Topic: Reflections

Infil: Where Two-Dimensional PowerPoints and Rock Talk Meet “Visceral Lethality”

“Reality sank in as we donned our combat gear in the ready room,” writes a former Army infantry officer. “In combat, do you ever really have control?”
An Afghan National Army commando with the 6th Special Operations Kandak guards a rooftop during morning operations in Tagab District, Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, in February 2013. Photo by Pfc. James K. McCann, courtesy of U.S. Army.

“Why Are You Leaving Now?”—a Rookie Afghan Policeman, a Combat Veteran, and a Shared Loss of Naivety

“The look of fear on the faces of these local policemen as we left our position is something I will never forget,” writes an Army veteran of Afghanistan.
Lee Herron, left, and David Nelson are commissioned as second lieutenants on June 7, 1967, after graduating from Texas Tech University. Photo courtesy of the author.

A Veteran’s 30-Year Journey to Learn About a Friend Killed During the Vietnam War

For decades, he searched for information about a friend killed during in Vietnam, a journey that ended visiting the gravesite with the Marine’s mother.
Portrait of a woman Triptych, by Artist Steve Albert

A Calling Through Art, Decades After Choosing Not to Serve

“My name should be on that wall.” A civilian reflects on choosing not to join the military during the Vietnam War and his journey to create art about war.

“The Distance Between You Grows”—the Many Difficult Truths of Military Family Homecomings

Back-to-back deployments and explosions were “a recipe for disaster,” writes a military spouse. “For my family, reintegration lasted years.”

Care Packages a Powerful Symbol of the Military-Civilian Divide

Many care packages included notes calling troops “heroes,” and gratitude for “protecting America’s freedom.” These, to many of us, rang hollow.

Afghan Peace Process Puts Life in Limbo for Generations of U.S. Allies, Former U.S. Interpreters

“My scarred body represents just a small sacrifice for our country, a country we have built without the Taliban,” said the father of a U.S. interpreter.
Soldiers, including the author (far right back row), from the 17th Signal Battalion pose in MOPP gear during the ground war.

Chemicals. Chemicals. And More Chemicals. A Veteran Reflects on Her Time in Desert Storm

For decades, the U.S. has poisoned service members with toxic chemicals. Lotions. Pills. Testing. Burn pits. And then there’s the enemy’s chemical weapons.

Becoming a Veteran After Choosing to Forget My Military Service at Fort Hood

As a woman, I never knew if a soldier was approaching me to correct a crooked beret or to ask for my number,” writes an Army veteran of Fort Hood.