The “Dirty Bastards” quick reaction force, made up of both American and Italian soldiers, poses at Forward Operating Base Lavaredo in Afghanistan in 2012. Photo courtesy of Nate Tilton.

In on the (Racist) Joke

Service members often feel compelled to laugh along at racist jokes and comments.

An air traffic controller uses binoculars to look for birds or other hazards that can damage aircraft. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Hudson

When the River Almost Took Me Under 

An investigation into an air traffic controller’s personal life in the era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell felt like a rippling current of judgement.

Ia Drang Valley Battle

A Long-Awaited Reunion

An older incarcerated veteran gets a visit from a former combat infantryman that he served with in Vietnam.

I Think About Bosnia

M. L. Doyle deployed to Bosnia, in 1997, two years into the NATO peacekeeping mission. Today, she reads about “widening ethnic cracks” and wonders when conflict ends.

How To Lose A War

Drew Pham saw his refugee parents in Afghan civilians. Compassion, he thought, was the answer. But a part of his soul hardened as he learned to love war.

Brother, Forgive Me

In Joe, Drew Pham found a supportive peer and guide. One careless act threatened their relationship, forcing Drew to really consider what Joe means to him.

Facing It

Drew Pham grieves for the family of the man he killed at war. His peers and commanders told him it was a good kill, but how can a kill be “good”?

The Repeal Changed Everything

Dan Misch spent nights on the Naval Academy bleachers crying and struggling to decide if he should leave or continue serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.