Topic: Reflections

“Come on, You Sons of Bitches, Do You Want to Live Forever?”– A Hero Rises Among Heroes

In a room full of Medal of Honor recipients, Dan Daly provides inspiration.
Ensign Cierra Swiney, from Georgia, assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, uses a sound-powered telephone in the starboard bridge wing. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary D. Behrend, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

No Shortage of Bad Leaders: Sailor Recalls Hostile Captain Who Set a Toxic Tone

There's nothing wrong with a captain giving officers a good chewing out. But it was hard to respect a leader who saw only the worst in others.

“How Would We Know When It Was Over?”–Perspective Is Power in Forever Wars

Since leaving the military, I’ve searched my soul for answers. Did I spend three years of my life fighting a lost cause?
Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, take five on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in northern Laos, in February 1969, as part of Operation Dewey Canyon. Photo courtesy of the author.

Baptism by Fire: Becoming a Marine in Practice as Well as by Name

In that instant, for the first time, I truly felt like a member of the Marine air/ground team.
Kacy Tellesen and Kyle Huth on a sweep-and-clear mission in Haqlaniyah, Iraq. Photo courtesy of the author.

Now When I Think About Valentine’s Day, I Think About Grenades

Unlike the movies, the scene doesn’t cut away after a tragedy. You can’t flash forward to a better time.
Members of the 82nd Airborne head into Iraq on Feb. 24, 1991. Photo courtesy of the author.

Stolen Valor Is So Grubby—Stolen for What? To Impress Who?

Why would he need to claim even my tiny war? That insignificant skirmish? He’d already claimed a Purple Heart—did he need Grenada? Panama?

Operation Straggler: Their War May Have Ended, but They Weren’t Prepared for Surrender

We were going to drive them out of their hiding places, round them up, and ship them back to their families. At least that was the plan.
Morgan Lerette stands in front of a mural of Saddam Hussein during the ground offensive in 2003.

Falling out of love with war: It could never live up to my expectations.

Both of us wanted to be together, war and I, but ultimately realized the relationship was unsalvageable as we clung to it hoping things would change.

A Marine’s Dilemma: Who Bears Responsibility for War?

I never fought in combat and never killed. And if I am honest with myself, I am a little bit ashamed of that.