"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Would we take a young civilian and a group of his friends and drop them into a war zone with no training, no current intel and no clear mission?
Of course not, that would be irresponsible, wouldn't it?
Would we neglect to warn them of the dangers of attempting to operate in a foreign environment or keep from them the tools they needed to successfully achieve the missions we sent them out to complete?
Well no, that would be borderline criminal, wouldn't it?
Yet we, as a society, think nothing of taking finely honed, skilled and intelligent orchestrators of our most critical military missions, and dropping them hobbled and blind into civilian life 20 plus years after they left it behind them. These men and women who have given ungodly chunks of their lives to serve our country are welcomed home with no training, no intel, no assistance, and no warning of the new dangers all around them.
These people who had absolute faith and trust in themselves to perform tasks we don't have the stomach for are brought home when we're done with them with a pat on the head and a hearty "good luck".
We invested countless time and dollars into transforming them into unemotional interrogators, infiltrators and humans capable of terminating with extreme prejudice those who would oppose our "peaceful" way of living and then we invest little, if anything in bringing them home as repurposed leaders in our current society.
We throw our investment in them into the dumpster by our negligence in giving them the tools they need to heal, re-adjust and by not defining a clear mission for them to contribute in a meaningful way as civilians...
We have not given them the support they deserve to re-integrate because we are just becoming aware of what they really need as opposed to what we think they need.
Our integrity demands of us that our actions going forward show our gratitude and respect for a carreer dedicated to keeping us safe.
The focus at All Secure Foundation has always been finding the answers to the following questions for our vets and their families:
What do you need now?
What can we do to help moving forward?
Then we ask ourselves how we can make that happen.
What do we expect them to think when just last week they were putting their lives on the line for us and this week they're getting shit for forgetting to bring home a gallon of milk after work, or "over-reacting" to unattended backpacks, or going to work to hear somebody whine about how hard their job is?
What do we expect the spouses to think when they've held it all together on their own for so long and now their struggles, stress and emotional fatigue are pushed aside as secondary issues?
WTF would cover it, I'm sure. I'm not even in those shoes and I'm thinking it right now.
They're wondering what's wrong with them, and I'm shouting out right now...
"What's wrong with us?"
This lack of de-briefing, re-training, therapy and medical assistence is unacceptable people. We need to put in the time, money and effort it takes to make re-integration back into home and community a well-trained exercise so that coming home is a beautiful reward for the family as a whole, and a re-gifting of genuine leadership to their communities.
They were able to perform superhuman accomplishments for us because they had the training neccessary to trust themselves in any situation, no matter how heinous. Their training made it second nature.
We have inadvertently set them up to be unable to trust themselves in their new environment and then wonder why they cannot function as they "should" when they have not recieved the intel, training and resources they need to achieve the level of success they desire. We treat them like victims and nobly offer our assistence to these poor creatures.
We can and must change our way of thinking and what we have to offer our military families when their service is done.
I think it's time for them to come home, be home and feel at home.
Look around you right now and tell me we don't need their leadership here at home just as much as they deserve our support in making it happen.
The problem here is not the vets with PTS, TBI or any other acronym...
The problem is our lack of follow through in bringing them full circle, and All Secure Foundation is working hard on the follow through. We do not want to leave them in that in between place of belonging neither here nor there where they cannot give, lead, teach and thrive.
We need them all the way home.
*note to the All Secure family:
This is a somewhat edited version of the first draft I sent to Tom and Jen. Being a civilian with multiple family members and friends serving or having served in the military and law enforcement fields, I have a strong emotional attatchment to my loved ones living their best lives possible, no matter what they've been through.
This being said, Tom's belief is that it is not government/military responsibilty to correct this issue, nor do they have the funds available without taking it from training or combat deployments. He says aftercare is last, and by then the budgeted funds are spoken for because their primary responsibility is to take care of us and defend the nation's interests around the world.
I hope I have successfully clarified that our people are our responsibility.
This belief is why he started All Secure Foundation, to help himself and his brothers heal and reintegrate, to speak honestly of what they've been through, and to show by action that the next generation of war fighters will be taken care of in a more proactive manner.
His TMS treatment is obviously doing some good things already because my baby brother, CSM(RET) Tom Satterly told me that I might want to be a little less aggressive in my wording. Yes, he did. I too was astonished.
He was right.
Article By Shelly Aspenson