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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.
White supremacist Coast Guard officer stockpiled firearms and hit list of Democrats for mass terror attack
A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goad a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."