On December 30, Colonel Owen Ray, a Special Forces officer, allegedly held his family at gunpoint inside his home. Following a two-hour standoff with the police, he was arrested. He is to reappear to court tomorrow to face charges.

The story of Colonel Owen Ray is avoidable. It is perhaps the worst form of malfeasance by the generals. They knew and did nothing to help him. Now, it is even worse for him, his family, and the Special Operations Community.

Many of you do not know that on active duty as a general officer (GO), I led the fight to improve the care we gave to servicemembers and their families, specifically those servicemembers with mental injuries due to Post-traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). As the commander of Special Operations Command-Africa (SOCAFRICA), a division-level command, I used my treatment for PTS, TBI, pain management, and sleep disorder as a template to help our servicemembers and their families.

I knew we had a problem in SOF and it was not being addressed effectively by the leadership or my peers. I asked why do we have so many disciplinary issues in SOF and why do we have issues on six-month deployments with alcohol and drugs?

The answer was simple: We are not effectively treating mental and physical injuries and spiritual health.

This triad is hugely important in a military organization in order to ensure resiliency, readiness, and care of our bottom line which is people, family, mission. Having programs and leadership paying lip service to get treatment will not work. The leadership must lead by example and put together an approach that guarantees our servicemembers and their families will not be stigmatized and have their careers hurt.

So, in SOCAFRICA we put together a program that assessed, diagnosed, and provided treatment. This program was successful because Sarah McNary, I, and my senior enlisted advisor Navy Seal Master Chief Rich Pulglisi underwrote it and guaranteed to our servicemembers that nothing negative would happen to them if they got treatment. Our servicemembers came forward in significant numbers. The program also included families. The result was a more resilient and combat-ready organization.

Attributable to this 26-month program was a significant decrease in alcohol and drug incidents, a decrease in inappropriate behavior, no suicidal ideation, an increase in work environment productivity, and a number of saved marriages. This is captured in a command climate assessment and personal testimony from servicemembers and their families.