WASHINGTON – Though the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is this week, a prominent military leader who guided U.S. troops through parts of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is still passionately concerned about men and women in uniform.
Retired Adm. Mike Mullen of the U.S. Navy is also the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He understands that once troops are out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014, the American people will begin to move on and put the two wars behind them.
But Mullen fears the American people will forget about the troops, too – forget about their sacrifices and their service.
“Of the millions of young men and women who’ve done so much in fighting these wars, they are truly an extraordinary generation,” says Mullen, urging people to recognize the importance of taking care of veterans.
Both Mullen and his wife, Deborah, have worked behind the scenes championing veterans’ causes. Even in retirement, they continue advocating as a team for the welfare of military members, families and wounded warriors.
“It’s always good to hire a vet,” says Deborah.
“I think it’s a great bet, a tremendous investment,” Mullen chimes in.
Though the wars are winding down, Mullen says there are now 1.5 million troops returning home to communities throughout the country. These men and women need jobs and support as they transition from combat to civilian life.
He says even the veterans who are wounded are amazing.
“Their dreams are the same, but the path to get to them may be altered a little bit,” says Mullen. “But I believe in them.”
The admiral is currently teaching at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He says it’s exciting and is a way to stay in touch with young people.