Guest Post: LARPing for Leader Development

By Mike Denny You don’t have to be a Level 20 dungeon master to enjoy dressing up on Halloween and getting into character. For non-nerds, LARPing is Live Action Role Playing, which typically describes people getting into character to create fantasyland environments (e.g. Lord of the Rings), but it can encompass the whole realm of … Continue reading Guest Post: LARPing for Leader Development

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Taking Care of Soldiers: What Does that Mean?

Cover photo: Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general speaks with a Soldier currently training on the Gulkana Glacier near Black Rapids, Alaska, March 10, 2015. (Sean Callahan/US Army) Taking care of Soldiers. That’s a favorite catch-phrase used by leaders, usually of the sergeants major variety, to describe any number of things: extra duty, … Continue reading Taking Care of Soldiers: What Does that Mean?

Battle Staff Made Human

  Everything we do in the Army seems somehow dehumanizing. We remove individual identity at basic training, in order to meld individuals into a cohesive group. Individuals are referred to by their rank or just their last name. Our entire careers can be summed up on one or two sheets of paper (usually incorrectly). While … Continue reading Battle Staff Made Human

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

All Things Old are New Again The U.S. Army and the Changing Operating Environment

This post first appeared on the blog Point of Decision. It is no secret that the U.S. Army is in a time of change and disruption. It is desperately seeking to emerge from an era unprecedented in Army history: fourteen uninterrupted years of direct conflict in a counter-insurgency (COIN) environment in two theaters, with mobilizations … Continue reading All Things Old are New Again The U.S. Army and the Changing Operating Environment

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 … Continue reading Drunken Disaster at Harper’s Ferry

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

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 … Continue reading The Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful for the Army

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

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