The Life Of The Lower Enlisted, In 5 Memes

Soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, Division Artillery, 1st Armored Division, utilize a weight gym in the field during Network Integration Exercise 15.2, May 15, 2015.
U.S. Army/Spc. Moniqua Woods

Every day, Task & Purpose community manager Aaron Provost keeps an eye on what the military and veterans community is talking about. This week, he offers a brief visual guide to the daily successes and failures of America’s fighting men and women in the style pioneered by the post-9/11 generation: dumb f*cking memes.

Welcome to the military. I will be your guide


Look, we all know life is tough for the junior ranks and life isn’t going to get any easier. Embrace your lot in life and just accept that this is who you are now, because every day will present new and exciting ways for the military fuck you over. You just have to accept that things are bad and getting worse and there’s no way of changing that.

Fake it ‘til you make it

Aaron Provost

But don’t let something as simple as not knowing what you’re doing get in the way of your confidence in how you’re doing it. Style over substance pays off in the military because if you look squared away, you are squared away — until that shit catches up with you, but that’s a problem future you can deal with.

Keep that shit to yourself, some of us are trying to sleep


There’s nothing worse for a command than a climate of motivation and fun, and they’re going to do whatever they can to stamp that shit out hard before it spreads to the rest of the unit. So when they kick your teeth in for being on top of your game and excited for the challenges the military offers you to grow, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Like an onion of dissent


At some point, the bitterness will take hold and you’ll find your lungs groaning before you even move to execute an order given to you. Even the simple act of getting into formation will force exasperated sighs from your taxed body and the strain of eye rolls behind that newly promoted sergeant’s back will fade over time. You’ll get it done, but they’re going to have to listen to all of the reasons it’s a waste of your time and talents that could be put to better use finger fucking an Xbox controller back in the barracks.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is spongy and bruised


A little liver Olympics with a side of self-loathing helps smooth out the worst of it, and sometimes you’ll run across friends that won’t want to take part as much as you. In time, they too will see the folly in giving a shit about things like PT tests and ‘being sober’. Until then, you’re well within your right to ridicule them until they are wading deep into the dependa watering holes you typically find yourself in on a Tuesday night.

But hey, it’s not all bad. You get free meals at the chow hall and your preowned ‘94 Mustang purrs like an asthmatic elephant. So, at least you got that going for you.


U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

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The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, June 17, 2017 (U.S. Navy photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."

The investigations, both public and private, are out, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report assessing the changes to training implemented since the collisions.

So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.

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Belgian nurse Augusta Chiwy, left, talks with author and military historian Martin King moments before receiving an award for valor from the U.S. Army, in Brussels, Dec. 12, 2011. (Associated Press/Yves Logghe)

Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.

Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.

During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.

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A Ukrainian serviceman watches from his position at the new line of contact in Zolote, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine Nov. 2, 2019 (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn't reached Ukraine.

The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump's Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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(Glow Images via Associated Press_

Average pay, housing and subsistence allowances will increase for members of the military in 2020, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

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