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The U.S. has a problem. The civilian-military divide is now so large that many Americans are permanently stuck on one side or the other. Lots of civilians have absolutely no idea what happens in the military, nor do they really care. All they want is the chance to air out a stereotype, be it good or bad, hero or fool.
To many, we are characters in a movie or a video game. Serving your country is about as remote a concept as herding a flock of sheep. Yet these same folks waste hours thinking and talking about us. Everybody has to know what they think, apparently.
What makes this so strange is the frequency and regularity of their comments. Few other topics have this sort of hold on people’s imaginations. It fulfills some weird need for this group. It’s a dirty habit they can’t control, defined by two things: total ignorance of the military, and an urge to passionately share their opinions.
These characters are Military Masturbators (MMs); and they are stimulated, aroused even, by talking about the military. It’s weird because they don’t get this way about the economy, education, or other issues that are much closer to their day-to-day lives.
MMs can’t resist giving other people their thoughts about war, guns, post-traumatic stress (disorder), veterans, and anything else you can think of. Pick your favorite military topic and they'll have something passionate to say about it, either positive or negative. MMs don’t know how to say, “I’m not familiar with that topic.”
It starts with the way they think about military personnel. To MMs, we are trained/manipulated to do awe-inspiring things such as jump on grenades, nail insurgents with iron sights from 500 meters, and medically evacuate an entire squad single-handedly.
All the boring parts of the military are forgotten; the parts that make up 99% of your life: standing duty, cleaning your barracks room like it's being prepped for surgery, and sitting around playing Playstation for hours while waiting for word.
This one-sided view confirms what MMs already believe about who we are, and why we behave the ways we do.
Some consider us dyed-in-the-wool heroes. However you are now, at one time you were an indestructible mix of Chuck Norris and The Rock. And you sounded like the guy who does voiceovers for action movie trailers. You ate MREs every day because they tasted good, and when you took a dump, it was shaped like Uncle Sam.
To others, we are broken souls. The war (it doesn't really matter which one) messed us all up. All that heroic stuff you did is now wrecking your life. You can't order a shake at McDonald's without a flashback. And the real tragedy is that you didn't have to go through all those traumatizing experiences. The recent wars were all avoidable because peace is the natural order of things.
You may be skeptical about the existence of Military Masturbaters, and I don’t blame you. Maybe you’ll agree after trying a little thought experiment. Think back to the most confusing/frustrating conversation you ever had with a civilian. What sort of questions were they asking you? Weren't they trying to lump you into one of two categories?
You're not alone, my brother or sister. MMs are all over the place. The confusing part, though, is why these folks ignore all evidence that contradicts their point of view.
It’s because they don't really care about you or the military, but can’t stop talking about it.
Remember that you're not even a real person to an MM. From their perspective, they can be as condescending or starry-eyed as they like. All that matters is they say “Thank you for your service” at the end of the conversation, and maybe donate a dollar to the Wounded Warrior Project the next time they check out at Safeway.
You can try to break the cycle, though. Unfortunately it requires the worst possible action on your part: Keep talking to them.
MMs will only be forced to confront their own raw stupidity when they get to know people who are undeniable authorities. The trick is that you can’t walk away or get angry. That will only confirm everything they already think. Instead take a deep breath, resist the temptation to put the person in choke hold, and continue the conversation. Try to understand their point of view.
When I say it’s not easy, I mean it. The last time I dealt with an MM, I got so mad that I stormed out of the room, leaving him (and his girlfriend, who happens to be my wife’s best friend) stuck inside my apartment complex.
And I considered that a victory. Baby steps.
If you have suggestions for your fellow vets, please leave a comment. Hopefully we can eliminate Military Masturbation during our lifetime.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.