Senators push for nationwide Green Alert system for missing veterans

By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 7, 2019

WASHINGTON – Two senators introduced legislation Thursday that would create a Green Alert public notification system to find veterans when they go missing.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, sponsored The Green Alert Act of 2019. They said the system would be similar to the Amber Alert system for missing children or the Silver Alert system to locate senior citizens, especially ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Many veterans go missing because of stress and trauma associated with their military service, said Ernst, who is an Iraq War veteran who served for more than 20 years in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

“As a combat veteran, I understand how important it is for our veterans to have access to the support and care they have earned,” she said in a statement.

Last year, Wisconsin became the first state to implement a public notification system for missing veterans. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the system was created after Air Force veteran Corey Adams, a Milwaukee resident diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, went missing and was found dead 18 days later. His family struggled to get police to search for him.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, has led efforts to take the Green Alert system nationwide. He resides in New Hampshire and inspired Hassan to take up the issue.

“For a variety of reasons, far too many veterans go missing for long stretches of time before someone finds them,” Bolduc said.

He believes the system would help “better locate veterans and give them the appropriate care they need when they disappear.”

The Green Alert Act would create a commission comprising representatives from the departments of Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, as well as state and local officials. The commission would be tasked with developing best practices and technical assistance to help states develop the system.

Twitter: @nikkiwentling