Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Meyers visited K-State Thursday to speak about military families and how they are affected by the transition from active duty to civilian life.
“Budgets are declining and a lot of the transition assistance programs are in danger of not being as well-funded as they should be. Just the fact that the military is a much smaller part of the overall population these days as a percentage so when they go to a community, the community may not understand their needs.”
Gen. Meyers added the number of people affected by the transition is in the millions.
“In some of the that I’ve done, I think we’re talking over 2 million people that have served that’ll be in this movement continuum to some degree.”
Meyers also said children are often forgotten amongst those exposed to the stresses of military life.
“Some of the children of our deployed troops suffer from as much stress as anybody else; and we cannot afford to have that large population be non productive members of society.”
Meyers stated that he’d like to see a national debate on how to divide the responsibility of reintegrating soldiers and their families.
“What are the responsibilities of the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, Universities like Kansas State University and non governmental organizations. What are the responsibilities they should have, how should they be resourced to help with this very big population?”
Gen. Meyers graduated from K-State in 1965 and served in the Air Force for more than 40 years. During his military career, he held a number of high-profile positions including time as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Thursday’s lecture, hosted by K-State’s College of Human Ecology’s Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, was part of this fall’s Season of Service program and one of many events celebrating K-State’s 150th birthday.