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After more than a decade of intense fighting in two wars, America's servicemen and women are finally starting to come home. If history is any lesson, what’s next for the United States is a period of introspection, a focus on domestic issues, and the men and women who raised their hands to serve overseas will continue to lead at home. At Task & Purpose, we’re big believers in the idea that modern veterans will play a pivotal role in writing the next chapter of American history, but that’s a pretty daunting challenge. So here are six simple things you can do on a regular basis to help move things forward.
Military service is one of the best introductions to civil service; voting is another one, and it's a hell of a lot easier. You have a responsibility to future generations of servicemen and women to ensure you help elect thoughtful and responsible leaders. I don't give a damn who you vote for, but be politically active. Just, please, don't make political points in your uniform.
2. Go to a good school
The veterans who came back from World War II and went to college on their GI Bill built the great American middle class, and we need nothing less out of of this generation of veterans. In fact, a lot of great colleges can trace pivotal parts of their history back to accommodating post-World War II vets. Columbia University's School of General Studies, one of the top programs for veterans in the country today, grew from a need to accommodate post-World War II veterans. Even Sarah Lawrence College, a highly ranked liberal arts school outside of New York, first started accepting men after World War II. The current GI Bill is a remarkable piece of legislation that affords modern veterans every opportunity to succeed at great colleges. Go to the best school you can, and attack academia with the same fervor and ambition that brought you into the military in the first place. Just don't throw away your GI Bill on a shitty, for-profit online school.
3. Tell stories
True ones. Don't embellish. They don't even have to be about war. On a recent road trip, I had some friends laughing with a silly story from boot camp. For a lot of folks, military service looks like this big, intimidating, blurry entity. Shed some light on what it was like.
4. Keep serving
After 12 years of intense and complex war, the burden of which was shouldered by an unprecedentedly small portion of the population, Americans need to spend some time and energy fixing things within our borders. As a veteran, you're remarkably well positioned to lead in this effort. Get in the trenches. There are plenty of organizations that could use the unique skill sets of American service members to help rebuild our great nation.
5. Dress well
I've spent enough time near military bases to know this is the hardest one, but I'm never going to stop telling you not to tuck your Affliction shirt into your jeans. There's a real correlation between substance and style; and if you want to play the part of a leader, you need to look it as well.
6. Be patient
It's not in our nature, but if you want to be the sort of veteran America needs you to be, you've got to be patient. The civilian population at large does not understand us. Some pretty infuriating and insensitive things are going to come out of the media or everyday interactions. Think, "All veterans have PTSD," or, "So, how many people have you killed?" These statements reflect the rift that exists between American veterans and the rest of the populace, and unfortunately, the onus is on you to bridge that divide, not them. So, crack open a beer, tell a couple war stories, and patiently enlighten civilians on what’s up.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"