DoD photo

On Monday, the Associated Press obtained a July 21 memo from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in which he chided the Pentagon for “cavalier” spending in Afghanistan. Specifically, he was angered that the Pentagon sunk $28 million over a decade into forest-print uniforms for Afghan soldiers — a camouflage pattern that makes little sense in the desertlike theater.

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Army photo

When World War II came to a close, the United States put up roughly $120 billion in today’s dollars to rebuild Europe under the vaunted Marshall Plan. That still-celebrated project not only restored much of the continent physically after the war’s ravages, it also launched an era of economic prosperity that modernized much of the developed West.

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U.S. Army photo, colorized by Jared Enos and shared under CC 2.0 license.

In the fall of 1917, draftees from around the country came together at Camp Greene, North Carolina to form the newly activated 4th Division. These men went on to fight in the trenches of France for the remainder of the First World War. At the time, they were fighting for their country and each other. What they did not know was that they were the founders of an organization whose lineage would span several more wars, and would continue to serve the country 100 years later.

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There are signs that today’s vets have greater problems reintegrating into society that in previous eras. Perhaps most consequentially, today’s vets suffer from higher unemployment than not only their civilian peers, but also vets of previous generations.

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Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Air Force has given out 71 Silver Stars for valorous actions. Two of those belong to Master Sgt. Thomas Case, one from Iraq in 2003 and the other from Afghanistan in 2009.

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U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian A. Barbour

When most people find out you’re a Black Hawk pilot, the first question you can anticipate is, “Have you seen Black Hawk Down?” Yep, read the books, too. I crack up when I see Jeremy Piven slamming levers around like he’s closing a truck trailer. It’s telling that the thing most people relate to this helicopter dates from the first half of the 90’s.

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