With more and more troops coming home from extended deployments, there was a strong focus on how best to integrate soldiers back into life after service at the Army's quarterly meeting between top officials and several representatives of veterans groups.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno and Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho were among the highest ranking officials on hand at the Jan. 24 meeting to ensure that soldiers are being supported in their returns to the U.S., the Army reported. Several veterans organizations were represented, from those focused on finding post-military employment for servicemembers to those helping soldiers work through traumatic experiences from combat.
"When leadership comes in to talk to the veterans' service community, it demonstrates to veterans that they are interested in the soldiers after they get out of the service," said Genevieve Chase, an Army reservist and founder of American Women Veterans.
Among the leadership present was Col. Adam Rocke, director of the Soldier for Life initiative. Founded only a year and a half ago, the program functions as an all-inclusive support system for veterans in search of health care, certification for skills gained through military service and general advice on how to ease back into civilian life.
"These [meetings] are paramount because at the end of the day, it's not about any one individual," Rocke said, "it's about the collective group – the service members and their families as a whole."