This weeks’ guest is Retired Major General Gregg F. Martin, US Army, and he’s undoubtedly changing the way mental illness is viewed within the military ranks. Gen. Martin didn’t set out to be an advocate for soldiers, airman, and marines suffering with mental illness, and it certainly wasn’t a position he could have imagined himself in prior to mid-July 2014. That is until he was forced out of his position and subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In 2014 General Martin was serving as president of the National Defense University in Washington DC. In mid-July General Martin was summoned to his boss’s office, then chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. Upon arrival, Gen. Dempsey hugged Gen. Martin and said “Gregg, I love you like a brother … but your time at NDU is done. You have until 1700 today to submit your letter of resignation to me or I will fire you. Is that clear?” What came next was a personal two-year war in which the enemy was Gen. Martin’s own mind, and it’s one that almost cost him his life.
It was an absolute honor to sit down with Gen. Martin and discuss his journey with bipolar disorder, and how speaking openly about his experiences is helping other men and women of the armed forces avoid the stigma associated with mental health. For more about Gen. Martin’s story please see his opinion piece in Task and Purpose.