17 February 2010

Red Bulls Returning, Part 2

Back in the day, the officers and NCOs and radio-jockeys who worked in a unit's Tactical Operations Center (TOC, pronounced "talk) would track troop movements on the battlefield by moving little markers on big maps. Or, more accurately, we'd draw on clear sheets of acetate, which were layered over topographic maps. Each layer of acetate might depict a different set of data: One might show known minefields and other obstacles the enemy had put into place, while another might depict friendly supply routes.

A lot of times, it was only after one layer of acetate was placed over another that one came to understand what was happening out on the ground.

I'm not sure of any conclusions to make, but I was struck by the possible implications of two disparate and different maps presented in Minnesota Public Radio's recent "Red Bulls: Beyond Deployment" package I mentioned yesterday.

Specifically, I wonder if anyone smarter than I am regarding rural issues and mental healthcare has overlaid the infographic by MPR's Than Tibbets, which depicts the hometowns of the returning Red Bull soldiers, onto the Google-Maps-generated depiction of the current locations of veteran service clinics.

To paraphrase everyone's favorite Kevin Costner movie about Iowa (no, it wasn't "Dances with Hogs"): "Build it closer to where they live, and they may come."

Part 2 of 3

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