Last Leathernecks Leave Iraq

Hard to believe, but the final 12 Marines have left Iraq. It’s funny how much attention we pay when they arrive, and how little we note when they leave. War tends to begin with a bang, and end with a whimper.

All U.S. troops are now slated to be out by December 31, except for embassy Marine guards, and any additional forces yet to …

Of Bracelets and Bits of Colored Ribbon, Earned Or Otherwise

Soldiers, like all of us, want recognition. Sure, the mission comes first, and then your buddies, and maybe, eventually, you. But such recognition is hard-earned, and outsiders tinker with it at their peril.

That’s why two recent events are worth noting. One involves — of all things — jewelry worn by Marines to honor those lost …

Shazam! Gomer Pyle Would Love This

It was just over a month ago that we noted the Marines are spending about $180,000 per bedroom in the new living quarters they’re building for their greenest troops at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Now the Los Angeles Times weighs in on similar pads opening up for West Coast Marines at California’s Camp Pendleton:

The two-person rooms, at

Report Examines “Worst Case” Scenario for the U.S. Military

The debt ceiling deal passed this summer contains a sequestration “trigger.” If the Super Committee fails to agree on a plan to meet its deficit reduction targets–or if Congress fails to approve the plan, the legislation stipulates that huge amounts of discretionary spending funds will be automatically sequestered–i.e., taken off …

Dispatches From the Third Front: Part II–the Refuge

Nearly every military installation, from our many stateside posts to larger bases in combat zones, have some form of a Morale, Welfare and Recreation center, what the troops call MWR. At Brooke Army Medical Center, the place of refuge is more than just a recreation center; it’s a central part of their healing and journey home. Our trip …

The Latest Marine Hymn

As Battleland comrade Chuck Spinney predicted last week, the warfare among the services for bigger pieces of a shrinking pie has begun. All the services are engaged, although most tend to do it covertly. But the Marine Corps is different – their leader has written Defense Secretary Leon Panetta a letter implicitly pleading for …

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 …

For Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity…

It was just over two years ago that Dakota Meyer formally became a hero. His Marines knew it then, and the rest of us will learn about it Thursday afternoon when President Obama presents him with the Medal of Honor. Here’s what he did to earn the nation’s highest award for valor. Semper Finest.

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

“My Mom Deserves to Know the Truth.”

Since reporting Monday on Rep. Judy Chu’s revelation that her nephew, Lance Corporal Harry Lew, killed himself after being hazed by fellow Marines in Afghanistan, we’ve spoken to several people about the tragic case. It turns out it wasn’t so much tragedy as torment; some might even call it torture. “LCPL Lew was identified …

“How Did the U.S. Military Retool Itself Post-9/11?”

In the decade after 9/11, just how much did the U.S. military have to recalibrate to fight the wars it found itself launching in Afghanistan and, 18 months later, in Iraq? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the retooling of the American armed forces with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times — co-author of Counterstrike: The Untold

The Haze of War

At the tail end of last Friday’s hearing into military suicides before the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee, Rep. Judy Chu finally got a chance to speak. Although not a member of the panel — she serves on the Education and Labor, Judiciary, and Small Business committees — chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., …

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