The 3 Battle Buds Every Veteran Needs To Have

Marines with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, participate in Exercise Desert Scimitar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 10, 2014.
Photo by Sgt. Timothy Lenzo

You will likely struggle when you leave the military. Most of us did. There is no shortage of advice swirling around as you get out, and most of it is bad. The best way to avoid serious problems in the transition process is to build a team of folks to help you out.

What you need when you leave the military is a transition team.

Think of it like a fire team or a squad, where people take on differing, but complementary, tasks in order to accomplish the mission. You do not need to recruit and train people, though. It's much easier than that; all you have to do is find a minimum of three people who are willing and able to help you out a bit when you first get out.

Related: The ex-military buddies all veterans have »

Of course you are the team leader since it's your butt on the line. But you will require help. Specifically, you are going to need to find someone to fill these three roles:

1. A point man.

Someone who lives in the area where you're settling. Ideally he or she will have lived there for a long time and know a lot of people in the community. This person will be critical to handle all the hidden logistics of a move. That goes double for anyone with a spouse and any other dependents. If you're moving back home, for example, a parent is an obvious option.

2. A radio operator.

Someone who is a natural networker, online and offline. When you start looking around at schools or places to work, this person will be your entry point. It is always better to be introduced into an organization than to send a "cold" email or apply to a job through an online portal. Think of an extrovert who cares enough about you to lend a hand.

3. The big guns.

Someone who has some clout. He knows how to use his influence to move mountains when there is no other way to get something done. You don't use him often, but it's nice to know he’s available. The logical choice for this is a platoon or company commander. You will probably end up in a pickle where you need to play the "Sir" card.

Transition smoothly is not about a plan. It's about relationships. That is how you will get through all the inevitable bumps in the road, and maybe even enjoy yourself.

For the skeptics who think they are going to fine because they took some transition courses, don't fool yourself. Almost all of that information is useless, or not presented to you in a way that will help you make the right decisions when you're faced with serious issues as a civilian.

And they will come up, believe me. Here's a short list of stuff that can turn your hair grey: finding the "right" job; getting into the "right" school; deciding between a house and an apartment; selecting a health insurance package; determining how much to save each month, etc.

I'll give you a million dollars if you can find the specific answers to all these in the mountain of brochures you were handed in transition class. You can't because your situation is unique, and must be treated that way.

And you can't just Google it, either. You need to sit down and talk to people about the problems you're facing, give them the context yourself so they can offer truly valuable advice.

So build a team around you. Develop those relationships. Treat your transition like a team sport, and offer to help anyone else you know who is getting out. Be a part of their team, and make life a little better for one of America's own.

US Marine Corps

The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.

"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'

"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"

Read More Show Less

At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.

A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.

Read More Show Less

In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."

A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.

In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.

A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.

The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.

Read More Show Less