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3 Veterans Share The Reasons Behind Their Continued Service
As part of the Second Oath, Task & Purpose partnered with Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues to promote a national movement around public service. By sharing and celebrating the stories of veterans making an impact in communities around the country, we hope to inspire even more selfless acts of service.
Three members of Team Rubicon share their stories of service. Here's why they committed to serving their country even after separating from the military.
“I’m a part of something much bigger than myself.”Melanie Williamson is a U.S. Navy vet who’s deployed on multiple relief operations with Team Rubicon, including “Operation: Double Trouble” in her home state of Texas after the torrential floods in April 2015. The 28-year-old former aviation machinist thinks there is nothing comparable to the feeling you get while serving others with a big rowdy crew.
Why did you take the Second Oath?
"Sure, I love to put a fubar through a wall, throw debris as hard as I can, and be so sweaty and exhausted at the end of the day I can hardly function. But what I truly love is helping people. The hugs and tearful handshakes break down my rough edges and bring me back to my passion for being a part of the solution. I’m a part of something much bigger than myself. I have a purpose again."
“Helping those who can’t help themselves is an obligation that each of us has.”Jerome Alexander Deniz, 31, is a former Chinese linguist for the U.S. Navy. After the military, he used the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to finish his degree in Chinese studies and now works for SHINE Systems & Technologies, providing software training and workflow development to clients. He also works as a regional technology manager for Team Rubicon Region 9.
Why did you take the Second Oath?
“Service continues to be of great importance to me because I strongly believe that everyone should pay it forward. Helping those who can’t help themselves is an obligation that each of us has. One small act of kindness can go a long way in helping improve someone’s quality of life, whether it’s emotionally, spiritually, or physically.”
"Every time I put on my Team Rubicon shirt, it reminds me why our organization exists and the ideals we stand for.”U.S. Army veteran Jonathan Chiang lives in San Francisco serves as the Northern California communications coordinator for Team Rubicon. One of the most pivotal moments of his life was becoming a platoon leader for the first time and being entrusted with the personal and professional development, welfare, and discipline of soldiers and preparing them for deployment. He says the people he’s met through Team Rubicon have helped him gain a new core network of close friendships and unique experiences.
Why did you take the Second Oath?
"Every time I put on my Team Rubicon shirt, it reminds me why our organization exists and the ideals we stand for: a literal band of brothers and sisters whom share a common bond of former service to our country, now bonding together for a greater service yet again. It’s truly an exhilarating and intensely satisfying feeling to be working, sweating, and serving next to these men and women who consistently put the needs of others over their own and sacrifice time out of their busy lives to help those in dire need."
The Second Oath is an initiative led by The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, and Task & Purpose uniting veterans around the country who are giving back to their communities through public service projects. Take a second oath of service and commit to serving your community. Don’t know where to volunteer? We’ll help you connect to local efforts in your area.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Editor's Note: A version of this article originally appeared on the blog of Angry Staff Officer
This morning, the Virginia state capitol in Richmond saw dozens of armed men gathering to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – the right to bear arms. These men were not merely bearing arms, however; they were fully accoutered in the trappings of what one would call a paramilitary group: helmets, vests, ammunition pouches, camouflage clothing, and other "tactical" necessities, the majority of which are neither tactical nor necessary. Their weapons, too, are bedecked with all sorts of accessories, and are also in the paramilitary lane. Rather than carry rifles or shotguns that one would use for hunting, they instead carry semi-automatic "military grade" weapons, to merely prove that they can.
This is not an uncommon sight in America. Nor has it ever been. Armed groups of angry men have a long and uncomfortable history in the United States. On very rare occasions, these irregulars have done some good against corrupt, power-hungry, and abusive county governments. For the most part, however, they bode no good.
A memo circulating over the weekend warning of a "possible imminent attack" against U.S. soldiers in Germany was investigated by Army officials, who found there to not be a serious threat after all.
Comedian Jon Stewart has joined forces with veterans groups to make sure service members who have been sickened by toxins from burn pits get the medical care they need, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."
The Navy plans on naming its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after World War II hero Doris 'Dorie' Miller, an African-American sailor recognized for his heroism during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor — and not everybody is happy about it.
Editor's note: A version of this article first appeared in 2018
Three. That's how many times Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe entered the burning carcass of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle after it struck an improvised explosive device in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin on Oct. 17, 2005. Cashe, a 35-year-old Gulf War vet on his second combat deployment to Iraq since the 2003 invasion, had been in the gun turret when the IED went off below the vehicle, immediately killing the squad's translator and rupturing the fuel cell. By the time the Bradley rolled to a stop, it was fully engulfed in flames. The crackle of incoming gunfire followed. It was a complex ambush.