Dave Smith is a former Marine infantryman and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He is an avid adventurer and backpacker with travel in over 30 countries. Following a brush with suicide in 2012, he has devoted his life to serving others and helping fellow veterans smoothly transition back to civilian life.
Five years ago today, the world lost a very special man. While some people may have heard Clay’s name in the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention For American Veterans Act that was signed by President Obama last year, or through theClay Hunt Fellowship Program put on by Team Rubicon to develop leadership skills for transitioning service members, many people probably don’t know his full story. So, who was Clay Hunt and how has his life had such a special impact on the veteran community?
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.
U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Justin T. Updegraff
The transition out of the military seems to come in a few important stages. Getting started and being willing to truly do what it takes to begin a recovery is probably the most difficult. After that, taking responsibility, building healthy relationships, finding a supportive community, and staying active are all important self-choices. In the next stage, getting involved and giving back are essential to setting goals and providing a sense of purpose. Finally, seeking professional development, employment, and education will improve confidence and set a stage for continued growth.
Whether you recently separated from the military or have been discharged for several years, you will likely face some challenges acclimating back into your community. These challenges may include readjustment, regaining a sense of purpose, charting a path for your new life, and acquiring the skills and education you need to stay on that path. Here are six brief tips that may prove invaluable as you make a successful transition into the next phase of your life.
A decade ago today this week, on Aug. 26, 2004, Pfc. Nicholas Skinner was killed in Najaf, Iraq, while fighting off the Mahdi militia in a final push to surround the Imam Ali mosque. Skinner was a rifleman in Alpha Company “Raiders”, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, the primary ground-fighting unit during the battle.