion? Absolutely not.
Has had its own grievous injustices in the past, some of which surely continue today? Yes, most definitely. Even with tremendous areas for continued improvement, I believe no better organization/company exists that celebrates or ensures inclusion more than today’s United States military.
They understand that inclusion, when executed properly, is a proven driver of better performance, harnessing our collective abilities over those of the individual(s). In anticipation of addressing this topic, I had come across a 2016 article written by then-Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning. The Secretary made some important points in his well-written article (highly recommended), but most notably, “To fight and win the Nation’s wars in an age of new and emerging threats, we need to draw from America’s best, and enable them to harness the innate power of diverse teams. We need experience, critical thinking, and creativity in our force, but most importantly we need teams of people who think differently from one another and yet are joined together in common cause” (article here).
He continues, “For the Army of tomorrow to be as strong as the Army of today, we must harness the power of diverse teams and draw further from one of America’s greatest advantages — our diverse population. It’s a lesson our Army has lived many times across its history. But our success is never static. We must challenge ourselves to harness these benefits and make our force more effective. Our Army must draw from a broader range of our Nation’s communities and expand the pool of eligible and willing candidates for service and leadership, enabling the Army the greatest opportunity to recruit and retain America’s best.
This same statement could apply to each of our military branches.
In a time like this, when faced with what seems to be a myriad of crises – economic, health, racial, and probably even more. Our nation’s military serves as a constant reminder that we can survive difficult days – and even potentially thrive moving forward from the crisis if done together.
Remember – It has been done, together. It can be done, together. It will be done, together.
Military veterans with severe chronic diseases or disabilities have two options for care. They may be admitted…
Unless you have served in the military it can be difficult to understand the realities of transitioning…
The road to home is long for veterans, who count the days to completing their military service…