This was what I learned working as a security guard at the airport in St. Louis. I’d picked up the job while working on my MBA after I got out of the Marine Corps. The pay wasn’t much, but it was more than the unpaid internships the school’s facility and staff kept touting to us.
On the shuttle bus, driving us to the beginning of a frigid December graveyard shift; I peered over a dog-eared copy of The Economist I hoped to keep me awake for the next eight hours and spotted a fellow guard reading a library copy of Our Mutual Friend. We exchanged a knowing glance. “One of his deep cuts,” I said. “Yeah, I’m almost through Dickens.”
Mr. Pittman was a former Army medic. He lived with his grandmother in North City, the neighborhood that would later make news around the world with the riots in Ferguson. While he had a bachelor’s degree, he was trying to get by in the recession as a security guard. I suspected this wasn’t his only job.
We’d share posts on occasion, passing the time talking about books or swapping stories about our time in the military. He always called me “Mr. Collins” and I called him “Mr. Pittman,” with exaggerated English civility. The job wasn’t difficult, but the people sometimes were. We’d give directions, search cars or ask people to move their vehicles.
We were unfailingly courteous, but people don’t always like to be told what to do. I didn’t have many problems, but Pittman did.
Every shift together, I’d watch the same people who treated me with, if not respect, at least tolerance; get irritated by my friend. Eyes would roll. Women would sigh. People muttered under their breath. We never talked about it, but we both knew why.
One night, I watched him politely ask an older woman to move her illegally parked Cadillac. She grumbled, offended by his enforcing the rules posted on the sign twenty feet in front of her. I heard exactly what she told him. As she drove away, he made the only comment about race we ever exchanged in the six months I worked there.
“You know, nobody in a Buick ever called me ‘n--ger.’”
Matt Collins is a former Marine Intelligence Officer who now works for a leading defense technology firm in Washington DC. He hopes Mr. Pittman has found a better job. Opinions expressed are his own.
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
Jeremy Cuellar, left, and Kemia Hassel face life in prison if convicted of murdering Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III in Berrien County Dec. 31, 2018. (Courtesy of Berrien County Sheriff's Dept.)
BERRIEN COUNTY, MI -- The wife of an Army sergeant killed in December admitted that she planned his killing together with another man, communicating on Snapchat in an attempt to hide their communications, according to statements she made to police.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.