Military Families

Dispatches From the Third Front: Day 1–The Hero

In north San Antonio, just off of Interstate 35, a towering hospital building dominates Brooke Army Medical Center, one of two hospitals–along with the newly unified Walter Reed National Military Center–that treat some of the most grievously wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. BAMC, as the soldiers call it, is one of the …

Officer X: Behind the Mask

What a fascinating time to be a gay man in the U.S. military. This time last year, I was sure the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy was here to stay for the next 2 to 3 years.

These initial words from my first post on Battleland are as true today as they were when I first Photoshopped a hastily-taken picture from my iPad, …

Firsthand Experience of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

A repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy takes effect on Tuesday, officially allowing gay and lesbian troops to serve openly for the first time in U.S. history. In the 18 years under the policy, nearly 14,000 gay and lesbian service members were discharged. A new book, Our Time: Breaking the Silence of

Carpe September 20th

The clock is ticking. If you are reading this, it means the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is no more. As of right now, I no longer have to hide in a web of lies about the details of my personal life. Throughout my time in service under DADT, a week hasn’t gone by where I haven’t been reminded of the policy. It …

Michelle Obama’s Veterans’ Initiative: Meat or Just Sizzle?

First Lady Michelle Obama bounded energetically onto a stage set up last April at a Sears distribution facility in Columbus, Ohio. Shiny black and red lawn tractors stood stacked in storage crates up to the warehouse ceiling behind her, a backdrop intimating hearty manufacturing jobs and bucolic suburban lawns.

Two days earlier, …

All Systems Go!

Despite what Mark Thompson thinks, I am no flying monkey. Like most things in my life I am associating tomorrow’s impending lift of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to something pilot-related. Right now I’m running the starting-engines checklist and making sure my systems are all good before liftoff. The day after my debut flight in the …

Post-“Don’t Ask” Stress, v. 2.0

Recently I caught wind of an independent study being conducted by the University of Maryland Baltimore County about the effects of DADT on the mental health of those who have been directly affected by the policy. After contacting the man responsible for the project directly, I was able to learn a thing or two about this ground-breaking …

The Human Toll Taken by a Decade of War

Just how worn out are our troops because of non-stop combat since 9/11? To what degree has that contributed to problems like PTSD, family breakups and suicide in the ranks? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the tenacity of U.S. troops, as well as the cracks that can appear after a decade of fighting. Margaret Harrell, a

Play Ball!

That’s just what the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team does:

It has been a difficult path to the ballpark for many of the players. After life-altering injuries, they had to rebuild. They were forced to heal with the help of rehabilitation and prosthetics, learned to accept their new physiques, and relearn how to do many of the

Writing the Book on Military Mental Health

The literature of war can be literature — think Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage (Civil War), Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (World War I), or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. And sometimes it’s less lit and more textbook. That’s surely the case with the …

The Pentagon’s Shiny New Death Trap

Some government anti-terrorism officials worry that the shiny new Defense Department office complex just south of the Pentagon, the Mark Center, is a death trap. The massive, two-tower center is the new home for 6,400 employees of the Washington Headquarters Service, located about 3 miles south of the Pentagon. It’s part of BRAC and …

Post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: SLDN Stays Relevant in the Fight

One of my favorite movies of all time, Kill Bill (vol 2) has a scene where one of the main characters is facing the demise of her nemesis. One of her comrades approaches her with the following question:

“They say the number one killer of old people is retirement. People got ’em a job to do, they tend to live a little longer so …

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