That’s the number of veterans of the war in Afghanistan the Wounded Warrior Project is mounting a campaign to call and offer support amid the Taliban re-taking control and America's ongoing evacuation of U.S. citizens and allies.
WWP CEO and retired Army Gen. Mike Linnington said the recent news out of Afghanistan has elicited a range of emotions in veterans who served there.
“I think top of the iist is probably concern. Concern for their brothers and sisters in arms who served with them,” he said. “Concern for the Afghan partners that they served with that we made lifelong commitments to and really for the future of Afghanistan.”
About 400 WWP teammates will be making calls to support warriors as they navigate the news.
"We understand and acknowledge what's happening in Afghanistan may bring back some difficult memories and trigger strong feelings," said Jennifer Silva, WWP chief program officer.
Linnington said there’s also been sadness and disappointment in various events that have unfolded over the past several days.
“I do think the announced withdrawal and the activities of the last weeks certainly has exacerbated the needs of our veterans,” he said.
During the calls, the warriors will be reminded that they're not alone. They and their families will be connected to resources, especially in mental health, now and into the future.
WWP is also working with other organizations in the veterans' services and military service community to provide mental health support. The organization is additionally increasing the support available in its Resource Center.
Resource Center staff are available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday at 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586).
For those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide and need to talk confidentially with someone, the Veterans Crisis Line is available every day, 24/7, at 1.800.273.8255. Press 1 upon calling. Veterans can also chat online or text 838255.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.