Look Who’s ‘Certified’ by the Got Your 6 Group

Veterans-focused org releases latest media vote of confidence — with impacts felt far and wide

by Zachary Leeman | 11 Jan 2017 at 1:21 PM

Got Your 6, an organization working to ensure that veterans are accurately portrayed in the media, released a statement approving of President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, an organization Got Your 6 works with closely on a regular basis. Trump on Wednesday nominated David Shulkin, M.D., for the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

“Over the last two-plus years, Sec. [Bob] McDonald has righted a massive ship and set the Department of Veterans Affairs on a course that will eventually make it a model agency,” said Iraq veteran and Got Your 6 Executive Director Bill Rausch of the outgoing VA secretary.

Despite the group’s earlier endorsement of McDonald to continue in the position, Rausch said the group sees a positive future with Shulkin. “Although Dr. Shulkin does not have military experience, we have worked with him closely in his current role [as undersecretary] and have seen firsthand his unwavering commitment to our nation’s veterans. VA’s success is our veterans’ success, and we look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin, his staff, and the entire Trump administration to ensure that veterans continue to be put first.”

Got Your 6 also recently announced a batch of 2017 projects that have received the group’s so-called 6 Certified stamp. This has become a highly coveted endorsement sought by filmmakers coast-to-coast who want audiences to be confident about the way military veterans are depicted.

Television shows like USA’s “Shooter” and blockbuster movies like “Sully” have been "6 Certified" in the past. The latest works to receive the seal of approval include the recently released Netflix series “One Day at a Time” from producer Norman Lear, History’s upcoming “Six,” which focuses on Navy SEALS, and the Mark Wahlberg film, “Patriots Day” — which dramatizes events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Related: Norman Lear's New 'One Day at a Time,' with Latin Flavor

“Due to our smaller all-volunteer force, fewer people today know a veteran than ever before in our nation’s history and are therefore more susceptible to the false narrative that veterans are broken heroes,” said Rausch in a statement announcing the new certified projects. “By working with the entertainment industry, we have an opportunity to change commonly held misperceptions about our veterans by recognizing projects that go the extra mile to portray those who served in an accurate light.”

This year marked the first in which the group certified a piece of digital content — a nine-minute film called “The War Horse News.” It follows the recovery and rehabilitation of Kyle Carpenter, a U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient.

Though launched only two years ago, in 2015, the 6 Certified badge has quickly become a coveted branding. To receive the positive marking, a project needs to show a balanced and realistic portrayal of a veteran, as well as fulfill one of a handful of pledges set by Got Your 6.

The pledges include: Do Your Homework (which means researching with real veterans and military families); Cast a Veteran (a veteran is included in a significant role in the cast); Hire a Veteran Writer (having a veteran helping to craft the story and narrative); Portray a Veteran Character (have a veteran character that is multi-dimensional and does not adhere to false stereotypes); Tell a Veteran Story (have a story with accurate veteran themes); or Use Veterans as Resources On Set or in Writers’ Rooms (having veterans consulting throughout the filmmaking process).

Related: Vets Group Fights for the Facts in Hollywood

Projects are submitted to the group’s review team, which then makes a determination.

“Got Your 6 launched the 6 Certified program in early 2015 and recognized six film and television projects. We’re now up to 41 projects, have expanded into theatrical productions and digital content, and, most importantly, are proactively contacted by content creators who understand their role and opportunity to develop accurate, well-rounded characters that will help shape public perception of our veterans,” Rausch told LifeZette about the growing success of the project.

Combating stereotypes long held in film and media that promote violent, mentally unstable, or one-dimensional veterans, 6 Certified works to break the chains of false portrayals and bridge the gap between civilians and America's servicemen and women. Projects like “Hacksaw Ridge” and “American Sniper” already have the badge of honor.

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