Quality of Military Life

By: David Scanlan
Feb 23, 2017 3:20 PM ET

General Lucian Truscott, a highly decorated U.S. Army officer who was recognized for both his leadership and service during World War II, stated in his 1954 memoir Mission Commands: A Personal Story, “The American soldier demonstrated that, properly equipped, trained and led, he has no superior among all the armies of the world.”  I could not agree more!  During my tenure leading Sodexo’s Government segment in North America, which is the nation’s largest federal foodservice contractor, I have seen firsthand the tremendous work our brave service men and women exhibit each and every day, and it never ceases to amaze me.

The part of General Truscott’s statement that I found most interesting and relevant to the services we provide, was the notion of the military being properly equipped. If you ask the average person on the street what the term “properly equipped” means as it relates to our modern military, you are likely to hear responses about weapons, vehicles, systems and infrastructure – the tangible tools needed for the military to defend our country and freedom around the world.  I suspect you are less likely to hear responses about the vital role that community, family and wellness play in ensuring military readiness and resiliency. Although those factors, all of which contribute to quality of life for our military and their families, are not as well known, they are no less important.  Evidence of the tremendous impact quality of life has on military community can be found in recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearings in Washington, DC, which focused on military readiness.

Officers representing the different branches of the military along with representatives of respected military-focused organizations, provided testimony to Congress about readiness and some of its influencing factors.  Topics covered in those hearings included health and well-being, childcare, benefits, morale, and support for service men and women throughout their time serving the country and their transition to life as a veteran.  All of these discussion points, as indicated in the testimonies, are factors which contribute to the quality of military life.

In my position with Sodexo and on boards with military-focused organizations, I’ve had the opportunity to really concentrate on many ways that military quality of life can be bolstered.  Not only have my interactions and learning experiences been interesting, but they seem more relevant and important than ever before in our country’s history.  Therefore, I’ve asked a group of subject matter experts from diverse backgrounds to help me create a series of posts for this blog which will examine the many ways we, as a country, can support and improve the quality of life for our military and their families.  I hope you share my interest in this vital topic and I encourage you to come back to Sodexo Insights for additional posts in this series over the coming months. You can even subscribe to the blog so that you are alerted when new posts are published.