The 38-year-old Green Beret's cancer was missed by Army care providers in 2017, and is now terminal. For the last year he's been fighting to change a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, which bars Stayskal and his family from suing the government for the alleged medical malpractice.
That's why, on Sept. 9 and 10, instead of being home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters, Stayskal was in Washington, D.C. trying to drum up support for his namesake legislation, the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, which would allow service members to sue the government for certain medical malpractice incidents.
Over two days, Stayskal and his attorney, Natalie Khawam, visited the offices of eight senators — Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
This year’s presidential campaign saw women’s issues at the forefront, both in Hillary Clinton’s historic candidacy and in the controversies and allegations surrounding Donald Trump’s past treatment of women. For military women, Trump’s unexpected victory on election night poses major concerns; in the past, Trump has been a vocal opponent of combat integration, and has made controversial comments about the issue of military sexual assault. However, despite his past statements, as our next president, Trump must recognize the complex array of issues that servicewomen and female veterans now face if the fight for gender equality in the military is to continue.
In understanding the culture divide between the civilian and military sectors of the United States, sometimes it's a matter of the military reaching out to civilians, accepting a simple "thank you" for service, or helping civilians understand why maps are needed.