Here's the 18th entry in our contest about how and whether to find meaning post-military. We are seeing some patterns emerge? Yes or no?
Kristoffer Bachmann writes: “I think us Reserve Component types (guardsman myself) may have a different take on purpose outside/after service because most of our lives are spent outside Big Army (Navy/Air Force/Marines) apart from federal deployments.
I recently returned from my second go-around in Afghanistan (two-pump chump as some may say) and it has been a learning experience to witness some of my friends' transition from a period where they exerted significant influence (as advisors and in the CJOC) back to the 8 to 6 grind.
When we come off of a Title 10 deployment it’s a week, maybe two, at demob station and then right back into the civilian world, maybe-we’ll-see-you-in-two-months-at-Yellow-Ribbon-deuces. This can be difficult mentally and emotionally.
Luckily, most of us still have our jobs, but a not insignificant amount do not plenty of employers are smart enough to get around USERRA and the ESGR without technically committing a violation. Returning may be easier for us in some ways as we’re never fully institutionalized, always one foot in, one out.
But the most success that I’ve witnessed over the years is to find a passion. It doesn’t have to be your work but build on your veteran identity, don’t let it define you for life.
Get involved in local politics, soup kitchens, reading groups, model clubs, libraries, Scouts, Historical Societies, write something. Hell, just talk to people. I live in a large metropolis on the left coast and I’ve always found my fellow Americans interested in listening if I’m willing to talk.
To end on a recruiting pitch; if you miss the military, haven’t gotten too fat, and don’t mind shaving your veteran beard once a month, check out your local reserve unit. Chances are that they’re looking for good people still interested in service (you retired folks can check if your state runs a State Military Reserve).”
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."