Best Of 2016: The Stories From Task & Purpose You'll Want To Read Again

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2016 was a big year for our team and our readers. We started a podcast about Bowe Bergdahl, brought on some incredible writing talent, and covered stories that no one else was talking about from the military and veterans’ perspective. From Standing Rock to the election, here’s our list of Task & Purpose’s best stories from 2016.


PTSD Is The War Families Fight At Home

By Sarah Sicard

We profiled a family who’s experiencing firsthand the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and its lasting effects on life at home.

COMIC: The Navy SEAL Who Was Shot 27 Times And Kept Fighting 

By Matt Battaglia

In April 2007, Chief Petty Officer Douglas “Mike” Day was shot 27 times in a raid on high-level al Qaeda militants in Iraq. This original comic presented Day’s incredible story of survival.

7 Guys You Meet In Every Infantry Platoon 

By Adam Linehan and Matt Battaglia

From the left-leaning idealist who dreams of writing the next great war novel to the patriotic computer nerd, we created an illustrated guide to the modern infantry platoon.

Sebastian Junger: Over-Valorizing Vets Does More Harm Than Good 

By Adam Linehan

Sebastian Junger spoke to us about the allure of combat, the civilian-military divide, and why over valorizing veterans only does more harm than good.

This Is Your Brain On War

By Adam Linehan and Matt Battaglia

We teamed up with former West Point psychology professor and author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman to produce this visual guide to what happens to the mind and body before, during, and after combat.

Keeping Our Covenant With America’s Veterans

By President Barack Obama

President Obama published an exclusive op-ed on Task & Purpose about America’s sacred covenant with veterans. The president reflected on the modern generation of veterans, the work he’s done on veterans affairs over the past eight years, and the work that lies ahead.

How I Earned My Ranger Tab

By Lisa Jaster

Maj. Lisa Jaster explains how she physically and mentally prepared for the Army’s elite Ranger School, and what it meant to be one of the first women to ever earn the Tab.

6 Types Of Vets Dominating Your Social Media This Election

By Adam Linehan and Matt Battaglia

Every election season, America’s veterans get on the internet to fight over how the country they swore to defend from enemies foreign and domestic should be run. We illustrated this year’s top six contenders.

Here’s Where Clinton And Trump Stand On Veterans Issues

By Sarah Sicard

We developed a comprehensive package of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's plans during the campaign for veterans, service members, and their families if elected president.

Watch: 15 Years Of War In Afghanistan, A Timeline 

By Task & Purpose

On the 15th anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom, we released an original eight-minute video detailing the war in Afghanistan President George W. Bush launched in 2001.

Why ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Full Of Useless Idiots, According To A USMC Sgt Maj 

By Mike Burke

The characters of AMC’s popular post-apocalyptic drama struggle against all sorts of obstacles, from zombies to food security, to other groups of survivors. A Marine explained why they fail time after time after time.

Mark Wahlberg Thinks Celebrities Need to Shut Up About Politics

By Aaron Gell

The star of the new terrorism drama “Patriots Day” spoke to us about how out of touch Hollywood is with the average American.

The Tragic And Ignored History Of Black Veterans

By James Clark

Between the end of the Civil War and World War II, many black veterans who fought for their country abroad became victims of violent racism at home. We took a look at lynchings of black veterans in America between 1877 and 1950.

Why They Went: The Inside Story Of The Standing Rock Veterans

By Adam Linehan

In early December, staff writer Adam Linehan spent five days on the ground with an estimated 4,000 veterans descended on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and helped put an end to a once seemingly hopeless struggle.

Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.

"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.

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The Minot Air Force Base main gate (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing 400 nuclear GM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

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Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.

No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.

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Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.

Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.

Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.

There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.

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An expert sniper can sneak up on an enemy naked as the day he was born. It's not particularly advised, but one top sharpshooter did exactly that just to prove a point, Marine snipers told Insider.

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