A local veterans group is taking some pretty unorthodox steps in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to remind lawmakers about the high rate of suicide among active-duty service members and veterans across the country.
Operation 23 To Zero is placing 23 pairs of combat boots on the steps of the state capitol building to encourage lawmakers to improve the availability of mental health resources to veterans and to inspire veterans and military members to seek the help they need.
Led by Marine Corps veteran David Peters, the group kicked off this demonstration on Monday, April 6. The 23 pairs of boots are meant to symbolize the 22 veterans and one active-duty military member who commit suicide every day.
According to its Facebook page, Operation 23 To Zero — which normally sponsors and supports events throughout Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — plans to keep adding boots to the steps of Minneapolis’ capitol building all week and is accepting donations from locals. A Facebook update posted on Tuesday said the group had already doubled the amount of boots on the stairs.
Some of the boots on the steps belong to veterans for whom it is too late to receive help, such as those of Sgt. Benjamin Jon Miller who took his own life in 2008.
“There will be a lot more boots,” Desert Storm veteran Bob Leslie told CBS Minnesota reporter Esme Murphy in an interview. “We’ve got to stop it. Somehow we’ve got to reach out and stop it.”
Watch the full report from CBS Minnesota here.
CORRECTION: David Peters was deployed with the Marine Corps under Operation Enduring Freedom, once to Africa and once to Afghanistan. An earlier version incorrectly stated that he was an Iraq and Afghan war veteran. (1/7/2015; 8:20 pm)
(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 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."
Members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Transportation Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, prepare a seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTRV) to be lifted by a CH-53E Super Stallion at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Clare J. McIntire)
If you are in the market for any size of military surplus vehicle, keep an eye on GovPlanet. The online auction house is about to start selling U.S. Navy and Marine Corps surplus M1161 ITV Growlers and seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks.
Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pump water from a flooded common living area to an area with less impact on the local population, Dec. 13, 2009, in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer)