One Path To Meaning After The Military: Find A New Way To Serve

The Long March
U.S. Marines assigned to Georgian Liaison Team 9 and Georgian soldiers assigned to the 33rd Light Infantry Battalion board a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 264 during Operation Northern Lion II July 3, 2013, in Helmand province, Afghanistan
U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Alejandro Pena

Here’s the seventh entry in our contest about how to find meaningful work after leaving the military.

Scott Cooper, director of national security outreach for Human Rights First, writes:I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, retiring in 2013. I failed miserably – hoping to avoid working for a defense contractor, but instead to find meaningful work.

It took me a year and a half, eventually making my way to Human Rights First, where I get to work at the intersection of national security and human rights. It’s an interesting and fulfilling place to be – and I describe my own role as being a bit of ‘connective tissue’ between two communities that share many of the same values, but which rarely interact.

Much of the work of Human Rights First is in the area of refugees. There’s a large cohort of lawyers with whom I work (we have offices in DC, NY, Houston, and Los Angeles), who provide pro bono representation to refugees and asylum seekers.

And from this work, we started Veterans for American Ideals.  We’re a movement that is grass-roots, community-based group of veterans aiming to leverage military veteran voices to bridge divides and regain that shared sense of national community. We've grown to nearly 5,000 military veterans around the country.

I’m convinced that within this increasingly divisive political climate, veterans can be an important civilizing, unifying force. Our work is to amplify veterans’ experiences, leadership abilities, and credibility to combat the erosion of our democratic norms and to challenge the rise of xenophobic, fear-based rhetoric and policies that run counter to our ideals. We do this through nonpartisan advocacy, sharing our stories, engaging in community service and demonstrating the meaning and importance of active citizenship.

I’m truly lucky to get to work in this space. Because after all, your service shouldn’t stop when you take off the uniform.”

Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.

Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.

The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"

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he amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returns to homeport at Naval Base San Diego on February 25, 2015. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

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That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

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