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.

Marine Corps boot camp is renowned for turning young men and women from civilians into Marines. It is rightfully known as the most rigorous recruit training in the US military, but for some drill instructors, it just wasn't tough enough.

The Washington Post recently obtained documents detailing incidents wherein over 20 Marines have been disciplined for misconduct just at MCRD San Diego, one of two recruit depots, since 2017. That year is relevant, because Marine recruit training was supposed to be reset after the 2016 suicide death of Pvt. Raheel Siddiqui, who killed himself after being viciously hazed, which included racial and ethnic slurs and being put in an industrial clothes dryer.

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A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter looks as smoke billows after an airstrike hit territory still held by Islamic State militants in the desert outside Baghouz, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Associated Press/Felipe Dana)

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.

I grew up with the idea that Americans were the "good guys." I don't think that's unusual. That's how most Americans see themselves. America is, or at least was, continually pursuing a more perfect union. Our history is not unblemished, but even as Americans sometimes criticize their own country, there is generally an unspoken "We're better than that."

We see ourselves as upholding a higher standard. We aren't just some overgrown banana republic. We're a "shining city on a hill."

Lately, though, it seems that many see wearing a white hat as a liability; that having long-standing allies, acting with honor, and obeying international law are just holding the U.S. back from unleashing large quantities of whoop-ass upon those who deserve it.

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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.

After Europe spent itself fighting two world wars, America stepped in to fill the vacuum. The Soviet Union filled the bit that America couldn't. Having nuclear weapons and a large, if poor quality, conventional force gave it superpower status. After 50 years, though, the Soviet Union couldn't pay for all the trappings that superpower status demanded.

Now known as Russia, it's living in a trailer while drunk driving a 15 year old Cadillac Escalade around the neighborhood while yelling "I used to BE somebody!" out the window and rocking out to Motley Crue.

We are rapidly approaching a similar point. The United States is going further into debt each year. Even with a rapidly growing economy, the deficit has ballooned to over $1 trillion. When the business cycle eventually tanks, it will get even worse.

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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.

The commander of the US Navy Special Operations Command, Rear Admiral Collin Green, issued a letter to his subordinates last week telling them that there is a problem with discipline within the SEALs that must be addressed immediately. It's been obvious for awhile that there is something dysfunctional within special operations generally, and naval special warfare in particular.

Special operations forces are famously afforded latitude in certain regulations not given to conventional forces. Those are supposed to be for legitimate operational reasons, such as modified grooming and uniform standards for working with indigenous forces. They aren't supposed to be a reward for being "special."

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(Paramount Pictures)

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.

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick was everything an aviator or wannabe aviator could hope for. I'm a sucker for a good military action movie as much as the next guy, so of course I'll go see it. Even a longtime helicopter and tiltrotor pilot like me can appreciate that a Low Altitude Tactics (LAT) flight at 500 knots is pretty badass — and yes, even acknowledge that an F/A-18E Rhino might be almost as sexy as a V-22.

In 1986, Top Gun (or TOPGUN for purists) changed civilians' whole perception of the military in general, and the Navy and naval aviation in particular. Applications for Annapolis skyrocketed. So did enlistments, along with buyer's remorse when thousands of sailors realized the only need for speed they'd feel would be manning their brooms a little quicker during "sweepers."

Top Gun: Maverick will probably be a very entertaining movie. While the Navy definitely would have shit-canned Mav years ago, Xenu has come through for him big time. Tom Cruise will be at his Cruisiest. But while popcorn sales will be through the roof in 2020, recruitment numbers won't skyrocket like they did in 1986. In fact, I'd bet they won't even budge.

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A Soldier holds an American flag prior to the start of an oath of citizenship ceremony in the General George Patton Museum's Abrams Auditorium at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2018. (U.S. Army/ Eric Pilgrim)

Looking at many veterans' attitudes, especially online, you see a lot of complaining about the many failings of civilians. Most of those complaints come under the aegis of "slimy" or "nasty."

The best version of this is, "I worked so much harder than everyone else they fired me for making everyone else look bad."

Let's clarify. No one has ever been fired for doing too good of a job. You were fired for being an insufferable asshole to your coworkers, not because of your groundbreaking excellence in the world of pest control.

Sometimes it's civilians causing the "civil-military divide." But let's be honest, often, or even usually, it's veterans belittling civilians. You never hear a civilian saying,"I can't stand all these freaking nasty veterans around here!"

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