Petraeus joins the team of veterans in transition

Gen. Petraeus is in transition. It’s something we all experience, most especially Veterans who meet the challenge of moving from a strong military identification to the sometimes vague and just a touch confusing civilian work and life situation.

General David Petraeus prior to transition

General David Petraeus (US Military photo 2011)

 “He’s a little lonely and trying to figure it out like other returning veterans. I met with him and it just dawned on me that he’s looking for a new mission and a new sense of purpose, and he went back to something that he was comfortable with.”

Kaj Larsen, a former Navy Seal and advocate for returning veterans, is quoted in this excerpt from BuzzFeed.
Headlines in the story hint at other motives. Well orchestrated comebacks. Polishing of image and restoration of prestige.When our Military Success Network editorial team read this story, we saw a veteran in transition, looking around at resources. Perhaps one with a higher profile, rank and residual benefits – but still – one military service member challenged with living a newly altered life in his own skin.

Another excerpt links the general with more transition moves:

“Petraeus has also begun to work with Team Rubicon, which aims to engage veterans in responding to natural disasters. 

Jake Wood, co-founder and president of Team Rubicon

Jake Wood, co-founder and president of Team Rubicon

“He said when he first walked in, ‘I’m excited to get to know what I’ve been told is the best veteran blue-collar organization out there,’ and we don’t mind being called blue collar and certainly appreciate that,” said Jake Wood, the group’s president.

“There’s no doubt that veterans hold a special place in his heart; I have no doubt regardless of what manner he left public service, he would have elected to serve veterans.”

According to BuzzFeed staffers Emily Orley and Ben Smith’s piece, Petraeus is also associating himself with a third group, Team Red White and Blue, which supports physical fitness.

“Nothing in particular to talk about, he just joined the team like other veterans have,” said the group’s executive director, Blayne Smith. “He joined the team and is wearing the shirt.”

Indeed, Gen. David Petraeus has joined the team of transitioning veterans.

For some, it will still be seen as  a strategy as well laid out as any campaign he commanded in Iraq or Afghanistan. For others it’ll be a public relations smoke screen. One designed to get him back into the hall of mirrors and tinkling champagne glasses on the way to something personally grand.

As a civilian with 30 years of public relations under her reflective belt, this writer is hopeful rather than suspicious. Why?

Because he is still one soldier trying to funnel the skill and experience of all that he was and that he had into something new and productive.

Regardless of the footing some might say he’s trying to (re)establish, Petraeus can now lead in a new and needed way. Again, through my  civilian eyes I see: fitness, leadership, tactical response to crises, discipline, battle tested understanding and connection to the thousands of military men and women coming home needing a place to apply all that they are, meaningfully. And now he finds himself  a team member in all that?  Yes! Bring it on and let the reintegration continue, constructively.

Read BuzzFeed’s full story of April 28, here.

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