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What Comes After Military Service: Finding Meaning In The Mundane
Here is the second entry in our contest about finding meaningful work after the military.
I think there is a lot of wisdom in this one. A psychiatrist I know who specializes in combat trauma says that after you have looked upon life and death, you have walked among the divine, and to come back to appreciating normal life can be difficult.
If you care to send an entry, just go to The Long March homepage and use the e-mail button on the upper left, next to the postage stamp photograph of me! —Tom
Fletcher Schoen writes: "I just recently celebrated my one year anniversary of getting out and I have been reflecting on life’s meaning after the military. The Army was the central aspect of my life for six years and it has taken some adjustment, but I have found meaning in a steady string of successes.
I got into grad school, started getting my writing published again, got married, went on a honeymoon, have succeeded test-to-test and semester-to-semester in school so far, and had a successful job hunt. Driving on and attacking challenges was the essence of my time in the military and even a simulacrum of that in the civilian world makes me happy. If that isn’t enough you can find me running my ass off or moving weight in the gym.
Family has also given me meaning in life beyond the intense comradeship of the military. I am lucky in that my parents and maternal grandparents live nearby and I see them often. They are everything from confidants to life coaches.
My grandfather, a Vietnam Vet, Army Ranger, and published poet, is a steady example of what a successful transition looks like.
Finally and most important to me are the quiet mornings and evenings I have with my wife who stuck by me as my girlfriend and fiancé through six years of moving around, professional ups and downs, and war. There is a profoundness even in the mundane details of our life together because they were denied to us for so long.
We build rituals, protect our date nights, and ham it up for holidays. As a vet I have been shocked by how craven, weak, and petty people are (but I found that in the military as well) and I have rued that my most terrible and exciting days are in the past.
However I have come to know over the past year that if you center yourself in a strong support network, commit to reinforcing all those relationships that were frayed when you were gone, and always pursue goals you will find meaning that transcends your warrior self-image and makes it a part of you and not your entire wellspring of meaning."
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.