Jul 14 2017

Mast’s Bill to Combat Veteran Suicide Passes House

Oath of Exit Included in National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast’s (FL-18) “Oath of Exit” passed the U.S. House of Representatives today as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill creates a voluntary separation oath for members of the Armed Forces aimed at reducing veteran suicide. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide every day and a veteran’s risk of suicide is 21% higher compared to an adult who has not served in the Armed Forces.

“The idea for this bill came from friends of mine who have struggled with suicidal thoughts since leaving the military and great organizations like Spartan Pledge that are working to fight the veteran suicide epidemic. Throughout our lives, the most important commitments we make are spoken—whether its an oath upon joining the military, vows at a wedding or saying the pledge of allegiance,” Rep. Mast said. “Integrity is more than just a word to service members, so I know if we say we’ll look out for each other and ourselves, we’ll do it. This Oath of Exit is a strong step forward in doing anything and everything we can to prevent even one more veteran from harming themselves.”

The text of the Oath is below:

“I, ________, recognizing that my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, has involved me and my fellow members in experiences that few persons, other than our peers, can understand, do solemnly swear (or affirm) to continue to be the keeper of my brothers- and sisters-in-arms and protector of the United States and the Constitution; to preserve the values I have learned; to maintain my body and my mind; and to not bring harm to myself without speaking to my fellow veterans first. I take this oath freely and without purpose of evasion, so help me God.”