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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.
KABUL (Reuters) - At least 29 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in Taliban attacks that followed air and ground assaults by government forces on the Islamist group at the weekend.
The surge in hostilities signals deadlock at stop-start peace talks involving U.S and Taliban negotiators in Doha. The Defense Ministry said on Sunday government forces had killed 51 Taliban fighters in the weekend assaults.
But the Taliban hit back, carrying out attacks on security checkpoints in the northern province of Kunduz on Tuesday night in which a security official who declined to be identified said 15 members of the Afghan army were killed.
29 years after Desert Storm, an Air Force general says we’ve forgotten the lessons that made it so successful
When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.
Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.
"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."
The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.
Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.
Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.
The Navy SEAL accused of strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was promoted to chief petty officer two months after Melgar's death, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.
March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.
"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.
Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.
More problems with Air Force's new tanker could put the squeeze on the Pentagon's refueling capabilities, TRANSCOM chief says
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Protracted delays on Boeing's new KC-46 tanker could leave the Pentagon with a shortage of refueling capacity, the head of U.S. Transportation Command warned on Tuesday.