Iraq War Vet Derek Weida: ‘We’re Too Obsessed With This Number 22.’

Transition
Derek Weida
Screen grab from Facebook

Derek Weida, founder of Straight Legless Clothing, doesn’t speak for all veterans, but he does speak for a certain type. His audience is largely shared by a growing number of military-oriented companies, organizations, and blogs that celebrate, rather than lament, the experience of being a veteran in post-9/11 America. It’s an audience that could be described, bluntly and without risk of causing offense, as a bunch of unapologetic grunts.


And Weida, a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper whose right leg was amputated after being struck by an insurgent bullet in Baghdad in 2007, is the most unapologetic of grunts.

Over the past several years, Weida has garnered a massive following among service members, veterans, and civilians who’ve found inspiration in his ascent from suicidal wounded warrior to successful entrepreneur and fitness personality — a journey that’s been thoroughly documented in a series of online videos, and which has lent Weida tremendous credibility within the veteran space.

Weida’s latest video, posted on April 29 on his Facebook page, is accompanied by this tagline: “Stop with all the 22. Change the message. Go be great. Show the world.” Sporting a Black Rifle Coffee Company baseball cap and armed with a spit bottle, the heavily bearded Weida rails against what he views as a problematic approach to dealing with veteran suicide — namely, viral awareness-raising campaigns like the 22 Push Up Challenge.

“As a community, we’re too obsessed with this number 22,” he says. “We’re too obsessed with PTSD. We’re too obsessed with veteran suicide.” He then adds, “It’s just not helpful. It’s not helpful.”

Take a look.  

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

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

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less
Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Read More Show Less

QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.

Read More Show Less