Ron Capps

Ron Capps was a soldier for 25 years. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1983, received a commission in 1985 and served on active duty for nine years before returning to the Army Reserve. As a reservist, he was re-called a number of times to active service including work with special operations forces in central Africa, a combat tour in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003, and work as an international peacekeeper in Darfur. Ron served as a Foreign Service officer from 1994-2008 with postings in Kosovo, Rwanda, Iraq and Sudan. Now retired from government service, he is a freelance writer and directs the Veterans Writing Project, a non-profit organization that provides no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans.

Articles from Contributor

Battleland Battleland

One Concrete Thing

Years now. Almost 11 years into the war in Afghanistan, and with Iraq mostly behind us, we’re still unable to get our hands and our minds around the military suicide rate.

July marked the highest number of suicides among …

Battleland Battleland

Dark Knight Shooter Not A Veteran

I have to admit that when I saw the news about the Aurora, Colo., shootings Friday morning, my first reaction wasn’t appropriate. My very first instincts should have been shock and sympathy towards the victims and their …

Battleland Battleland

“Listen Up, General Pittard.”

I want to make a couple quick comments on the furor over Major General Dana Pittard’s blog post that soldiers who kill themselves are being selfish, and his exhortation that those thinking of suicide should just buck up and face their problems like an adult. “Suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” he wrote to his official blog …

Battleland Battleland

Not (Just) Another Reading List

My Battleland colleague Nate Rawlings has done excellent work at keeping us all aware of trends in official Army reading lists. Like many veterans, I suppose, I have a shelf of books I own solely because some previous commander put it on his mandatory reading list. These lists are handed down as part of the boilerplate leadership …

Battleland Battleland

Update: The 7,000 Mile Sniper Shot.

I wrote a few weeks ago about Marine Major Jeff Hackett, who killed himself in the aftermath of a collapse following his distinguished 26-year career. Major Hackett’s widow, Danielle was initially denied payment of Jeff’s $400,000 life insurance policy because when times got tough economically for Jeff, he missed a few payments. …

Battleland Battleland

PTSD: Weakness or Wound?

This week, the American Psychiatric Association is meeting in Philadelphia. Among the presentations in the “military track”—a spate of meetings directed towards practitioners focused on military or war related psychology and psychiatry—the top listed presentation is titled “Combat Related PTSD: Injury or Disorder?” Based on …

Battleland Battleland

Afghan Massacre: Rush To Judgment

For the past few days, Washington’s, America’s, probably much of the world’s airways have been filled with commentary about the horrific killings in Afghanistan allegedly committed by an American soldier. Radio, TV and the blogosphere have been inundated with reports, predictions, and speculation—why he did it, what it means for …

Battleland Battleland

RIP: Magnificent Valor

In the spring of 1944, the focus of the American army in Europe was the fighting in Italy. Van Barfoot was a sergeant in the 157th Infantry, part of the 45th Division. The 25 men in his platoon, like the other 150,000 Americans on the beachhead, had been bombed and shelled regularly by German aircraft and artillery since they arrived …

Battleland Battleland

When is it War?

If you were in Iraq in 2008, just after the wave of troops for the troop surge had crested with 160,000 or so American troops in country, you might have had a pretty good reason to think you were involved in a war. …

Battleland Battleland

A 7,000-Mile Sniper Shot

Jeff Hackett died in the war. He was a career Marine, a mustang who rose through the enlisted ranks to become a gunnery sergeant, then through the officer ranks to become a major. In Iraq, Jeff led a highly specialized unit of …

Battleland Battleland

The Nobel Betrayal Prize?

Apparently, three members of the Icelandic Parliament have nominated Army PFC Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. On February 1, 2012, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Margrét Tryggvadóttir, and Þór Saari, all members of the Icelandic Parliament, sent their nominating letter to the Nobel nominating committee.

This is, of course, …

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