During World War I, when one pilot was flying behind another pilot, he would say “I’ve got your six” letting that pilot know he had support. Over time, the term has come to symbolize loyalty and cooperation.
When facing a challenge, it’s comforting to know that somebody has your back. With the end of the war in Iraq, the impending drawdown in Afghanistan and budget cuts reducing troop numbers, over a million service men and women will reintegrate into the civilian world over the next five years. They will bring with them valuable assets in their skills and leadership qualities that their communities may not know how to use for the betterment of all. With that thought in mind and inspired by the sentiment of “got your six”, more than 60 organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors have collaborated to create an awareness and action campaign aptly called Got Your 6.
The campaign bridges the civilian-military worlds by: creating opportunities for veterans and civilians to work together to reinvigorate their communities, providing tools, platforms and resources for civilians to grow their understanding of military and veteran culture, and ensuring that those who have so bravely served this country are seen as leaders and assets in their communities.
Got Your 6 connects veteran-focused organizations with the entertainment industry to implement the awareness campaign through coverage in the media, integrating military culture into scripts and events supported by those in front of and behind the cameras.
The activation campaign identifies six pillars of veteran reintegration and each pillar has a non-profit partner who has made a commitment to achieve a measurable goal by the end of 2014:
- Jobs: The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes has pledged to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses primarily through hosting hiring fairs across the country. Goodwill Industries has signed on as their National Activation partner, offering assistance with finding employment or training for a new career.
- Education: Student Veterans of America and the Pat Tillman Foundation have joined forces to collect pledges from 500 colleges and universities to provide programs and policies supportive of student veterans. They are supported by Operation College Promise, a national leader in the development of innovative degree programs targeting military students.
- Health: Give an Hour and its partners have pledged to educate 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the mental health fields focusing on the unique mental health needs of returning servicemembers and their families. They also encourage veterans to enter the mental health field as a career.
- Housing: The 100,000 Homes campaign in conjunction 189 community organizations are focused on providing permanent housing to 20,000 chronically homeless veterans.
- Family: Blue Star Families has committed to providing reintegration tools for 300,000 military families through the development of a handbook that addresses the emotional process families go through from pre-deployment to deployment to reintegration. Their partner, the Military Child Education Coalition, has pledged to train 100,000 kindergarten through university- level educators with in the skills required to address the complex needs of military children.
- Leadership: Challenging veterans to use their skills and leadership to better their communities, The Mission Continues has committed to engaging veterans in 5 million hours of volunteer service. Through a six-month fellowship program, veterans are matched with local non-profits to address educational, environmental, and social issues while working on one of three personal goals: fulltime employment, higher education or a permanent volunteer position.
Got Your 6 also provides action steps in each pillar for civilians so we can support and show appreciation for the sacrifices made by our military men and women. Get involved today!