North Dakota Veterans Groups Urge Standing Rock Vets To Stand Down

news
The Bismarck Tribune photo by Mike Mccleary via Associated Press.

Beginning on Dec. 4, roughly 2,000 veterans plan to deploy to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Part of the Veterans Stand for Standing Rock effort, its members intend to join a protest opposing the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline.


However, several groups representing North Dakota veterans have issued a plea for them not to join the protest.

“Our fear is that an aggressive stance could escalate an already sensitive situation and it could have veterans confronting other veterans and that’s not right; It’s a concern,” Dave A. Johnson, North Dakota’s American Legion department adjutant, told Task & Purpose.

On Dec. 1, as thousands of veterans set out for North Dakota, the Veterans Coordinating Council — made up of the state chapters from  the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign War, and the Vietnam Veterans of America — sent a letter to “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock.”

In it, the commanders and adjutants of the five North Dakota veteran service organizations issued a joint statement on behalf of their members, urging “veterans to stay clear of all activities or assemblies involving the DAPL in support of neither the protesters nor the law enforcement officers as adding more people to the area only creates more tension which increases the burden on the law enforcement and military forces on the ground.”

Johnson stated that the veteran service organizations have no political stance regarding the pipeline. The 20-year Navy veteran, said he is worried that veteran protesters may find themselves squaring off against local and federal law enforcement, many of whom also served in the military, and that a confrontation with police could be dangerous and may mar the image of veterans.

Related: ‘Where Evil Resides’: Veterans ‘Deploy’ To Standing Rock To Engage The Enemy — The US Government »

Johnson did note, however, that some North Dakota veterans from their chapter will be at the protest.

“I just got off the phone with one of our Native American adjutants with one of the tribes up in north-central Dakota, and he’s got members that are going down there as Native Americans and veterans, and they’re going to wear their veteran ballcaps,” said Johnson. “I said absolutely. … Go out peacefully, but if it becomes aggressive, get the hell out of there because this is not going to be good.”

Clashes between protesters and police have already occurred, and there have been 575 arrests since August. Protesters have also complained of excessive force on the part of law enforcement, including the use of water hoses in 30-degree weather during a confrontation in November.

The influx of 2,000 more protesters, broken into companies and platoons, could add to the tension. However, the group’s military rhetoric may have less to do with intent and more to do with the shared identity of the veteran protesters. The veterans joining the protest have repeatedly stated their intention to demonstrate peacefully.

“We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone,” said Wes Clark Jr., one of the group's main organizers in an interview Task & Purpose’s Adam Linehan. “They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”

Related: Flooded With Support, Standing Rock Vets Ramp Up Operation And Brace For Showdown »

For the North Dakota Veterans Coordinating Council, one of the biggest concerns is seeing veterans squaring off from opposite banks of the river.

“I know this group has said they want to do it peacefully, but one big concern is they’re going to be standing there, facing off with law enforcement there,” said Lonnie Wangen, the North Dakota Department of Veteran Affairs commissioner.

“Many of the police and guard members that are out there are wartime veterans themselves,” explained Wangen, who served 27 years in the Army National Guard. “To look across the concertina wire out there at these other veterans is going to be disheartening to them also.”

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less