This week, the President announced his plan to responsibly draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan. After a long decade, the men and women of our armed forces – many of whom have served multiple tours of duty overseas – will soon begin to come home for good. They have worked hard, served bravely, and sacrificed much. I know because I was honored to serve alongside them. But we have not endured these challenges alone. Every time our troops are called to action, so too are their families. From day one of this conflict, America’s military families have been steadfast in service and support for their loved ones and their country. We owe it to these families to be just as steadfast now in our service and support for them.
The war in Afghanistan is just beginning to wind down, but the challenges faced by our military families will remain. And whether these challenges are related to employment, education, wellness, or any of a range of other issues, this Administration and this country will stand by our military families and support them. This is not a commitment that can be met solely within the confines of the White House. It will require the efforts of all of us – from every community, every sector of industry, and every walk of life – working together to make sure that the service of these brave families is not forgotten, and they do not face obstacles alone. At JoiningForces.gov, you'll find lots of ways to get involved. You can find service opportunities in your area, send a message of support to military families, or tell us your own story of service.
Part of bringing our troops home responsibly is standing by those who serve. We must enlist those who have defended America abroad in the effort to build America at home – by giving our troops and their families the care, benefits, and opportunity that they deserve.
LTC Jason Dempsey is a White House fellow in the Office of the First Lady. He served in Afghanistan from 2009-2010, and will deploy again in 2012.