Category Archives: Military Feature

WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel Inducted into U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Fame at St. Bonaventure University

Retired Brigadier General and current WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean and Professor of Law Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the alumni ROTC Hall of Fame for the Seneca Battalion of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at St. Bonaventure University, located  in Olean, New York, on April 1, 2017. Following the induction ceremony McDaniel presented the keynote during the University’s annual ROTC Military Ball.

On April 1, Brigadier General (ret) and WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame at his alma mater St. Bonaventure University.

Brig. General (ret) and WMU-Cooley Associate Dean and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame at his alma mater St. Bonaventure University.

During his remarks McDaniel advised the audience of cadets, alumni and guests that what makes our military great is still our people, the men and women in uniform, and always will be.

“It is because of the values not just instilled in us but required of us, as students of St. Francis, here, at St. Bonaventure University, because we take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, not a loyalty oath to the Commander in Chief​, and because our Army values are based on that legacy,” he said.  “The oath to the Constitution is in the Constitution, significantly placed at the end of the body and before the Bill of Rights. The oath then is to defend both the system of co-equal republican government and the rights of the individuals. And so we fight, voluntarily, for the principles in the Constitution and because of the promise to all Americans embodied in the Constitution.”

McDaniel, a 1975 St. Bonaventure graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in history, then earned his Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1982.  Having been an active participant in the Army ROTC program for two years as an undergraduate student, he applied for and received a direct commission from the Michigan National Guard as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer in November 1985.

He began his career as the staff judge advocate for the Camp Grayling Joint Training Center, then served as trial counsel and then staff judge advocate for the 46 Infantry Brigade, 38th Infantry Division, and  as detachment commander (Mich.) for the 38th Inf. Div. He served as a military judge, then, upon promotion to colonel, as state judge advocate.

His civilian career as a trial attorney with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office began in January 1984. From 1998 to 2003, he was the assistant attorney general for litigation in the Executive Division of the Michigan Department of the Attorney General. His duties included the review of all civil and criminal actions proposed to be initiated by the department in state or federal trial courts, and evaluation of all proposed settlements of every court case.

Appointed by the governor as Michigan’s first Homeland Security adviser in 2003, he served in that capacity until July 2009. In this position, McDaniel was the liaison between the governor’s office and all federal, state and local agencies for homeland security, with responsibility for developing statewide plans and policy on homeland security preparedness. During this assignment, he served concurrently as the assistant adjutant general for homeland security in the Michigan National Guard.

From August 2009 to January 2011, McDaniel was the deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense strategy, force planning and mission assurance at the Department of Defense.  He advised the DOD secretary, undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and America’s Security Affairs on all homeland defense-related strategies (quadrennial defense review, homeland defense & civil support strategies, the mission assurance strategy, and domestic counterterrorism and counter-narcotics strategies, among other efforts).

McDaniel graduated from the U.S. Army War College and earned a Master of Strategic Studies in 2005. He also earned a master’s in security studies (homeland security) from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2007. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2007 and his final military assignment was as assistant adjutant general for Army Future Missions, Michigan National Guard, from January 2011 until October 2012. He retired in December 2012.

Professionally active, McDaniel served as a member of the National Governors Association’s Homeland Security Advisors Council, where he was elected to the Executive Committee in 2006 and 2008. He was named by the Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security, as chair of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council in 2007. He joined the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School faculty as a full-time constitutional law professor in 2011 and was promoted to associate dean in 2016.

McDaniel’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (with 2 devices) and the Michigan Distinguished Service Medal (Fifth Award).

Leave a comment

Filed under Achievements, Awards, Faculty Scholarship, Latest News and Updates, Military Feature, Uncategorized

Military Feature Brent Geers: Problem Solver at Heart

WMU-Cooley, as a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. This month’s feature is WMU-Cooley graduate Brent Geers, a U.S. Army Sergeant and Police Team Leader who was awarded the Combat Action Badge, and is a four-time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.

Military rank and title: SGT (E-5), U.S. Army, Military Police Team Leader/Patrol Supervisor

Why did you decide to go to law school: I’ve always been intrigued with the law in the sense that it’s a puzzle, and I like putting puzzles together. At its best, you get five out of the six pieces you need to complete the puzzle; you – the lawyer – get to create that sixth piece. I consider myself a problem solver at heart. WMU-Cooley presented the perfect opportunity to study law while working and being home to take care of family. Additionally, the courses and professionals provided exposure to real-world law from Day One, something that as an independent attorney, is something I greatly appreciate.

Tell us about your military experience: I served on active duty for five years in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. My duty placed me in Baumholder, Germany and Fort Knox, Kentucky, with deployments to Iraq from 2003-2004 and Afghanistan from 2005-2006. My military honors include the Valorous Unit Award as part of the 527th Military Police Company for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy, and the Griffin Award as part of the 92nd Military Police Company for being the best MP unit in the U.S. Army – Europe command. I was awarded the Combat Action Badge, and am a four-time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. While my initial intent for joining the Army was to become a CID Warrant Office, my first four years saw me assigned to what are called field MP units – convoy escorts, EPW operations, perimeter security, etc. – and so I did very little traditional law enforcement. That all changed when I arrived at Fort Knox as a twice-deployed Sergeant. Fort Knox was a training post, and the MPs assigned there did nothing but traditional law enforcement. I immediately was assigned to be a Patrol Supervisor – the equivalent of a shift supervisor – and was responsible for up to five patrols per shift. Like the police we see out here, we were “the law” at Fort Knox, responding to everything from domestic violence incidents to suicides and medical assists 24 hours a day.

Career and future goals: Long term, I want to be a district court judge. I see the district court as the place to make the most positive impact on people. District court judges have a lot more tools at their disposal to help people besides straight punishment. For now, and for the duration of my career, I enjoy helping people empower those they trust, and help them provide for those they love; specifically through estate planning. I am also focused on building a thriving criminal appellate practice.

Tell us a little about you:  I am the father to my 14-month-old daughter Marlena, and husband to my wife of almost five years, Ronda. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and am a proud product of the Grand Rapids Public Schools (Creston High School). I graduated from the University of Michigan as a first-generation college student, earning a B.A. in American Culture, with a minor in African American Studies. I also spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working locally on adult literacy and neighborhood improvement issues before joining the U.S. Army.

20160505_103213

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Military Feature, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

Frequent Flyer: Student flew from Seattle to Detroit for weekend classes at WMU-Cooley

A recent graduate of WMU-Cooley Law School who commuted to weekend classes from Seattle from Seattle, Mel Matias is a CPA and auditor with Boeing and is pictured in the cockpit of a Boeing 787 for delivery. Photo courtesy of Mel Matias.

A recent graduate of WMU-Cooley Law School who commuted to weekend classes from Seattle, Mel Matias is a CPA and auditor with Boeing and is pictured in the cockpit of a Boeing 787 for delivery. Photo courtesy of Mel Matias.

This article about WMU-Cooley Military Feature, Weekend Program student and recent graduate Melchor Matias was written by Legal News writer Sheila Pursglove and was originally published by the Legal News on Feb. 10, 2017. It is reprinted here with permission of The Detroit Legal News. WMU-Cooley is a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School. We are proud of all our military students, faculty and graduates. Melchor is a retired Chief Personnelman from the U.S. Navy and traveled far and wide in his service to country and others. Beyond the United States, he served in the Philippines, Japan, Puerto Rico, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and various places in Europe.

Melchor Matias flew from Seattle to Detroit every weekend to study for his J.D. at WMU-Cooley Law School-and graduated in January.

A CPA at Boeing in Seattle, Matias did licensing audits on royalty and technology contracts, and designed audit programs. His interaction with the lawyers of Fortune 100 companies sparked his interest in earning a law degree.

Because of his heavy travel assignments, a regular law school schedule was out of the question. But during a stopover in Detroit on a flight back from an audit in the United Kingdom, Matias spotted an item about Cooley Law School and its ABA-approved J.D. program on weekends.

“Because of the time difference and non-stop Delta flights between Seattle and DTW, it was a perfect plan,” he says. “Although my employer didn’t cover any tuition and travel, I had miles saved up from prior travels to kick start my commute. ”

Matias booked flights 3 to 6 months out each semester, to save costs. He had sufficient hotel points to kick start weekend stays, and car rental points.

“It all boiled down to planning ahead and all my work-related travel loyalty programs helped,” he says.

He was more than pleased with his experience at the Auburn Hills campus.

“Cooley has the most diverse group of students and the faculty members are very experienced and accommodating,” he says.

Beyond the rigorous legal studies and travel, Matias’s law school years were a personal struggle. In his first year, his mother was diagnosed with liver cancer, dying a month before his finals and he had to request special accommodation to take the exams. His father died the following year. Both parents had helped Matias, a single father, to raise his sons, Andy and Michael.

A year later, Michael was diagnosed with brain cancer a month before starting law school. Matias and Andy, who was in law school, each had to take a term break to be with Michael during his final 6 months.

“Had he survived, all three of us would be taking the bar exams this year,” Matias says. “Now, Andy and I are taking them this year-with all the thoughts and dedication for Michael.

“All these deaths followed one year after the other. It’s such a painful struggle, but life has to go on.”

Matias’s goal is to do an LLM in tax or corporate business and compliance, and he hopes to continue working in the legal business environment. He currently is working on applications for the LLM programs while studying for the bar exam.

“I’ve also been teaching at City University of Seattle, on and off for over 5 years, and would love to be in the academia and teach,” he says.

A native of Manila in the Philippines, Matias holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and an MBA from Columbia College of Missouri at the campus in Marysville, Wash.

“I’ve always been fascinated with money-who isn’t! When I was 6, we had lots of fruit trees in our home in provincial Philippines. I would pedal around town with baskets full of avocados and mangoes and make enough money for my snacks the entire school year,” he says.

Matias previously served in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Chief Personnelman. He traveled far and wide, with posts at Subic Bay in the Philippines; Okinawa, Yokosuka, and Sasebo in Japan; and Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico, as well as deployments and port visits to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and various places in Europe.

In the United States he was stationed in San Diego; San Francisco; Port Hueneme in California; Meridian, Miss., Florida; and Denver, where he was a recruiter-“The most fun job I had in the Navy next to the SeaBees,” he says. He was deployed on the USS Sterett-and named his son Andrewsterett after the ship-and with the NMCB 5 (SeaBees).

During his Navy service, Matias provided tax assistance to military members and their families and the elderly through the volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) program-and once he passes the Washington state bar exam in July, vows to continue giving back to his community by providing affordable and/or pro-bono legal advice and assistance to the disenfranchised-“Including but not limited to the elderly, the military, the poor, the LGBQT community, single parents like me, students, and anyone struggling to be able to afford legal advise and representation to assert their rights,” he says.

2 Comments

Filed under Military Feature, Student Experiences, Uncategorized, Weekend Program

Military Feature Zaneta Adams: Disabled Iraqi War veteran gives back to veterans in law career

WMU-Cooley, as a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. January 2017’s feature is WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams, a U.S. Army Retired PFC. She served eight years in the military, including her time with the U.S. Army National Guard, the Army Reserves, and Active Duty. After being severely injured during active duty, she made it her purpose to get a legal degree and serve her fellow brothers and sisters get the veteran benefits they so deserve. 

Military rank and title: U.S. Army Retired PFC

Why did you decide to go to law school: I decided to go to law school because I wanted to right injustices and help veterans fight for their VA benefits. I made the decision to attend WMU-Cooley because of its amazing scholarship programs, the fact that it is a yellow ribbon school (which saved me money), and its ideal location close to my home and work.

20160603_145414

Tell us about your military experience: I went into the Army because I loved the values that the Army had and I thought it would make me a better person.  I also wanted to give back and be of service to my country. I started in the Army when I was a junior in college.  I served eight years between my time with the U.S. Army National Guard, the Army Reserves, and Active Duty.

Career and future goals: I represent and do all my law-related duties at Williams Hughes Law firm in Muskegon, Michigan. My responsibilities include prosecuting and defending criminal cases, handling Family Law cases, processing Department of Veterans Affairs’ claims and appeals for veterans, and interviewing clients. My sincere hope is to educate, assist, and help veterans get their well-deserved benefits. I want to make Michigan the number one state where veterans receive their benefits. In addition, I work as a contractor with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office doing OKAY-2-SAY school and community presentations to help raise awareness of cyber bullying, child pornography, sexting, and cyber safety. My ultimate aspiration is to one day be a Michigan or U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Tell us a little about you: I have been married for 18 years and have six children (two sets of twins). I am a disabled Iraqi War veteran (served in support of the war) who was severely injured after falling 10-11 feet from a deuce and half truck. At the time, I never would have imagined after my injury that I would have been able to successfully complete law school and serve my fellow brothers and sisters in arms in this way. WMU-Cooley people were patient, understanding, and very accommodating to the things I personally needed to succeed. One thing they gave me was the confidence in my own abilities. They encouraged me and let me know that my physical injury was not a barrier to law school given my sharp mind and my commitment and conviction to succeed in law school and in my career.

WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams with WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Tracey Brame.

WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams with WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Tracey Brame.

1 Comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Military Feature, Uncategorized

Military Feature Brien Brockway: Military Background Great Training for Law School Success

WMU-Cooley, as a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. This December, we feature WMU-Cooley law 1L student Brien Brockway, a U.S. Army Veteran. He was a Fire Team Leader with the infantry in Afghanistan. After careful consideration, he decided to change careers to allow more time with his family. That decision led him to law school at WMU-Cooley.

Military rank and title: U.S. Army Veteran, Fire Team Leader Specialist

Why did you decide to go to law school: I decided to go to law school for several reasons. First, for my personal knowledge. Second, for my family and the future of my children. Third, for those that I will serve in the future. At first, the idea of law seemed like a large and daunting task, but what I found was that my experience in the military, and the lessons I learned, really prepared me for what lay ahead in law school, like handling the stress and the workload. The professors have also been very good about setting students up for success. I am also working closely with the Academic and Career Services to start networking now to figure out my best fit and career path after law school.

Why did WMU-Cooley stand out for you: Although I like working in the military and service, I felt like there was something missing, so I did some research on law schools and WMU-Cooley made a lot of sense. They offered good scholarships and, most importantly, they offered part-time and evening classes, which was key since my wife and I work full-time and we have a family.

Career: My career took multiple turns. I have worked in lead abatement, education, and the military. Then after leaving the military, I pursued a degree in public administration knowing that I still wanted to be involved in some aspect of service. My present job is working with the Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging, working for veterans, and with veterans. After law school, my goal is to stay in southwest Michigan and practice business and civil law.

Tell us a little about you: I have lived in southwest Michigan since I was 11 years old. I completed my bachelors in history and theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I spent nearly 24 months in the Army National Guard and three years on Active Duty with 2-2 Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. After being discharged, I moved my family back to Kalamazoo, Michigan, then started law school at WMU-Cooley in May 2016.  My wife and I have been married seven years and we have three children.

Leave a comment

Filed under Military Feature, Student News, Achievements, Awards, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

Military Feature Shawlonda Hallback: Simple Conversations Change Lives

WMU-Cooley, as a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. We are thankful and grateful for the sacrifices our military service men and women make to keep us safe and preserve our freedoms. WMU-Cooley’s November monthly feature is WMU-Cooley Law School graduate Shawlonda Hallback. Shawlonda is a Retired U.S. Marine Corp Veteran.

Military rank and title: Retired U.S. Marine, U.S. Marine Corps

Why did you decide to go to law school and why did you choose WMU-Cooley: I knew I wanted to be an attorney since I was 16 years old. I remember taking a Mock Trial class in a high school English class and everything about it felt right. I loved what I was doing and it seemed to be my calling. My teacher thought so too. She told me that I would make a great lawyer – and I believed her. It was that moment that I decided that I was going to go to law school and be a lawyer. The only thing I didn’t know was when. After retiring from the U.S. Marine Corp, I felt I could follow that dream. I chose to attend WMU-Cooley as a second challenging career after retiring from the military because of its diversity and its flexibility for non-traditional students. WMU-Cooley made it possible for me to go to law school. And my family support made it a reality.

wmucooleytampa01072016-338

Career description: I truly enjoyed my career with the U.S. Marine Corps. It was important work when my leadership and judgment accounted for several millions of dollars and numerous people. My responsibilities included Explosive Ordnance disposal, deconstruction, deployment, disarmament, and distribution of high explosive munitions. I was built to be a Marine, and honored to defend our borders and those other countries who needed our protection. It was gratifying to know that I was doing my part to keep people safe. When I think about kids, for instance, unknowingly walking into a field that might have old or unsafe bombs or explosives hiding, and in the blink of an eye a life is changed forever, I know what I am doing is valuable to society.

Career goals: My goals are clear for me. I want every person, no matter their lot in life, to have the legal representation they deserve and are owed in our democratic society. I think it’s critical that everyday people understand their rights under our Constitution and they have a say in how they are treated. It’s important to me to be able to ease people’s fears in a tangible way when they need help and guidance. All folks should have equal access to our legal system. There are two things I want to do, now that I am out of law school and an attorney. I want to provide very low-cost legal service to those in need. Translated, I plan to give pro bono services at 50 percent of my rate to under-served markets through grants I will acquire. The second focus I have is to support local efforts to end human trafficking. My belief is when you change the climate of human trafficking at the local level, you will make important changes beyond our borders and globally. It was during an elective called Slavery & Human Trafficking taught by WMU-Cooley Professor Stevie Swanson where my eyes were opened to the horrors of human trafficking. It became a very real passion of injustice for me. To think, I didn’t even realize that this existed. Now I look at people differently, even in the grocery store, and wonder, are these women and children victims of human trafficking – and many are. Victims are everywhere, including in our community.

Tell us a little about you: I enjoy doing work I feel is important to more than just me and my family. In fact, I get much enjoyment just talking to people; hearing their stories and listening to their problems, and working together to figure out solutions. Problem-solving is at the core of what we should try to do as good attorneys.  But it’s not always about me trying to solve someone else’s problems. It’s these simple conversations that can change lives. People are all tied together as human beings. It is our ability to come together that makes us better people. My family has been an important part of my life and why I have been able to find success along the way. Chevelle (Hallback) has been an anchor for me and throughout law school. Our sons, Michael Mitchell (25), stepson Terrick Russell (24), Joshua Mitchell (23), Christian Mitchell (21), and Jordan Barnes (20), also a Marine, have been a great source of strength and pride.

1 Comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Military Feature, Uncategorized

The costs of war

As of 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still paying a Civil War pension. The last surviving child of a Union veteran still receives a small, monthly pension payment 149 years after the Civil War ended.[1]

20160528_112923

In the final paragraph of President Lincoln’s second inaugural address, on  March 4, 1865, the president delivered his prescription for the nation’s recovery: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Irene Triplett’s pension, albeit small, stands as a reminder that the checks we wrote in wartime still must be honored long after the guns fall silent. The VA is also still paying benefits to 16 widows and children of veterans from the 1898 Spanish-American War. World War I ended a 100 years ago, and the last U.S. World War I veteran died in 2011. But 4,038 widows, sons and daughters get monthly VA pension or other payments. Our cost today, for that Great War of 100 years ago, our annual tab for surviving families comes to $16.5 million. Those payments don’t include the costs of fighting or caring for the veterans themselves. A Harvard University study last year projected the final bill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would hit $4 trillion to $6 trillion in the coming decades.

That is just money though. When we think of costs of war, the cost of national security, the phrase we use in the military is “blood and treasure[2].”

The “Butchers bill,” as the British used to say and General Milley recently revived the phrase. The reference then is to the so-called hidden costs of war. There are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam); there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans” (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War).

And at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment — out of the half that do seek treatment, only half of those get “minimally adequate” treatment (RAND study). About 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI.

Seven percent of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts in times of peace. In any given year,  3.6% of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.). Recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought. PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)

A recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. “Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.” (Susan V. Eisen, PhD).

More active duty personnel died by their own hand than in combat in 2012 (New York Times).

These statistics are sobering and often ignored. We all know soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, who through multiple deployments recently, or one lengthy deployment in previous conflicts or wars, either did not return or returned scarred, altered either mentally or physically: The Marine with PTSD, the soldier with a burned or missing face, or a prosthetic, or multiple missing limbs.

And yet in some ways I was most struck by the public’s reaction to the single sentinel standing guard during Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, standing watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a hurricane. The photo quickly went viral. The nation reacting with respect, awe, inspired, by what to all of us, was simply, DUTY. The Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” have guarded the Tomb for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather, since 1948. The Sentinel’s Creed which in part says “Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability.” “I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability”That really captures the sense of Duty, not just Duty, but with 2 other conditions – to the utmost of our abilities And, second, with humility and respect. In short, how many times have you said, “Proud to serve” sometimes you said it ironically, even sarcastically, but mostly you meant it.

Not just as a cliché, but deep down in your heart and gut.And so we return, we return from the Argonne and Huertgen Forests. From Anbar and Helmand Provinces. From Aberdeen and Hood. We return to the state, to the  community that raised us and put its mark on us, far before the Army or Marines ever did. And we still retain the soul of a sentinel. The spirit of a servant. You who do not, would not,  think twice of standing your post in hurricanes or patrolling dusty streets in Baghdad, or on heaving decks in blizzards.In our Army Values, we uphold the ethos of “selfless service.”

“The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.” (Army Values) “Public service” — I was raised that there was no higher calling than public service. Members of my family have fought in almost all of this country’s wars since the very first one. And, I am equally proud that they have served as educators, as teachers, and as religious leaders, for that same length of time, since our country was founded.

But, today, the term “public servant” is often equated with politician or bureaucrat. It has taken on a somewhat or somehow unsavory connotation, probably because too often politicians or bureaucrats have hidden behind the label of public servant. So think of yourself as a community servant. Or simply as a servant.  You have returned with that same spirit. Or, to return to my theme, as a servant-sentinel. Because while I am here today to publicly thank you for your service, to remind you that there is a grateful nation, and to remind that nation that they need to be ever grateful and more grateful. I am also here for a larger theme. Veterans, your country still needs you. They need you precisely because you have the soul of a sentinel, and the spirit of a servant.And, you must be a servant.

[1] Each month, Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a pension payment for her father’s military service — in the Civil War.More than 3 million men fought and 530,000 men died in the conflict between North and South. Pvt. Mose Triplett joined the rebels, deserted on the road to Gettysburg, defected to the Union and married so late in life to a woman so young (50 years younger than him) that their daughter Irene is today 86 years old — and the last child of any Civil War veteran still on the VA benefits rolls.

[2] Jonathan Swift, who was so fond of this phrase that he used it twice in a single sentence in this passage from his pamphlet The Publick Spirit of the Whigs, written in 1712:

“I cannot sufficiently commend our Ancestors for transmitting to us the Blessing of Liberty; yet having laid out their Blood and Treasure upon the Purchase, I do not see how they acted parsimoniously; because I can conceive nothing more generous than that of employing our Blood and Treasure for the Service of Others.”

mcdaniel21Blog author Brig. Gen. Michael C.H.  McDaniel, USA (ret.) is a professor and the director of WMU-Cooley’s Homeland and National Security Law Program. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Strategy. His responsibilities included supervision of the Department of Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection Program and the Global Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Policy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Military Feature, Uncategorized