Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP, file

It's party time! Maybe you've just gotten promoted or have a bachelor or bachelorette party to attend. Perhaps your eccentric great uncle died and left you a small fortune and his haunted manor. Or you just got back from a deployment with a fat wad of hazard pay burning a hole through your pockets.

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U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Carl Clegg

Early November is a magical time of year. The Halloween decorations are finally starting to be put away and cardboard cutouts of turkeys in Pilgrim hats are taking their place. People begin to stop enjoying the number of unseasonably warm days and start worrying about how hard winter's going to hit when it finally does. News networks start endlessly airing stories about the horrors of Black Friday even though nobody actually buys stuff in physical stores anymore because it's 2015. Folks in places like California and Florida experience no changes in weather or lifestyle whatsoever, but to hell with them.

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Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers

Many moons ago, I dispensed some key pieces of advice on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Most of them were aimed at my fellow veterans, but all were definitely sound suggestions to anyone who still serves, has served, or any zombie-wary and well-prepared civilians.

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Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret

We've all had that moment. Maybe sitting at dinner with a well-meaning family member, maybe with an over-eager gal or guy you were chatting up at a bar one night, or perhaps just a friendly weirdo who recognized an embarrassing shirt or service tattoo on the subway one day. Whatever the circumstances, there isn't a single veteran I've ever met who hasn't, at least once, been asked the eternal question of the civilian acquaintance: "So, did you ever kill anyone?"

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Photo by Lance Cpl. Erica Kirsop

It's probably fair to say that anyone reading this has a fair share of both civilian and military acquaintances. Friends even, if you don't happen to be overly unlikable or unhygienic. And, while veterans and civilians are equally swell types of chums to have, there are more than a few differences between them. The way you interact, relate, and occasionally frolic with your battle buddies will not always be the same as with your friends who never bore the responsibilities and bad haircuts of military service.

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