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So you've done it. You've done your time and wrapped up your days on active duty. Maybe you're headed to the reserves, maybe you've got some time to kill in the individual ready reserve, or maybe you're one of the lucky/unlucky ones who did enough years on the job to just roll right into civilian life. Whatever path you took, congrats.
So now what? Well, for those of you making the transition from military life to any of the big cities that dot our fair country, I have compiled a guide as important as it is brief to give you the edge to adjust and thrive in your new civilian life among the teeming masses of a metropolis like New York, Chicago, or Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
1. Get your green time: We veterans tend to be outdoorsy types. So while you're probably overjoyed to leave the days of MREs and trying to keep a weapon clean while sitting in a swamp or sandpit, cravings for the wilderness will crop up quickly. Explore the parks in your new city and get a dose of greenery as often as you can. Also check out the National Park Service’s list of 2,000 federal recreation sites free to vets. It will help keep you sane.
2. Don't fear ditching the POV: This is not a "must do" in every city, but, as a New Yorker, I feel I should mention it. Get rid of your privately owned vehicle. Yes, my dear set of wheels was the lifeline to civilization at each of the godforsaken places the government sent me to (deployments notwithstanding). But spending ridiculous amounts of money to compete for the absurdly limited parking space is just not worth it. Oh, and it's not a POV anymore. It's just a car again. Stop talking like that.
3. Eat well: When I was at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, the nicest restaurant in town was the Olive Garden. The nicest. I am a spoiled man in some ways, so I do not miss those days. Good food abounds in the city. Check out websites like TimeOut and Yelp to find the best eats near you. Enjoy it all.
4. Get a normal haircut: Sure, I miss the 30-second neck rub from an elderly Korean woman after my weekly mandatory haircut every Sunday evening for four years. But not enough to counteract how good it feels not to look like a week-old Chia Pet.
5. Learn to get around: Public transportation can be a wonderful thing or the bane of your existence, depending on your attitude, location, and feeling about being underground and seeing hordes of rats frolicking to the sound of a man drumming on a plastic bucket for money. Either way, you should learn the basics of the system in your city so you avoid looking like a tourist. Plus, like it or not, most often the fastest way from point A to point B in a city is via public transportation.
6. Internet dating: If you had qualms about this in the past, get over it. There are a lot of people all around you, many of whom are quite dateable. And you can't possibly meet them all just by bellying up to the nearest bar and talking super loud about how you just want to meet a nice gal/guy that appreciates the original Star Trek series (or whatever your thing is). It doesn’t work like that anymore, if it ever did. It's an easy, straightforward way to find the people you could be compatible with in the midst of the anonymous hordes.
7. Go for the home workout: Going to the gyms on bases was an easy and enjoyable experience. They're usually large, well equipped, and right there. Oh, and most importantly, free. After a few months of walking several blocks every day to a place with 300 elliptical machines and one set of free weights, all for the price of 80ish bucks a month, you'll be ordering up treadmills and adjustable dumbbells online. Do it from the start.
8. Join a veterans’ group: Alternatively, if you prefer to exercise in groups, or are just looking to meet some fellow vets, check out one of the many nonprofit organizations for veterans, such as Team RWB, an organization with chapters all over the country that provides local opportunities for veterans and the community to connect through physical and social activity.
9. Don't get cocky: Yes, you're a badass. We all are, to varying degrees. But just because you know how to jump out of a plane with no parachute, assemble a squad automatic weapon before hitting the ground, run 10 miles, and take out a whole Taliban camp with a knife in your teeth and a freshly saved baby in your arms doesn't mean you won't get overcharged by your cab driver on the way to the airport. You still have stuff to learn.
Okay, you're ready. Go get 'em.
Paul Mooney served in the Marines from 2008 to 2012, including a deployment to Afghanistan. He is currently working as a writer and producer in New York, and you can read more of his wacky nonsense at BroCastNews.com.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.