Welcome to Code Red News, my new column here at Task & Purpose.
So first things first, who the hell am I? My name is Paul Szoldra (good luck pronouncing it), and I’ve been a national security reporter for places like Business Insider and We Are The Mighty for about five or so years. During that time I also founded and continue to run Duffel Blog, the popular military satire site.
Before that, I was a U.S. Marine infantryman with service in such exotic locales as Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, and North Carolina. And a little bit further back, I was an 18-year-old kid who got fired from a gas station.
So that’s my story. But I’m much more interested in telling yours.
My little slice of Task & Purpose probably won’t be like the rest. I plan on making Code Red News a reported column, which means I will, like every other columnist, offer my opinion on things, and I will also use my journalism background to find and report on interesting topics, potentially show you documents I’ve wrestled away from the Pentagon, and interview people I find fascinating.
But I would also like to offer you a warning.
If you’re looking for fluffy news stories about the new whiz-bang gizmo the Pentagon is showing off to everyone, it won’t be here. Instead, I’m going to be the guy asking the questions like, “Can we even afford this thing?” or “How does this help the E-3 on the ground?” I’m also in favor of calling out hypocrisy and lies with blunt language instead of hedging with words like “misspoke” and calling some subjects “controversial.”
In short, Code Red News will offer news and analysis on the defense world with brevity, humor, and above all, plenty of skepticism.
So I’ll call it like I see it. We may not always agree, but you’ll always know where I stand.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Coast Guard cutter Bertholf on a counterdrug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Trees
U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bertholf left California on January 20 for a months-long mission in the Pacific to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest of the U.S. military's geographic combatant commands.
Coast Guardsmen aboard the Bertholf left Alameda on the 30th day of what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. They left a few days after not getting their first paycheck since that shutdown started and without knowing when the next will come.