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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
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.