Defense Department News

SOCOM Commander Praises Military Support Groups

July 31, 2014 | BY Amaani Lyle

The commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command has credited groups providing support to military families for the success of thousands of young adults who go on to choose a military career, people he characterized as this century’s “Greatest Generation.”

“If they signed up because they loved what their parents did … or loved how well they were treated as military children, then you have done your job,” Navy Adm. William H. McRaven told a seminar conducted by the Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, a non-profit group seeking to provide a quality education for military children.

“They wanted to be part of something greater than themselves, they wanted to have military brothers and sisters that have similar values, they wanted to be respectful and they wanted to be respected for their hard work, their initiative and their commitment.”

“Without some of the programs provided by MCEC and the network of parents, teachers and counselors, I’m not sure my [own] kids would’ve been as successful as they are,” McRaven said, noting that being a military child in today’s environment is likely more difficult than ever.

“Consequently, programs like parent-to-parent and student-to-student are essential if we are to continue to build strong, resilient children who are proud of their military roots.”

And while McRaven said he wants to ensure military children are getting the support they need, a thin line separates that from a culture of entitlement.

“This is a difficult balance,” McRaven said. “We don’t want to develop kids who are dependent – we want to raise strong children … who take great pride in their military heritage upbringing.”

McRaven emphasized the “new normal” in the recent years that have seen increased deployments and the associated problems for military families.

“Nothing is more frustrating, more worrisome, more nerve-wracking for spouses and children than not knowing where [the children’s] mother and father are going to be next week, next month or next year,” he said.

McRaven described MCEC as a “phenomenal network’ of educators, counselors, parents, uniformed service members, advocates, and civilian organizations, all of which he said play a critical role in filling the void faced by many families.

“You have the experience and the global reach to help our military children as they struggle with the challenge of the day and they strive to be great young adults. You have instilled in our children a sense of belonging.”

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDODNews)