Letter to Joint Chiefs of Staff
A Letter to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Armed Forces Day xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcccccccccc
May 16, 2015
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Dear General Martin Dempsey,
Thank you for your leadership sir and your own sacrifices for our country this Armed Forces Day 2015.
I know our troops need a strong leader and you have been that . I have run Homefront Hugs since General Myers was JCOS … and voted father of the year . He was very supportive of our work as he knew how vital morale was to the troops and basic needs that might be forgotten at times .
We wish you well . May all our men and women come home safe and to better supports at home . Losing 22 veterans and troops a day to suicide is unacceptable,sir . I have pondered this day and night as their deaths haunt me . I have some strong ideas I hope you will consider .
We need to do the following :
1. Prepare and train all troops for stress, trauma, psychological warfare
2. Give them tools to cope like meditation & stress exercises , places to reach when in trouble including a counselor NOT just a chaplain , and sign them up for support during deployments as some leaders already do with us Adoptions@HomefrontHugs.org
3. Triple number of counselors deployed with troops
4. Retrain chaplains in mental illness and mental health issues .
5. DEPLOY service dogs with troops ( ratio 1:5) to serve as protection AND emotional support ( they are the silent support troops find when none are with them )
6. Have a buddy system so each is responsible for any physical wounds and EMOTIONAL wounds ( more powerful than previously acknowledged)
7. END the vicious cycle of making troops feel WEAK who acquire emotional wounds as they physically change the brain as seen in MRIs.
8. Upon return , have periodic visits with troops to ensure they have not just checked off boxes to get the hell home as many tell me they do .
9. Immediately assign service dogs to any troops with PTSD or TBI permanently to help them cope as they begin the long haul of battling their emotional wounds & healing .
10. Make home visits to all with PTSD or TBI instead of asking them to come to VA for care so clinical staff get the ” real picture ” ans interview supports as well . Do therapy in their homes .
11. Anyone calling hotline at any time would receive a home visit for a year monthly to ensure they are doing well.
22 suicides a day is too many . 8030 lost heroes a year because their emotional wounds ran too deep. ONE is too many to lose . You are all our nation’s treasure and you will save lives this way and retain more personnel when this becomes a priority .
Be well and thank you for your time.
I will fly to Washington anytime to help with this and share ideas .
I am a counselor myself .I have heard the calls and read the letters of pain and frustration for 14 years now from troops, veterans and families .
This past week, a Marine vet’s decomposed body was found in Ann Arbor, Michigan where we live .
At a local high school my son attends ,recruiters were chatting up our children daily and telling them of the awe and excitement of serving our country . They spoke of adventures and travel and all the attention one gets when serving in our amazing armed forces, while this lost Marine took his life in the woods across the street and no one even noticed .
Something is horribly wrong .
We must face this national crisis head on and a simple crisis hotline is not enough . Shalom. Peace .
Founder / President
Homefront Hugs USA
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Go Blue !
– Daughter of an Army Officer & USAID Foreign Service Officer -Thomas A.Kellermann of Bethesda,MD
– Former Wife of Amazing Dedicated USAF pilot and Desert Storm veteran Major Steve F. Schmidt of Charlevoix, MI
– Most important Mom – Raising teen son alone (USAF Dependent) whose father served this country 25 plus yrs as an A-10 pilot but lost his battle to brain cancer – LTC Gary W.Ducote
-Granddaughter of Jewish Nuremberg prosecutor who reminded me growing up of the valor of our WorldBWar II veterans – Dr. Henry J.Kellermann