Bloggers Roundtables: Col. Mark S. Martins
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More Roundtables from this Week

We've had three other Roundtables this week, one of which I'll discuss separately when its transcript is up.  It was an unusual one in that our guest was with State, not DOD.

Earlier this week, we spoke with Colonel Edward Mason of the Wounded Soldier Family Hotline (transcript here). 

[T]hat number is 800 984-8523 or, for those overseas, we have a DSN line, which is 312 328-0002. We established this hotline with two primary purposes in mind. The first is to provide wounded soldiers and their families a more direct way to seek help with medical issues they are not or have not been able to resolve at their level or using their immediate chain of command. And then secondly to provide an information channel of soldier medical-related issues directly to senior Army leaders so they can improve the way the Army serves the medical needs of our soldiers and families.

Col. Mason added later in the call that, although they are not the caseworkers themselves, they will find a way to help:

[I]t's just important for everyone to know that we -- we have not turned a single phone call away. We have not turned a single person away. Twenty-eight percent of the calls that we receive are from veterans; they're not -- they're not currently serving soldiers. So we've taken that, we've established a -- part of our network is the Veterans Administration. Just so that we don't turn anyone away, we will find out how to get support to those individuals, one way or the other.

Andi of Andi's World, Andrew Lubin and I asked him some hard questions, which you're welcome to read through in the transcript.  I think that basic information, however, is important to convey.

Separately, today we spoke with Col. John Charlton, commander, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3ID (transcript here).  He's out in Ramadi where they have one of the new EPRTs, about which I asked him.  He's also made innovative use of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce, and his comments about that are worth a read.  In addition, there were questions about troop rotations, morale, operations, and more.  It's a good read.

Finally, those of you who enjoyed the conversation with Marine Corps General Gaskin may wish to see this video: