Earlier the month, I was one of three panelists at a Mission Readiness Conference in Oakland, California. The organization called for enhanced summer school and physical fitness programs in the state’s public education. The event was reported on San Francisco Bay Area TV and radio stations.
Mission Readiness is a coalition of 250 retired generals and admirals who support policies and investments that is will assist young Americans to succeed in school and join the military if they wish to do so. The organization is based in Washington, DC.
The coalition's research indicates that nearly 1 in 4 young California adults of military age cannot meet enlistment requirements in America’s armed forces. Nearly 38% have unhealthy weight or are obese; 36% have poor aerobic capacity; and 23% have poor upper body strength. The officers on the panel called for additional physical education in California schools and more funding for remedial academic summer programs to enable youthful applicants to qualify for enlistment.
Although unintentional, the composition of the group of officers demonstrated the increasing diversity of America’s military leaders, including LGBT personnel. The other retired panelists included Major General Paul Monroe, who is African-American and who headed California’s National Guard. It also included Rear Admiral Will Rodriquez, a leader and advocate for the Hispanic community in the sea services.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brigadier General Keith Kerr is a member of SLDN's Military Advisory Council. He came out in the New York Times on the tenth anniversary of the passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and has been a tireless advocate for LGBT military service. For a full bio, click here.
07-30-12 By BG Keith Kerr, CSMR (Retired) |