The Caliphate Strikes Back: Star Wars and the Islamic State

As one famous general once said, “Every military scenario is best explained using a Star Wars metaphor.” Okay, so maybe no general ever said it, but rest assured, if by some miracle I am ever given a star, it will be the first thing out of my mouth. In Episode IV, “A New Hope,” the …

What if We Had a War and No One Knew?

This post first appeared on the blog Point of Decision.  As I write this, the U.S. military is involved in armed and lethal operations in Iraq and Syria. While not officially a war, it is the most significant and — I hate to use the word — kinetic operation the military is involved in. Why then, as a member …

Drunken Disaster at Harper’s Ferry

On the morning of September 15, 1862, the fate of the Civil War was held in the hands of Union Brigadier General Dixon S. Miles. Those hands were probably shaking slightly that morning, although not from fear, but from the delirium tremens. You see, Miles was a drunk.  A graduate of West Point, Miles had not done his …

Remembering Pain: 9/11 and Collective Memory

Edited September 11, 2016. We were fifteen. The colors in the trees reflected summer, not autumn, although the air held a fall crispness. We were at home, which for us who were homeschooled, meant we were at school. We wanted the work to be done so that we could run off to read, or play computer …

History: The Overlooked Military Discipline

This article first appeared on Point of Decision, August 24, 2015. There are several governing metrics for unit commanders in the Army: physical fitness, marksmanship, and military education. Each Soldier is required to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, qualify on their assigned weapon, and be trained and proficient in their military occupational specialty. These are the basic …

Remembering the Civil War: Or Forgetting It

April 9th marked the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant’s combined Army of the Potomac and Army of the James.  This is fact that we can all agree on regarding the events at Appomattox Court House.  And that’s about it.  Southerners believe that Appomattox should …

Memory as an Engagement Area, and what memory tells us about ourselves

Last week on the Twittersphere, a discussion began on the impact of sensory perception on memory.  It was started with this tweet: https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564959464034668544 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564960295001804800 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564962272624525312 You can see the tweet he was referring to, and the subsequent discussion, by clicking on the link, but in short, it was a photo of a dead Taliban commander …

The Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful for the Army

“Show me a soldier who’s not bitching and I’ll show you a soldier that is a liar,” said someone, once, maybe. Regardless of the truth of this statement, any commander knows that when soldiers stop complaining then things are getting dangerous. Complaining, bitching, kvetching, whatever you want to call it, it is a staple of …

We know Old Soldiers just fade away, but where do Young Soldiers Go?

When I sat down to write this post, I had planned to say a few things about current veterans’ organizations and ask where the new generation of veterans fits in. However, in doing my research on past veterans organizations, I found that veterans issues have been rife with problems since the very founding of our …

Location, Location, Location: How shared locations bond two generations of U.S. military veterans

When I was a shiny new soldier, fresh out of Army basic and advanced training, I was placed in the rear detachment of a unit that was forward deployed.  There were a few other brand new soldiers in the detachment, but quite of few of the soldiers were coming off of Active Duty into the …