MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Our nation’s highest ranking military officer focused on America’s relationship with men and woman in uniform during a visit to the Flint Hills Monday.
General Martin Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered the 161st prestigious Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, speaking to students, faculty and some 750 1st Infantry Division soldiers from Fort Riley at McCain Auditorium. Dempsey serves as the principal military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council.
Dempsey says our country’s relationship with veterans and service members is “good but could be better; could be deeper” and he went on to talk about the adaptability, resilience and sense of purpose that soldiers have gained as they’ve served in the longest conflict in our nation’s history, some completing multiple deployments.
He told the crowd he wants to "turn the volume up" on the conversation about war veterans and how they’re viewed and treated in society. With the Army downsizing and the war in Afghanistan, Dempsey says more veterans are going to be entering the civilian world and “coming back into the “uncertainty of a difficult economic situation; a difficult economic environment and the uncertainty of employment.”
“Each in their own way has served heroically but they’re not all heroes. Many have experienced real horrors of war but they’re not all victims. All have served America and want to continue to serve Her as they transition into your civilian communities.. It’s in our shared interest, you and I, in and out of uniform, that we allow this generation of veterans to contribute, to bring the strengths that they bring… To the extent that we should agree that we all want a stronger America, then we ought to find a way to make sure that these veterans are part of it and we ought to work together with them, not for them, with them,” he said.
General Dempsey also made his way to Fort Riley Monday afternoon and held a town hall meeting with soldiers and their families to discuss a variety of issues.