Topic: Combat

“Hellraisers,” Tinder Dates, and the Curse of the White Cloud

All he wanted was to see combat. Fortunately, he missed out.
Roy and Andrew van Wey in Husaybah, Iraq. Photo courtesy of the author.

“They Didn’t Make It?”—When Your Brother’s Homecoming Starts in a Burn Ward

After an IED exploded in Iraq, a badly burned Marine asks his brother if his teammates survived. “He knows I won’t lie to him. We are both warriors.”
Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Clanin and a platoon sergeant with Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, lead their soldiers on a patrol through the Jamila neighborhood of Sadr City in 2008. Photo by Sgt. Michael Pryor, courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Hellfires and “Half-Smashed Bugs” in Sadr City

As a platoon searched for bombs, the enemy tried to attack them. It didn’t end well.
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.

How Being “In on the [Racist] Joke” Silences Service Members

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

Finding Peace in Lederhosen

A jaded Gulf War veteran needed a break, and found it in a small Bavarian town. A reflection by Dave Boe
Naylon on an operation in a village outside of Bagram, Afghanistan, 2014. Photo credit: Spc. Jamill Ford for U.S. Army

Leaders Are Forged as a Rocket Falls

In a time of crisis, initiative trumps authority when authority fails to lead.
Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron equipment manager, throws trash into a burn pit at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, courtesy U.S. Air Force.

“It’s so inaccurate”—How the VA Is Failing to Track Veterans Burn Pit Claims

VA figures show an astonishingly low rate of approval of burn pit claims: Of the 10,588 claims, 2,360 veterans had their benefits granted and 8,228 were denied.
The body of Ernie Pyle was laid to final rest in the new Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Oahu July 19, 1949
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Charles Dane adds weight to the bar during a 2018 Defense Department Warrior Games powerlifting practice at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dane was medically retired from the military after a 19-year career. Photo by Cpl. Juan Madrigal, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Your Kidneys Are Failing and Your Doctor Has Just Deployed. Now What?

An overhaul of the Army, Air Force, and Navy’s medical services doesn’t appear to be going to plan, with 10 kidney transplant recipients left in the lurch.