Journal Entry: Andrew Gerald Millas-09/22/2023

Journal Entry

9/22/2023 (Day #4286)

Veterans Groups

I finished another FSA class on 9/8/2023 – Soldier On, Veterans Support Group. I’m eager for any veterans-specific classes and groups I can get into because of the relatability factor (yes, sort of a callback to my entry about empathy). I prefer the company of other veterans. I don’t have anything against civilians, veterans generally have a different mindset and outlook. I’ve been told that my sustained military bearing, even now 26 years since I was honorably discharged, gives people the impression that I served a full 20+ year career. I take pride in that. And I’ve had the same observation about others who have been in some branch of military. This latest group was led by a veteran, and we discussed the difference that makes as far as relatability. Some of the others feel so strongly about only wanting to hear veterans-specific instruction from a veteran that they said they would have quit the class if it had been facilitated by a non-vet. I’m not quite at that level, I actually participated in a Veterans Resilience Group right after the pandemic that was led by a non-veteran. He was upfront about his not having the experience to relate to those who’ve served and put a lot of effort into honoring that with his presentation of the course material. If he hadn’t been upfront about it and it was revealed after the fact, I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I don’t think I would have quit the class, they’re too difficult to get into. My interpretation and comprehension of the material probably would have been effected, though. The facilitator for this latest group asked us for input about the course material, and it was unanimous that it seemed to be written by a non-veteran. Still, as we’ve all been trained in the military, we accepted, adapted, and persevered with the material despite that. It was also directed more at veterans who are fairly new, as in less than a year or so, into BOP custody. Regardless of that, there was useful information that I learned and perspectives shared among all of us that I’ve tucked away in my mental reference library.

Soldiering on.