Marine Corps veteran Terry Sharpe cares about walking. A lot. But what he cares about more is using his long, long walks to shed light on important veterans issues.
Sharpe, a veteran of the Vietnam War, on June 1, finished his fifth 300-mile journey from his home in Summerfield, North Carolina to Washington, DC. Each time he makes the trek, he travels approximately 10 to 14 miles a day, all in the service of drawing attention to urgent problems facing the veterans community.
Sharpe says he still suffers from post-traumatic stress from fighting in Vietnam, and his own experience inspired him to transform his pain into something positive.
“I've had it for 48 years, it don't go away, you just have to deal with it,” Sharpe told WSET.com. “Only way I can do it is by walking on the highway with two flags on my back.”
Sharpe’s focused on several issues in the past, including veteran incarceration and PTSD, but this year’s journey was dedicated to raising awareness of veteran suicide. He was accompanied by Ken Wilson, whose Army veteran son killed himself in 2013.
"It's rough on both of us. Our feet, we hurt at the end of the day. But it's worth it if we can just maybe save one," Sharpe told WSLS10.
In September 2014, Sharpe and fellow former Marine Allen Brown walked from their homes in North Carolina to Washington, DC, twice, to protest the federal government’s inaction in liberating Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison.
Sharpe’s third trek in June 2015 called attention to the plights of four Americans — Marine Amir Hekmati, christian pastor Saeed Abedini, reporter Jason Rezaian, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson — held hostage in an Iranian prison.
And in June 2016, Sharpe donned his hiking boots once again to call for more government action to end the 22 veteran suicides that occur daily across America. Although the VA has reduced that estimate to 20 veterans a day, the number is still too high for Sharpe’s comfort.
“Coming home from war, a six-month deployment on a ship or simply transitioning from a life in uniform to a life without one can be difficult and the various state and federal systems set up to deal with this transition and life after military services are unable to meet the need,” Sharpe wrote on WalkingMarine.com, his personal site. “The challenges of adjustment and transition, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and physical disabilities, all need to be addressed especially as these things result in barriers to education, employment, health care and overall individual well being.”
Task & Purpose reached out to Sharpe. We will update when more information becomes available.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."