Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Not All Veterans Are Created Equal. You Have To Earn Your 'V'
Not all veterans are equal. There are veterans, and then there are Veterans. The difference has nothing to do with what we did in the military. The capital “V” is earned after leaving the service.
Take Sarah Wilson. She’s a Veteran — a Huey crew chief who protected her fellow Marines with her door gun during the invasion of Iraq—but you’d never guess it passing her in the aisle at Safeway.
Follow her on social media and you’ll never see posts expressing how many “zero f*cks” she gives about celebrity news, berating NFL players for exercising their rights, or simple-minded memes that belittle others.
She’s too busy being awesome.
Raising two children to be solid humans wasn’t enough, so she and her husband (also a Veteran) adopted a young boy from Ethiopia and hosted a Rwandan exchange student. Still not enough, Sarah volunteered at a local refugee resettlement center, built and operated a working farm, helped middle schoolers with severe behavioral issues, coached cross country, joined the VFW, and started her family’s business: UbuntuBlessings.com. You can bet that she votes—and takes that responsibility seriously.
Bravely engaging enemy troops from a loud and exposed position did not earn her a “V.” Being the cornerstone of her family and community did.
So what’s the point? It’s that we should expect more from ourselves and our peers than just being “veterans.” We need to earn our “V.”
How? Simple. Improve the lives of those around you. Big or small, the scale of your influence doesn’t matter.
What’s important is that you take the time to reflect on your experiences in the military and extract some hard-earned wisdom from it. Perhaps more than ever, America needs this wisdom from her Veterans.
But it doesn’t come with your discharge papers. You have to consciously seek wisdom, apply it to your own life, and then look for ways to share it. Skip any of those steps and you’re sharing “v” status with the guy huffing glue behind 7-11 who got admin-sep’d for cocaine because it was easier than a court-martial.
Yup. As far as most Americans are concerned, we’re the same as glue-boy. We all have DD-214’s. We’re veterans. Don’t like that? Then don’t be defined by your past.
This Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on which “v” you rate. If you don’t like the answer, strive to be like Sarah. Start with yourself, your family, friends, and neighbors. Become the person they turn to when they need advice, when disaster strikes, or simply want to talk. Learn about issues facing our country instead of parroting someone else’s agenda. Become well grounded so when the winds of change disrupt the lives of those closest to you, you can help.
If you already have your “V,” thank you. Now, please help other veterans find theirs.
America will never ask us to become Veterans. She shouldn’t have to.
Dan Sheehan is a Marine veteran striving to earn his “V.” His non-fiction books examine the human costs of war on those who fight and guide veterans through the challenges of coming home. He lives in southern California and is hard at work on his first novel. www.dansheehanauthor.com
Actor Mark Wahlberg will be visiting troops overseas to plug Wahlburgers, a fast-casual restaurant chain owned by the actor and his two brothers, Donnie Wahlberg, and chef Paul Wahlberg.
US troops will not burn and pillage like Genghis Khan's hordes as a result of Trump intervening in war crimes cases, Milley says
The U.S. military will not disintegrate into an undisciplined horde following President Donald Trump's recent intervention in three war crimes cases, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley assured lawmakers on Wednesday.
Milley was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee when he was pressed by Iraq war veteran Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) about the president's actions in the cases of former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, retired Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, and retired Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher.
Taliban fighters attempted to fight their way into Bagram Airfield on Wednesday by invading a medical facility just outside of the base's perimeter, a spokesman for Operation Resolute Support said Wednesday.
J.P. Lawrence of Stars and Stripes and Jim LaPorta of Newsweek first reported that the battle lasted for several hours after using car bombs to attack the hospital, which is near the base's northern corner. Helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft were reportedly used to drop ordnance on the hospital.
An armed suspect was taken into custody at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi on Wednesday morning after a brief lockdown period, according to the Texas base's Facebook account.
Though the exact nature of the incident is unclear, base officials wrote that no shots were fired and no injuries were reported.
The new defense bill would create a public database for every complaint made about privatized housing
Among the dozens of requirements outlined in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act is the requirement for the Secretary of Defense to create a public database for privatized housing complaints.
So, that will be... a lot.