No tarmac tastes quite the same as home.
mintsmintsmints:

revengeofthemudbutt:

babyfacedtroop:

My first steps back on American soil

Welcome back, brother.

Welcome home, bud.
High-res

No tarmac tastes quite the same as home.

mintsmintsmints:

revengeofthemudbutt:

babyfacedtroop:

My first steps back on American soil

Welcome back, brother.

Welcome home, bud.

Rambo Fallacy hard at work

basedheisenberg:

Can we please not entertain the stereotype that veterans are unstable and have a hair trigger that requires people treating them with kid gloves.

[I call this “Rambo Fallacy,” the idea that all veterans are one eye-twitch away from razing small towns and killing everyone in a thirty mile radius of them. They don’t deserve to be treated like they’re grenades with the pins pulled. And even in the event that some actually /feel/ that way at times, it does not justify treating them like Fabergé eggs crammed full of C4.

It’s largely perpetuated through ignorance, both deliberate (Hollywoodization) and inadvertent. -R]

(via popping-smoke)

Born in the USA.

[Some sentiments are better conveyed with music than words. For me, Springsteen’s voice carries an edge of cynicism, sorrow, and frustration whenever I hear him sing this song. It is, perhaps, projection. -R]

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-George Santayana

Lessons for Civilian interactions with Veterans, 101.
fleshcircus:

popping-smoke:

satanswaitin6669:

popping-smoke:

satanswaitin6669:

danthemedicman:

soldierporn:

SOLDIER STORIES: Healing one memory at a time.
popping-smoke:

Dear Mrs. Collins,June 26th, 2010.This is the last picture that was taken of your son before he died.I was there. I carried his body. I tried to save him for you, maam.We were on our way to the DFAC in this picture, trying to squeeze in one last meal before our mission that night. I’m sitting to his right, talking about how much I hate the chicken in the DFAC, but that I was going to eat it anyway. I was starving.In the next few seconds, he will tell me how much he misses your cooking. And how he would give anything to have a plate of your fried chicken sitting in front of him. He missed your cooking more than anything.I’m so sorry, Mrs. Collins.Words cannot express how sorry I am.He was my soldier, and he was supposed to be with me that night… but I was upset with him and didn’t want him in my truck. I reassigned him to the truck he died in. All I could think when I pulled him out, covered in his blood, was, “Dear God, what have I done?”I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe I just carried his dead body from the truck. I started CPR anyway… I wanted to save him for you. I tried as hard as I could… but I failed.
I am so so sorry.


excuse me while i fucking cry.

you dont even learn cpr in cls, nor would it help if hes bleeding, airway breathing circulation. Also no one in this photo is even named collins.

You caught me. I’m a complete fraud. Way to go hero.

Either you’re a liar or a murderer, why would you do chest compressions on someone who is bleeding to death.

A.) He wasn’t bleeding to death. His head came apart when I lifted him out of the truck, so I had the added bonus of cleaning dried cerebral fluid from under my fingernails after recovery. He was dead from the second I got to his side, I was just too traumatized to believe it.
B.) I tore off his body armor and did chest compressions, because people do shit that doesn’t make sense when they’re in shock. My brain couldn’t process the fact that my soldier was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it. Reality collapsed, my objective thinking disappeared, and I fell back on the level of my training. Which was trying to save his life anyway.
C.) He has his father’s last name, not his mother’s maiden name. Ever heard of a divorce?
D.) You are an absolutely worthless, servile piece of shit, and you can go fuck yourself from here to eternity. Have a good day.

I sincerely cannot believe how insensitive that fucking prick is

[This post is making a second appearance this afternoon for a very specific reason. To create visibility of and awareness to a perfect example of How Not To Communicate With A Veteran. I recognize that civilians in various sectors have some measure of experience. That has zero parallel to combat action, combat zone trauma, and combat scenarios. Under no circumstances should one find it logical to critique the actions and decisions of a veteran to the degree demonstrated above. This is crass, ignorant, and immature.I’ll even go a step further and say this. Any individual who reblogs a post directly from /my/ blog and pulls this type of shit will receive zero tolerance. Your blog will be reported for harassment through the proper channels. And your ISP will be reported in the same fashion. Bear in mind that what I deem proper channels may well terrify you and make you piss your pants before all is said and done. There is an epidemic of suicide plaguing our veterans, and you’re going to pull silly, asinine shit like this? With all due respect (which in this case is none), fuck you, troll. -R] High-res

Lessons for Civilian interactions with Veterans, 101.

fleshcircus:

popping-smoke:

satanswaitin6669:

popping-smoke:

satanswaitin6669:

danthemedicman:

soldierporn:

SOLDIER STORIES: Healing one memory at a time.

popping-smoke:

Dear Mrs. Collins,

June 26th, 2010.

This is the last picture that was taken of your son before he died.
I was there. I carried his body. I tried to save him for you, maam.

We were on our way to the DFAC in this picture, trying to squeeze in one last meal before our mission that night. I’m sitting to his right, talking about how much I hate the chicken in the DFAC, but that I was going to eat it anyway. I was starving.

In the next few seconds, he will tell me how much he misses your cooking. And how he would give anything to have a plate of your fried chicken sitting in front of him. He missed your cooking more than anything.

I’m so sorry, Mrs. Collins.
Words cannot express how sorry I am.

He was my soldier, and he was supposed to be with me that night… but I was upset with him and didn’t want him in my truck. I reassigned him to the truck he died in. All I could think when I pulled him out, covered in his blood, was, “Dear God, what have I done?”

I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe I just carried his dead body from the truck. I started CPR anyway… I wanted to save him for you. I tried as hard as I could… but I failed.

I am so so sorry.

excuse me while i fucking cry.

you dont even learn cpr in cls, nor would it help if hes bleeding, airway breathing circulation. Also no one in this photo is even named collins.

You caught me. I’m a complete fraud. Way to go hero.

Either you’re a liar or a murderer, why would you do chest compressions on someone who is bleeding to death.

A.) He wasn’t bleeding to death. His head came apart when I lifted him out of the truck, so I had the added bonus of cleaning dried cerebral fluid from under my fingernails after recovery. He was dead from the second I got to his side, I was just too traumatized to believe it.

B.) I tore off his body armor and did chest compressions, because people do shit that doesn’t make sense when they’re in shock. My brain couldn’t process the fact that my soldier was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it. Reality collapsed, my objective thinking disappeared, and I fell back on the level of my training. Which was trying to save his life anyway.

C.) He has his father’s last name, not his mother’s maiden name. Ever heard of a divorce?

D.) You are an absolutely worthless, servile piece of shit, and you can go fuck yourself from here to eternity. Have a good day.

I sincerely cannot believe how insensitive that fucking prick is

[This post is making a second appearance this afternoon for a very specific reason. To create visibility of and awareness to a perfect example of How Not To Communicate With A Veteran. I recognize that civilians in various sectors have some measure of experience. That has zero parallel to combat action, combat zone trauma, and combat scenarios. Under no circumstances should one find it logical to critique the actions and decisions of a veteran to the degree demonstrated above. This is crass, ignorant, and immature.
I’ll even go a step further and say this. Any individual who reblogs a post directly from /my/ blog and pulls this type of shit will receive zero tolerance. Your blog will be reported for harassment through the proper channels. And your ISP will be reported in the same fashion. Bear in mind that what I deem proper channels may well terrify you and make you piss your pants before all is said and done. There is an epidemic of suicide plaguing our veterans, and you’re going to pull silly, asinine shit like this? With all due respect (which in this case is none), fuck you, troll. -R]

SOLDIER STORIES: The way home.
andrewwadenunn:

How to make combat paper. 1. Enlist in the military. 2. Get trained to kill. 3. Say goodbye to your family and friends. 4. Go to war. 5. Hate the war, hate yourself, hate the military. 6. Come home, feel like an alien, start drinking. 7. Decide to change. 8. Find friends. 9. Cut your uniform to pieces. 10. Pulp it, press it, pull it, dry it. 11. Learn to love yourself. 12. Leave home. 13. Beg people to buy your paper so you can eat. 14. Teach other people how to make paper. 15. Live your life. Welcome home, Soldier. #combatpaper #lonestarpaperco (at Under The Hood Cafe)
High-res

SOLDIER STORIES: The way home.

andrewwadenunn:

How to make combat paper.
1. Enlist in the military.
2. Get trained to kill.
3. Say goodbye to your family and friends.
4. Go to war.
5. Hate the war, hate yourself, hate the military.
6. Come home, feel like an alien, start drinking.
7. Decide to change.
8. Find friends.
9. Cut your uniform to pieces.
10. Pulp it, press it, pull it, dry it.
11. Learn to love yourself.
12. Leave home.
13. Beg people to buy your paper so you can eat.
14. Teach other people how to make paper.
15. Live your life. Welcome home, Soldier.
#combatpaper #lonestarpaperco (at Under The Hood Cafe)

DOD counsel on prisoner swap.

(Article by Claudette Roulo of American Forces Press Service, 11 JUN 2014. Source.)

The exchange that led to the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is part of a tradition of prisoner exchanges between opposing forces during wartime, Defense Department General Counsel Stephen W. Preston told members of Congress today.

During a hearing called by the House Armed Services Committee to discuss the prisoner swap, Preston explained that it wasn’t necessary to classify detainees as prisoners of war to make them eligible for such an exchange.

“What we had here were detained combatants held by opposing forces in the same armed conflict,” he said.

“Now, it is true that the Taliban is not the conventional nation state that has been party to conventional armed conflict in the past,” Preston said. “But it’s not the character of the holding party, it’s the character of the detainee that inspires and motivates our commitment to the recovery of service members held abroad.”

Read more

For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

ratak-monodosico:

National Geographic's June issue cover story is called ”Hero Dogs, A Soldier's Best Friend.” Layka, the proud dog featured on the cover, was recently recognized by an Air Force unit for her heroics in Afghanistan. The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois was dispatched to inspect a building for explosives and search for enemy combatants. She was ambushed, receiving several gunshot wounds to the abdomen and right front leg. Despite being gravely wounded, she protected the lives of her team by attacking and subduing the assailant. Luckily, Layka survived, but her injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate one of her legs.

(via cametothecold)

USO’s Art Therapy Program aids Wounded Warriors.

Ashy Palliparambil, an art therapist in charge of the United Service Organizations’ Art as Therapy Program, explains the concepts behind two pieces of artwork created by wounded warriors and displayed at the USO Warrior and Family Care Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

(DOD photo and article by Sergeant 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. of American Forces Press Service, 22 MAY 2014.)

Long since known for its tradition of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families, the United Service Organizations’ Art as Therapy program provides comfort and a creative refuge for wounded warriors in the healing process.

Ashy Palliparambil, an Art Therapist and Hospital Services Program Specialist, has led the USO Art and Music Program here since August 2012, focusing on recreational programs which serve as a therapeutic release for wounded troops while creating a “safe space” to create art while they recover.

The unique program operates exclusively at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Maryland and Fort Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Centers where there are a high number of wounded, ill and injured troops undergoing the recovery process.

Some of the services offered through the art and music program include wood carving, acrylic and watercolor painting, drawing, collaging, sculpture, writing, multimedia, poetry and spoken word workshops.

"Before the center was open, USO didn’t really have an art program or anything that offered something similar to this," Palliparambil said yesterday during an interview with the American Forces Press Service. "When the center was being built they decided that they would have a music studio and an art studio.

"They decided to hire an art therapist who could pick programs that would be beneficial for the service members," she continued. "I think the programs have developed very organically."

Palliparambil said the program has flourished from partnerships she has been able to foster with willing organizations based on activities that service members request.

"Photography is an example of that," she said. "Photography is something the service members come to me and say, ‘Hey, we really want to learn this. Can you find someone to help us become better photographers?’

"So then I found a USO volunteer photographer who could facilitate that," Palliparambil added.

Sometimes, the art therapist noted, it comes from organizations such as the woodcarving group which initially operated only in Bethesda who offered to help elsewhere.

"They said, ‘Well, you have this new center at Belvoir,’" Palliparambil said. “‘I might have some people there that live close to that area.’"

The USO tried woodcarving, she said, “and we actually got a good amount of people who came out to the woodcarving workshops.

"So it’s happened both ways," Palliparambil continued. "It’s what the service members want and then what can be offered. And we kind of see what works and what doesn’t and go from there."

It’s not always a bad thing when something doesn’t work, she noted. “We also have programs that don’t do well, but we always try to give everyone an opportunity to offer a different program here,” Palliparambil said.

Activities also include a photo-transfer class, stained glass-making, learning to create using air-dry clay, model airplanes and ships, and garden stepping stones, according to the art therapist.

"We’ve also had cartoonists come in," Palliparambil said. There are also opportunities to do three-dimensional works like the 360 project using any medium, mask making, collages, and many other services, she said.

Specialized workshops, Palliparambil said, such as combat paper where uniforms are turned into paper for imagery and words are also available.

"We’ve also had the Shakespeare Theater do some professional development," she said, which involves employing acting skills to teach participants how to do interviews and present themselves to get a job.

One of the most challenging parts of her job, Palliparambil said, is watching service members who have grown close to the staff, transition out to new endeavors.

"Sometimes you get a good group of people who are really into the arts and will be in here making art," she said. "They will be here past open studio time, talking, have music playing, creating art together.

"And then they move on to bigger and better things, and they transition out," Palliparambil continued. "So you don’t have the same flow anymore, and it’s about getting new people interested. The constant changing that’s happening here — it’s a transition unit — everyone’s transitioning in and out."

As they leave, it’s a challenge to get the next group of people interested in the program, she said.

"A lot of people say that they’ve never made art before, or ‘I can’t draw a stick figure,’" Palliparambil said. "So just getting them to have the confidence to even come into the art studio is a challenge sometimes."

Palliparambil said she “definitely” thinks about those that depart the program, especially the wounded, ill and injured troops who use the art studio.

"It’s not opened to everybody," she said. "It’s usually a very small, intimate group."

The wounded warriors “get to the point where they’re comfortable in talking to you,” Palliparambil said, “and sharing their stories, and sharing their recovery process with you. So it’s great to have been able to meet them and work with them. It becomes very sad when it’s time for them to go.”

Palliparambil noted the USO’s music and art program dovetails with other programs that help service members and veterans.

"A lot of people here are transitioning out," she said. "Being able to find resources outside of a military post is important. So I think we just complement each other really well."

Palliparambil said that while the Fort Belvoir program is specific to wounded, injured and ill troops, there are other activities at the Bethesda center which is open to active-duty service members and their families.

"At Bethesda, there are some programs that are open to all active duty [service members]," she said. "We have a children’s program there, and I do get some of the families that work there and live close by that will bring their kids to the program."

After seeing over 1,000 people participate in the first year alone, Palliparambil said she feels as though the program has made a difference in terms of helping wounded troops recover and providing a creative outlet for active duty service members and their families.

"I think it’s very positive, because after a year, you can see that the whole studio is filled with art," Palliparambil said. "That means that people are coming in here making use of the space on their own time and in the program. So I think it’s been well-received by the service members."

For now, the USO Art as Therapy Program is available for service members and their caregivers to explore, so they can “go back and learn to play, and kind of let go and just be,” Palliparambil said.

"And we just hope that they keep coming back," she said.

(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)

Related Sites:
United Services Organization-Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore