Posts

Benjamin Abel and Eric Ellingson, his brother-in-law, prior to a parachute jump at Raeford West Drop Zone in North Carolina, in 1998. Photo courtesy of the author.

“You Either Went to War or You Didn’t”—How Deployments Divide the Veteran Community

A former soldier reflects on the differences between veterans who deployed to combat and those who didn’t. “Taps will rip out your heart every time.”

Sgt. Josh Wilkinson, a military police soldier with the 29th Military Police Company, Maryland Army National Guard, conducts a simulated shoplifting search during a Joint Multinational Readiness Center exercise rotation in Hohenfels, Germany, on Nov. 2. The soldiers are preparing to deploy to Kosovo. Photo by Sgt. Zachary M. Zippe, courtesy of the U.S. Army National Guard.

“Everybody We Deal With Is Trained to Kill”—Why Don’t We See Widespread Police Brutality in the Military?

Police brutality on military bases is rare but reports show that veterans are 2.9 times more likely to fire their weapons than civilian law enforcement.

Two voters in Kirkuk in Iraq’s first election of a democratic government since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 display their ink-stained fingers in 2005. Photo courtesy of the Defense Department.

“I Still Find Hope”—Purple Fingers, Steel Rain, and Getting “Messy” in a Combat Zone

Service members have voted by mail since World War II. “My nation trusted me,” writes Joshua Manning, who cast ballots while deployed to several countries.

“I Hope She’s Scarred for Life” — Recalling My Time as a Blackwater Mercenary

Blackwater employees were “integral” to rebuilding Iraq, but with limited oversight, contractors had “no ethical obligation” to the country’s citizens.

Hunter Lu, back toward camera, shares a toast with his mother, father, and grandfather. Photo courtesy of the author.

An Army Interrogator, His Grandfather, and a Bond Across Two Wars 

“My parents, like most Chinese immigrants, valued education as the ultimate achievement,” writes veteran Hunter Lu. “The military was for dumb people.”

Brandon Alt, right, was one of at least six Marines and Navy corpsmen who deployed from Camp Pendleton, California, to Afghanistan in 2010 who later developed seizures or seizure-like episodes. Photo courtesy of Brandon Alt.

Mystery Seizures Haunt Marine Units a Decade after Deployment

Seizures among veterans are surging. Some blame PTS and TBI. Others blame toxic exposures.

An Iraqi man out on patrol with U.S. soldiers takes a break beneath a bridge. Photo by Nathan S. Webster.

A Journalist’s Favorite Image Mirrors a  Loss

A journalist learns of death that paralleled the moment he took his favorite picture.

The Lore of Uncle Wally Leads a Family From Bagram to Meuse-Argonne

Uncle Wally’s service was lore. And the monument—erected in France—loomed in her imagination. A military spouse traces her family’s generations at war.

The Army Medic in the Hole

“I can’t believe this is how I’m going to die,” thought an Army medic after falling down a well. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. No one is going to rescue us.”