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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.
An Air Force major drowned in a Caribbean Princess cruise ship pool Friday morning, the Broward Medical Examiner's Office said
Stephen Osakue, 37, worked for the Air Force as a research pharmacist, according to a statement by the Medical Examiner's Office on Monday. Osakue was based at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.
As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.
At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.