Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Team RWB Is Making A Difference In Veterans’ Lives And Here’s Proof
On the surface, the veterans I exercise with in the gym or on the running trail appear to be doing great. But in quiet moments, sometimes between breaths on a treadmill, or unloading a barbell, core truths are revealed: It isn’t always easy. Memories are painful, and emotions are raw. They have stories to tell that require an audience.
Even as a civilian, I see how important it is for veterans to be able to authentically connect with others through physical fitness and social activities, foster new friendships, and build stronger support networks. Those experiences help me appreciate the impact of Team Red, White & Blue.
While Team RWB welcomes not just veterans but also active-duty military, military families, and civilians, helping veterans reintegrate and prosper after their service has remained at the core of its mission.
This week, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University published “Enriching Veterans' Lives Through An Evidence Based Approach,” which I co-authored as Team RWB’s research director. The report, built upon a survey completed by 4,300 Team RWB veterans in 2014 and 2015, uses Team RWB as a case study to highlight the importance of collecting data to measure impact so that military and veterans organizations can provide programs and services that not only feel good, but that actually achieve quantifiable results.
So what do the report and survey tell us about Team RWB’s quantifiable results?
Building community and relationships is important.
Survey results show that 86% of Team RWB’s most active veteran members make lasting positive relationships and 90% feel a greater sense of belonging to a larger community. This is at the core of why Team RWB exists: to help people make close friends and relationships that can even feel like family. This is really important for getting information about resources and knowing people who can help with the little challenges or life-altering problems, but it often boils down to having someone to talk to whenever you need.
Achieving mental and physical health improvements is easier with a team.
Nearly two-thirds of the most active veterans in Team RWB report maintaining a healthier weight, and more than 50% report feeling less down, depressed, or hopeless, as well as feeling less nervous, anxious or on edge. It’s no secret that exercise makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. Whether you are seeking weight loss, a boost in mood, or a chance to set new goals, being part of a team and having the opportunity to exercise as part of a group makes that easier to do.
It can lead to satisfaction at home and work.
Nearly three-quarters of the most active veteran members report that being part of Team RWB improves their mood and in turn helps them become a better family member. Approximately 40% also report feeling less stressed and being more engaged at work. The positive effects that come from being engaged with a close-knit, supportive community also spill into other areas of life. When you feel better after a workout, or even after a meaningful conversation, your whole outlook on the world can improve.
There is a reduction in the civilian-military divide.
It’s not easy to transition out of military service, especially when you live in a community that is not near a major military installation. Civilians like myself may not automatically understand all that you have been and are still going through, which is why participation by both veterans and civilians in Team RWB creates an important common ground. Approximately 30% of Team RWB members are civilians, and in part due to the diverse membership base of Team RWB, the most active veterans report that being part of the team has helped them demonstrate their strengths (82%), share their challenges (70%) and feel more connected (53%) to civilians.
Repetition amplifies results.
Crucially, the benefits reported by veterans participating in Team RWB activities and chapters accrued most heavily and consistently to those who showed up regularly and made the team part of their lives. Increased involvement with Team RWB among veterans correlated closely with a significant increase in all beneficial results reported.
I believe in Team RWB’s mission, and clearly the model resonates: Team RWB just surpassed 100,000 members, spread across 172 chapters and communities. But having the evidence to show that the organization is helping improve the physical and mental health of veterans, and adapting programs, services, and research to ensure that those results are replicable, is a huge deal, and one that I hope serves as both a model and inspiration for similar veteran and military organizations seeking to pursue evidence-based practices.
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.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.