In the world examined by veterans advocacy group Got Your Six, veterans are not broken. They are not dangerous. They are not troubled. Instead, they are diligent community members. They vote. They volunteer. By all accounts, they are more engaged in their communities than non-veterans.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee
Over the last 15 years, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been studied and dissected from innumerable angles. No group has spent more time studying their needs, habits, challenges and strengths than the nonprofit RAND Corporation, which focuses on developing public policy solutions to complex national problems.
After being severely wounded and nearly dying in Vietnam, I spent 18 months at Walter Reed before being transferred to a VA hospital. There, VA doctors, nurses, and staff cared for my wounds, began my rehabilitation and made it possible for me to successfully return to civilian life. I shudder to think what would have happened to me, and thousands like me, if there had not been a VA health care system in place specifically designed to comprehensively address our unique needs as veterans.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brooks B. Patton Jr.
Since the inception of the first purpose-built aircraft carrier nearly 100 years ago, few other types of naval warship have been so polarizing. Aircraft carriers are often viewed in the United States as the impervious capital ships of the modern fleet and are capable of bringing terrible firepower to bear. Often hulking, these naval platforms typically require escorts and the support of their embarked air wing. During World War II, carriers saw extensive combat, delivering waves of aircraft to the Pacific theater. Their flexible nature as an airfield at sea lends to their role as the eyes of the fleet. This also makes them capable modern nuclear strike platforms.
The reopening of relations between Cuba and the United States presents opportunities for Cubans to learn the benefits of a freer, more open system of government. In an indication of progress, for example, Cuba just released 3,522 prisoners in anticipation of the Pope’s visit. Perhaps, conversely, the U.S. can learn something from Cuba about how to effectively conduct medical diplomacy, an area in which the Cubans have excelled since the early 1960s.