You would think Jake Wood, cofounder and President of Team Rubicon, would be busy enough trotting around the globe providing disaster relief, but apparently he’s not too busy for a new venture, especially one that honors his friend and fellow Marine, Clay Hunt.
Hunt and Wood served together in the Marine Corps, including completing Scout/Sniper school together. After the Marine Corps, Wood and Hunt went to Haiti in a self-designed humanitarian mission that would become the start of Team Rubicon. Hunt also participated in veteran related programs, such as Ride to Recovery, and advocated on the behalf of veterans. But the involvement wasn’t enough to overcome the effects of the PTSD and depression that gripped him when he was alone and, in March 2011, Clay Hunt took his own life. At his funeral, Wood discovered that there were several Marines within fifteen minutes of Hunt’s home in Houston. The thought that a connection with those Marines could potentially have saved Clay Hunt’s life drove Wood, together with Army veteran Anthony Allman and Team Rubicon cofounder and fellow Marine William McNulty, to start POS REP.
POS REP, which is short for “POSITION REPORT,” is a “proximity-based social network” app exclusively for the military veteran community. According to their website, POS REP will show users all the veterans resources and participating veterans within their “perimeter.” It will also allow veterans to chat, coordinate events, and, most importantly, connect with each other so they never have to feel alone.
Currently, the app is only available on Apple devices but an Android version is supposed to be coming soon (no date revealed on their website but you can subscribe on their website, if you’d like them to keep you posted). As I am an Android owner, I wasn’t able to test out the app for myself, unfortunately. From the website and the news coverage, though, I can tell you that it will be similar to Team Rubicon in the use of military terminology. For example, when you find a veteran in your area that you are interested in hanging out with, you can add them to your “squad” and you can “pop a flare” if you’ve created an event you want to invite others to.
For those concerned about privacy, as I am, the “radar” function on the app, which broadcasts your location to those also using the POS REP app, has a few built in features designed to protect the user. First, the little dot that represents your location is deliberately moved to a location that is close, but not perfectly accurate, so that individuals cannot use it to track your exact location – unless you want them to, which is where the “flares” come in. Additionally, while the “radar” feature defaults to ‘on’ initially, you can turn it off, so that your exact location is not revealed in the app. Additionally, as an overall safety measure, they are working on various ways to verify one’s veteran status so that the ability of “’stolen valor’ douchebags to take advantage of this technology,” as a recent article on the Rhino Den stated, is reduced.
With 22 veterans a day taking their own lives and from my personal experiences working with student veterans who told me time again about their feelings of isolation and the resulting depression, I cannot stress enough how important it is for veterans to connect to one another and how it, literally, can save lives. As soon as POS REP comes out on Android, it will be on my phone and I hope those of you who are iPhone users check it out now – your time as a battle buddy isn’t over; your fellow veterans still need you.
To learn more how POS-REP works, you can check out their website at www.pos-rep.com and to track their progress, you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/posrep. Also, be sure to pay your respects to Clay Hunt by watching more of his story here.
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.