Norman Rockwell

1. Stay in touch with some of the people you were there with. No one is going to listen or care as much as they do about that part of your life and probably no one will ever understand it as much as they do, so don't lose touch and check on each other.

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T&P photo illustration/Aaron Provost

Spring is here, along with plans for road trips and getaways on those few precious three and four-day weekends that come with federal holidays. As everyone else funnels off base or packs before an early morning departure, you can’t help but think: Bye, suckers.

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Unless you are married or came in as a Staff Sgt, you will probably spend a fair chunk of your time living in the dorms. Oh, did I say “dorms”? Apologies, I was in the Air Force, so for the sake of preserving the comment section, I’m referring to the large filing cabinet-like buildings full of enlisted personnel as barracks.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob

Whatever prejudices you hold about officers vs. enlistees — or ground-pounding grunts vs. managerial fobbits, flyboys, and squids — you’re probably about to cling to them a little tighter.

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Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Before Jimi Hendrix was a living icon, knocking out psychedelic guitar riffs and counterculture ballads that remained relevant after his untimely death on Sept. 18, 1970 — 47 years ago — he was a soldier in the U.S. Army. The man who once set his left-handed Stratocaster ablaze after playing it with his teeth wore olive-drab fatigues and a military cover before swapping them in for tie-dye shirts and headbands. But the way he left the service was as epic as any of his guitar licks.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Martin Egnash

Patriotism can be a hard thing to measure. However, most would agree that signing on the dotted line and taking an oath to defend your nation, especially during our longest period of sustained conflict, is a decent marker of love of country. That’s the conclusion the researchers over at WalletHub came to in a June 27 report, “2017’s Most Patriotic States in America.”

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