It is with great pleasure that I repost the latest blog by Colonel (retired) Pat B. Stogran MSC, CD, PEng on his website — COMMAND INFLUENCE. For insights into leadership, management, strategy and the military way, I find Col. Stogran’s views the most visionary of any military mind in recent history. As a man before his time, he has often been misunderstood and ignored by our political and military leaders — at our peril. Here then are Pat’s comments on the VETERANS AMONG US program initiated by Jeff Rose-Martland, founder of the website www.OurDuty.org. BONNIE
THE VETERANS AMONG US
by Pat B. Stogran (Colonel retired)
I enjoyed a very rewarding career in the military. Subsequently, I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as Canada’s first Veterans Ombudsman and expose Canadians to the terrible way that our Government abuses so many of our Veterans and their families. That contentment rapidly gives way to frustration and resentment because, sadly, in my experience the system often lets down so many people who are, genuinely, in the greatest need. I witnessed firsthand how disingenuous and self-serving the system of government we Canadians seemed to have willed upon ourselves is, and have since been terribly disappointed with the distinct lack of leadership that my successor and the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman have displayed.
Fortunately for me, however, my personal life has not been adversely affected by those insidious truths the way so many others have, which allows me the freedom to focus on the good things instead. It’s coming up to almost a year now since I left the position, a year I have truly savoured. I spent quality time with my family that I never could enjoy when service to this Country came first in my life! I am also engaging in some pastimes and passions that I never made time for earlier in my adult life. I share almost every waking hour with a young Labrador Retriever pup, Apollo, which is causing me to learn things about myself I probably should have when I was young but consumed by learning the Way of the Warrior. And finally, like a wise and aging Sensei who gets great satisfaction and pride from the accomplishments of his students that surpass his own, I live in awe of all the people who continue to perpetuate our proud military heritage so valiantly in Afghanistan and others who have taken up the fight to help our Veterans.
I have avoided committing myself to any single group. Believe it or not, there is a lot of discord in the Veterans Community that I do not want to be a party to by displaying an apparent bias. At the same time, I am eager to support any initiatives that seek to improve the lives of Veterans and family members who have been disadvantaged by the system.
Jeff Rose-Martland, founder of the website www.OurDuty.org dedicated to ensuring that the Veterans receive what they have earned, is promoting a movement he is calling “Veterans Among Us.” Jeff would like to demonstrate how ubiquitous Veterans are in our society and allow Canadians to join in a celebration of their accomplishments and contributions to Canada! To do this, Jeff is encouraging Veterans to wear their medals on the 1st and 30th of November, not only as part of their best bib and tucker during a ceremony or act of remembrance, but everywhere!
For too long our citizens have been led to believe that the only real Veterans are those who served in the Great Wars and Korea and are paraded out to places like Parliament Hill on Remembrance Day. People who have served in the Canadian Forces and the RCMP since the Korean War are every bit as deserving of our Nations gratitude and care. They are cut from the same cloth that our traditional Veterans were. The only major difference between them is the crises in which they served, and they have the psychological and physical scars to prove it.
Today we find Veterans who are professionals in the public and private sectors, laborers and academics, emergency responders and teachers; Veterans are everywhere, continuing to contribute in every walk of life to make Canada what we all want it to be. They are not likely to boast of their accomplishments while in uniform, however, because that is not the Canadian way. Consequently, the role they play collectively in our society is largely under-appreciated.
If Jeff can get them all to put on their medals or miniatures, regardless of where they are or what they will be doing, the 1st and 30th of November will become a living, breathing illustration of how prolific Veterans are in Canada!
I will be wearing my medals on on the 1st and 30th of November! I hope you will too!BACKGROUNDER: Colonel (retired) Pat B. Stogran MSC, CD, PEng served from 2007 to 2010 as Canada’s first Veterans Ombudman. He has served in two theatres of operation: In April 1994, he was the Team Leader in Bosnia at Gorazde during the Serbian offensive. He was “Mentioned-in-Dispatch” for courage under fire. In 2002, he was the Commanding Officer of 3PPCLI deployed to Afghanistan with the first battalion Canada had committed to ground combat operations against a declared enemy since the Korean War: Operation APOLLO/ENDURING FREEDOM. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. He is also credited with the Canadian Forces Land Technical Staff Course from his alma mater, the Royal Military College of Canada. During his military career, he has served with the Canadian Airborne Regiment and commanded the First Battalion in Calgary, a mechanized rifle company. Between 2006 and 2007, he was seconded to the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre as its Vice President.