Impenetrable Terrain – Isn’t

There's one of those old pithy military sayings that is so old that it has been attributed to everyone and no one: "Friendly fire - isn't." I'd like to paraphrase that regarding military terrain: "Impenetrable terrain - isn't." Terrain is one of those features of military history and analysis that I feel never gets its … Continue reading Impenetrable Terrain – Isn’t

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How do I Talk to my “Boots” About Politics? Retaking the American Narrative in the Marine Corps

This is a guest post from Peter Lucier. Peter Lucier is a Marine veteran (2008-2013) and student at Montana State University. He writes as a member of the Council of Former Enlisted for The Best Defense blog, and is the editor of the soon to be launched Return to Base (rtbmag.com) You can follow him … Continue reading How do I Talk to my “Boots” About Politics? Retaking the American Narrative in the Marine Corps

To my Cat, on the Occasion of his Parting

This wasn't supposed to be this hard to write. I'd thought about writing this weeks ago, and it all seemed to flow so well. That was before emotion got involved. See, emotion can be a blessing and a curse. It can tie your reader to your story and get them involved. But it can also … Continue reading To my Cat, on the Occasion of his Parting

How “Cups” is Actually About the U.S. War in Afghanistan

It seems just the other day that the song "Cups," as sung by Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect, was all over every radio station in the country. Now, it barely comes on over the waves. Not unlike another old forgotten favorite: the war in Afghanistan. Not only is it in the news less, it literally received no treatment … Continue reading How “Cups” is Actually About the U.S. War in Afghanistan

World War III: Stop Trying to Prevent It

There’s a moment on the television show “Scrubs” (the greatest thing to ever air on American television) when the young resident John Dorian (JD) becomes paralyzed by the fear of accidentally killing a patient by making a mistake. In this mindset, he veers away from making any risky decisions or undertaking any procedures that might … Continue reading World War III: Stop Trying to Prevent It

A Combat Badge Does Not a Soldier Make

Today's guest post comes from Tim Shea (@trshea88), a former U.S. Army Captain hailing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's now defunct 4th Stryker Brigade. In 2014, Tim traded the green pastures of Army life for the exhilarating, cutthroat world of economic development consulting. He maintains his sanity by writing here. To all the badge, tab, etc. lovers … Continue reading A Combat Badge Does Not a Soldier Make

How Forward Operating Bases Created the Illusion of War in Iraq and Afghanistan

There’s a common phrase among military members who have deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror: Fobbit. It is a play on the words “hobbit,” from J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy works, The Lord of the Rings, and the acronym for Forward Operating Base: FOB. Fobbit tends to also be synonymous … Continue reading How Forward Operating Bases Created the Illusion of War in Iraq and Afghanistan

Thoughts On Beauty

As I boarded my flight yesterday morning I realized that it was my first since my trip home from Afghanistan. As we took off, I looked at the New England countryside disappearing below me and I stared, captivated, at the glorious panorama that is America. It was similar to the way that I would stare out … Continue reading Thoughts On Beauty

Closure is Hard to Find

Two years ago, I was sitting in a conference room inside a dusty tent. HVAC systems and passing helos drowned out the voice of the briefer, but the map that was displayed was enough to get the point across: our footprint in Afghanistan was shrinking. And we were there to make it shrink more. Walking … Continue reading Closure is Hard to Find

If U.S. Wars were Arrested Development Characters

Let's be honest, we all watch far too much television. In the old days, when our ancestors had no electricity and far too many brain cells, they occupied their time by reading silly things like the Iliad and other such classics. Because of this, they were able to associate current events with Classical literature, forming … Continue reading If U.S. Wars were Arrested Development Characters