Millennial Veterans: Better, Faster, Stronger

Marines with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, participate in Exercise Desert Scimitar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 10, 2014. The division tests and refines its capabilities by acting as the headquarters element of I Marine Expeditionary Force throughout a variety of scenarios and live-fire ranges. Large-scale exercises like Desert Scimitar leave 1st Marine Division poised to respond to different crises across the world.
Photograph by Sgt. Timothy Lenzo

Of the 13 enlisted Marines I served directly alongside seven years ago at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, all of us are either working in the private sector or have remained in the service. One of us made it to Yale and wrote a book. One is a human rights lawyer working international justice cases in Kenya. Several of us are business owners. Most of us are college grads. A few own homes.

With our military service behind us, we’ve closed ranks and started doing amazing things. While this may sound exceptional to some, we are not unique.

Yet we, the overwhelmingly successful majority of America’s millennial veterans, are an untold story.

See, home ownership doesn’t make headlines. Homelessness does. Business ownership doesn’t fly off the presses. Unemployment does. Self-efficacy isn’t nearly as sexy as the plaintive cries of the handful of malingering scumbags demanding every lush benefit in the book. The hundreds of thousands of veterans living quiet family lives don’t have nearly the twisted glamour of the few who choose violence each year.

The bulk of millennial veterans are neither heroes nor victims. We’re simply men and women who, in the words of American poet Robert Service, “heard the challenge, learned the lesson, paid the cost.” We now apply a greater depth of self-knowledge, work ethic and situational awareness to everything we do, and as a result, we do pretty freaking well. Let me unpack our awesomeness.

Millennial veterans are overwhelmingly civic minded.

Nearly all of us say we intend to continue to serve once we leave the military. Look no further than veteran disaster relief organization Team Rubicon to see this intention in action. During the past few years, this relatively new organization has saved American communities millions of dollars in disaster recovery costs. That’s the good news. The better news is that we’re just getting started.

Most of us are employed.

The unemployment rate for veterans is much better than that of the civilian workforce. We’re supremely hirable, loyal and hardworking. We get team dynamics. We know how to show up on time, and our judgment is tends to be finely honed. Which leads me to my next point…

We also make great business owners.

Veterans are 42 times more likely to become business owners as they are to become homeless. Once we decide to launch a business, we’re also twice as likely as our civilian counterparts to succeed. We understand how to plan, how to lead and how to accomplish the mission. Looking for your next investment? Seek out a vetrepreneur.

We’re networking machines.

Some of my best friends and most valued mentors are veterans. Encouragement, support, advice, and high morale flow like class six rapids through the canyon of veteran goodwill. We’ve organized ourselves into formal associations and powerful informal referral and mentoring networks. We’re constantly on the lookout for new business opportunities for each other. #awesome

If we have invisible wounds, we seek help.

More veterans than ever before are reporting post-traumatic stress. This is a good thing. Combat is stressful. Rape is stressful. The loss of your buddies is stressful. Once we’re aware that we can’t muscle through trauma alone, we start to get help through Veterans Affairs, private psychologists, religious counselors, and social communities.

But we’re not satisfied with “treatment.” We want more. When retired Marine Gen. James Mattis recently suggested that trauma could be used as a starting point for growth to a stronger, healthier place, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Themes of meaning, continued purpose, and hope resonate strongly with millennial veterans.

Hello, America. We’ve been here all along.

Lydia Davey is an entrepreneur and U.S. Marine Veteran. She is the founder of Moriah Creatives Public Relations.


The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.

Read More Show Less

Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.

Read More Show Less

After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.

The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.

But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.

Read More Show Less
This photo taken on Oct. 7, 2018, shows a billboard that reads "The State Central Navy Testing Range" near residential buildings in the village of Nyonoksa, northwestern Russia. The Aug. 8, 2019, explosion of a rocket engine at the Russian navy's testing range just outside Nyonoksa led to a brief spike in radiation levels and raised new questions about prospective Russian weapons. (AP Photo/Sergei Yakovlev)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Three U.S. diplomats have been removed from a train and briefly questioned by Russian authorities in the sensitive Arctic shipyard city of Severodvinsk, near the site of a mysterious explosion in August that killed five nuclear workers.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported on October 16 that the diplomats were taken off the train that runs between Severodvinsk and Nyonoksa around 6 p.m. on October 14.

Read More Show Less

The U.S. Coast Guard had ordered the owner of an illegal 45-foot charter boat, named "Sea You Twerk," to stop operating.

He didn't, the Coast Guard said.

Now, Dallas Lad, 38, will serve 30 days in federal prison, a judge ruled Friday. When he is released, Ladd of Miami Beach, who pleaded guilty, will not be able to own or go on a boat for three years.

Read More Show Less