Task & Purpose Kicks Off 2018 With Big Additions To Our Editorial Team

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Tom Ricks (left) and Jeff Schogol (right)
Courtesy photos

In 2014, we founded Task & Purpose on the belief that the military and veterans’ communities needed a publication that delivered news they care about, reported by people who have firsthand personal and professional experiences with conflict and its aftermath. This year, we’re reinforcing our commitment to community-driven investigative reporting, story-telling, and analysis of culture and current affairs by bringing on two seasoned journalists who embody our mission.


Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and bestselling author, will join Task & Purpose  as senior columnist, and Jeff Schogol comes aboard as senior Pentagon reporter. Additionally, James Clark, a general assignment reporter for T&P; since 2015, will shift his attention to policy as our dedicated veterans reporter based in Washington. These moves will help us expand our reporting on the people, policies, and politics that shape the lives of service members and veterans and their families.

On Jan. 16, we’ll launch The Long March With Tom Ricks, a daily column from Ricks and his contributors that will cover news and analysis of military policy, strategy, culture, and history. Ricks’ career as a military reporter has spanned four decades, including positions at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, working on Pulitzer-winning teams at both papers. He is the author of six books, including his recent bestseller, Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (May 2017). He also serves as a national security advisor for Washington think tank New America and a military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review. Ricks was previously a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, the home of his previous daily blog on military affairs, Best Defense.

In addition to Ricks’ role at Task & Purpose, as senior Pentagon reporter, Schogol will cover breaking news related to national defense and Department of Defense policy. A seasoned military journalist, Schogol comes to Task & Purpose from Marine Corps Times, where he reported on the Marines United nude-photo-sharing scandal, hazing at Parris Island, and crackdowns on toxic commanders. Throughout his 15-year career, Schogol has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti and worked at a variety of publications, including Air Force Times and Stars and Stripes. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Schogol will join Task & Purpose on Jan. 8.

In addition to adding new staff, Task & Purpose remains committed to being a platform for veterans, service members, and family members who have stories to tell. If you’d like to write for us, visit our Submissions page for details on sending us your ideas.

Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who led a Marine task force to Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said the Washington Post's recent reporting about the U.S. government's pattern of lies about the war over the last two decades is not "revelatory."

Mattis, who was interviewed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius on Friday, also said he does not believe the U.S. government made any efforts to hide the true situation in Afghanistan and he argued the war has not been in vain.

Here are 10 key quotes from Mattis regarding the Washington Post's reporting in the 'Afghanistan Papers.'

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Cmdr. Sean Shigeru Kido (Navy photo)

The Navy relieved a decorated explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer on Thursday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, the Navy announced on Friday.

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U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

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The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, June 17, 2017 (U.S. Navy photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."

The investigations, both public and private, are out, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report assessing the changes to training implemented since the collisions.

So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.

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Belgian nurse Augusta Chiwy, left, talks with author and military historian Martin King moments before receiving an award for valor from the U.S. Army, in Brussels, Dec. 12, 2011. (Associated Press/Yves Logghe)

Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.

Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.

During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.

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