A few years back, Casey Landru did a brave but potentially headache-inducing thing — he jumped into a discussion on social media.
The question was, “Is the military a profession? What does that mean to you? What are the ethical responsibilities of modern military members, if any?”
Landru gave his thoughts, and so did several others.
Somehow, the days-long discussion didn’t go the way so many do — devolving into a mess of memes and trolling. Instead, it was measured, intelligent and respectful.
And now, Landru and some of the others in the conversation have a new book to show for it. Their discussion eventually grew into “Redefining the Modern Military,” which examines the intersection of profession and ethics in the armed forces.
It was published through the U.S. Naval Institute and is available now.
Having the book out “is pretty cool. It’s not something I ever thought I’d do,” said Landru of Richland. “It’s still kind of sinking in a little bit.”
He has the expertise to write about the military, no doubt.
The 32-year-old is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a former Army officer who spent a year deployed in Afghanistan.
His chapter looks at the “Evolution of Defining the Army Profession.”
For Landru, joining that profession was something he’d long envisioned.
He grew up on a ranch in central Montana, the son of a Vietnam veteran.
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hit while he was in high school, cementing his future plans. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be in the Army. I’d always wanted to, but that kind of sealed the deal,” Landru said.
He applied and was accepted to West Point.
Leaving Montana for New York was a culture shock, but he thrived — earning an engineering degree while being initiated into military life.
After graduation, he headed to Fort Benning, Ga., for infantry training. Then it was off to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, where he was a platoon leader and executive officer.
After returning, Landru spent another year in Hawaii and then served three years at Fort Bragg, N.C., before leaving the Army as a captain.
He now works at Bechtel as a mechanical engineer.
“Redefining the Modern Military” was put together by Nathan K. Finney and Tyrell O. Mayfield, both military officers and co-founders of The Strategy Bridge, a nonprofit group that aims to enhance the development of people working in strategy, national security and military affairs.
They recruited contributors from an array of backgrounds to pen chapters.
It’s valuable reading for service members, veterans and civilians alike, Landru said. Civilians, in particular, have something to gain and give.
“I want people to think about their military, because that’s what it is. That’s one of the things to take away from this: the U.S. military aspires to be a profession that serves its client. Its client is the United States people,” Landru said. “There are responsibilities on both sides of that relationship.”
More public engagement with the military is needed, Landru said.
“The military is open to that engagement, we want that engagement,” he said.
Landru is celebrating the release of “Redefining the Modern Military” in between camping trips and before ski season gets into full swing.
He’s an avid outdoorsman who’s adventured throughout the Northwest, including summiting several volcanoes, from Mt. Hood to Mt. Rainier.
And he uses his skills to help others with their own adventures, helping with the InterMountain Alpine Club’s backpacking and mountaineering schools.
Landru said he’s glad to have the book out after years of hard work.
“I have new respect for people who get books published. It’s an effort. It’s definitely an effort,” he said. But also worth it.
“It’s a topic I’m passionate about,” he said.
For more information or to buy the book, go to www.modernmilitarybook.com.