Military Potpourri: Task Force, PTSD, & Medals

Today is military day here at The Western Word. I write about a new military task force being proposed in the Montana State Legislature. I also write about a new report that tells us the Army is not doing a very good job at treating soldiers with PTSD. Plus, I voice my support for combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart to be ranked ahead of a new medal called the Distinguished Warfare Medal. There’s more so read on…

A Task Force for Montana’s Military:

I salute Montana State Rep. Roger Hagan and Montana State Sen. Ed Buttrey for introducing a bill (HB 579) in the state legislature establishing a Montana military economic impact task force. Hagan introduced the bill in the house and Buttrey came up with the idea.

Here at The Western Word I proposed some of the same ideas back in 2010 writing in my four-part “Ready to Fight” series about Montana’s military that annoyed some. I said “The State is basically non-existent in helping Great Falls in regards to the military” and that “The local state legislators need to unite, along with all the other legislators across that state that have military presence in their community, to ensure the state has the resources and personnel to engage the Department of Defense or defense contractors for more military missions and jobs.”

Not everyone is excited about the Hagan bill. The Chair for the exclusive (annual fee is $300) group from the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, called the Montana Defense Alliance (MTDA), would like his group to be involved with the task force. David Weissman, chair of the MTDA, was quoted in the Great Falls Tribune saying, “Any task force will need to have the involvement of our stakeholders moving forward.”

Well…maybe not. There’s a slot for someone from the business community on the task force, so a representative from the MTDA might be selected to fill that slot. Plus, I don’t think the task force will charge a fee to attend their meetings. The meetings will be open to the public.

Montana needs this bill to pass which would allow more ideas to be brought to the table from all around the state and not just from the good ol’ boy (and girl) groups.

Ultimately this bill would allow Montana to better compete against other states in the defense world and allow Montana to go on the offense instead of being on the defense all the time. That is the bottom line and that’s a good thing.

The Army & PTSD:

Several sources are reporting, including the Associated Press (AP), that the U.S. Army is not doing a very good job in treating soldiers for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The AP reported that the Army “has trouble diagnosing and treating soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, despite more than doubling its number of military and civilian behavioral health workers over the past five years.”

Some of the problems included, “Confusing paperwork, inconsistent training and guidelines, and incompatible data systems.”

You can read the report HERE.

There needs to be immediate action on this problem. I hope our senators and representatives take notice. It’s easy to sit in the cushy offices in Washington, D.C., and send people to war; it’s harder to take care of them for years and years when they come home with injuries from that war.

Distinguished Warfare Medal:

I was happy to see that U.S. Senator Jon Tester was part of a bipartisan group of senators to introduce a bill that would ensure that combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart rank ahead of a new medal called the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

According to an article in Stars and Stripes, the Distinguished Warfare Medal is “designed to honor ‘extraordinary actions’ of drone pilots and other off-site troops performing noteworthy deeds on far-away battlefields.”

Oh no – the word “drone” pops up again…

They also said some critics are calling the medal “the Nintendo medal” and “the Purple Buttocks.” Ouch.

While the Distinguished Warfare Medal is worthy, it should not rank ahead of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.


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  1. Jackie,

    How do you feel about Sen. Feinstein’s comments that you and all veterans are mentally ill and none of you should have the ability to own a gun? Today’s column would have been a good time to address that.

    Hope you have a great day.

    All the best, Barry
    Plains, MT

    • Barry – I did not see Feinstein’s remarks until I looked them up after I saw your comment. She is ignorant when it comes to PTSD. I will try to write something about it this week. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. -Jack

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