Transition Out of The Military Can be a Daunting Experience for Military Soldiers

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Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was sentenced on Friday to receive a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeit $5,000 of one month’s pay after pleading guilty to all charges stemming from his public tirades against top military and civilian leaders.

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Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston wants leaders to stop scheduling training just for the sake of it. Instead, he wants soldiers to make time for something very important.

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What follows is a long article written by a soldier going through transition to civilian life. I am using it to help those who may be struggle since they left the military:

A veteran’s ordeal after hanging up the uniform in an America he doesn’t recognize

Nothing had prepared me to live.

Sitting at the required transition briefing at my last military duty station, I watched a ridiculous civilian brief a room full of soldiers about our Veterans Affairs health and educational benefits.

I zoned in and out until he said, “Not everyone thinks your service is a good thing.”

My mind slowed down.

Before my eyes flashed all the news articles I had read about veterans leaving the service and landing amazing careers.

Weren’t headhunters recruiting Army junior officers like me? Wasn’t I being thanked every time I stepped outside the base for my service?

He was greatly misinformed. America loved its warriors.

Even if things were difficult for veterans, I was surely an exception. As an Army captain with command experience, with multiple degrees, and with combat time, as far as I was concerned, I was a damned unicorn

Then I left the confines of the base, took off my uniform.

Months and months after applying and applying and applying to hundreds of openings, I sat across from a human resources representative for a “military friendly” company. She had heard me speak at length about my service and deployments. She glanced at the resume I had specifically crafted for the job opening of head basket weaver. She calmly put down my paperwork, looked me in the eye, and said:

“Yes … yes … ” as she waved away my service with her hand, “but you have no real experience, do you?”

In the lobby sat another officer far more accomplished than I, awaiting an interview. The day after, there would be more. It wasn’t the last time I would encounter this.

My service wasn’t an accomplishment. It was a liability. It was just missed years of real employment—as far as I could see.

I started to see my visits to “hero” job fairs—with recruiters who looked dubiously upon my multiple degrees and combat experiences—as a financial and mental health liability to me. They offered no possibilities beyond accepting a resume, then citing a “poor fit” for any positions. One offered me a minimum-wage security guard position, knowing I desperately needed the work.

Where were the former officers from Forbes magazine and the poster children of Fortune 500 military websites? The real unicorns had fled the stables.

I was searching. I was searching for good examples of veterans who had left and hadn’t killed themselves or hooked themselves on drugs or lost their best selves in dead-end employment.

I was looking for an employer who wouldn’t treat me as the solution to years of fiscal monsters. The personnel mismanagement gods expected me to deliver a solution, like all mythical heroes, like those “skilled in the ways of contending” do.

I had become so wrapped up in my employment that I couldn’t see around me.

My children were growing like grass while I kept watch over at the distant sandstorms of Iraq, as if I were still driving there and wishing at times I was.

So I put away my service in a box and worked through Veterans Day. I watched resumes come across my desk that dripped in military acronyms, ones I knew would never see the light of day. I read another beautifully crafted document where the veteran had reduced his entire military officer service into a single line.

But the more I ignored who I was, the more I was reminded by my coworkers and others.

“This is probably cake compared to Iraq, right?”

“I don’t think I could have done what you did.”

During formal introductions at a company event, I hear the dreaded question come, from a tall man with salt and pepper hair.

“Where did you work before?”

I took a breath and recounted and, as an afterthought, added, “I was also in the military for a bit.”

His eyes lit up. I clenched, waiting for the usual formal questions about my sanity and the later casual questions about how many people I had killed.

Instead, he said, “Follow me.”

I resisted saying, like all good soldiers, “Lead the way.”

I walked down the hallway into his office. On the wall, hanging, were the requisite degrees and family photos.John Thampi in Tallil, Iraq, in 2005, where he served as a second lieutenant. Photo courtesy of the author.

John Thampi in Tallil, Iraq, in 2005, where he served as a second lieutenant.

In between all of them was a smudge of green—a younger version of him, standing among a group of men from the Ranger Battalion. I turned to him, eyes widened. He laughed..

It wasn’t the only time I would meet men and women like this. The veterans I had looked for in posters and magazines were all around me. They were doing what I felt I was doing, working and living, quietly and without a narrator’s voice in their ears.

I recall sitting for an interview debriefing. The company I worked for had reviewed multiple candidates, and some veterans and the HR manager asked me, “So what do we look for? What badge, what years of service, what locations?”

What was the combination that ensured the company got a mythic corporate hero instead of raving suitor-killing lunatic?

I didn’t have an answer then.

Maybe if they had the patience to hear it, I would tell them the protagonist never really comes back. Rather, it’s his friend who returns to an America he doesn’t recognize. He adjusts, and studies to become a teacher, and attends baseball games again, getting used to large crowds. I would go on to explain that he is married now and has children, and that he refuses to define himself by his service.

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A reminder that I have a new book coming out soon. It is called, Signs of Hope for the Military: In an Out of the Trenches of Life.

There will be many chapters sharing my time in the military, plus many more that speak specifically about PTSD, war wounds, depression, etc. It also is a book for all of those who suffer from “battle fatique,” and many other problems once you get out of the military.

I suggest you come back to this site often, because I will be sharing more excerpts for you to read. Better yet…go to the top of this page and click on “subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to your inbox.

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So…how are your days going? Too long? Hate to go to sleep at night?

FEAR NOT!!

There are over 13,250 fellow veterans here on this site who have your back.

However, it the road is too rough for you to walk, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number to call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you, and they will not hang up until they know you are OK?

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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A Soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan, is in Big Trouble. The City is Under Attack

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Military news…

First one is a little funny to me.

An 84-year-old man in Germany has been ordered to pay a fine of 250,000 euros after he was discovered to have an arsenal of World War II-era weapons in his cellar. The arsenal included a 40-ton Panther tank, one of the best tanks of the war.

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U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers and AC-130 gunships are back dropping airstrikes on Afghanistan in an attempt to stop the Taliban’s blitzkrieg throughout the country. But so far, it does not appear to be working: at least five more of Afghanistan’s 17 provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban over the past week.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will ask for President Joe Biden’s approval by mid-September to make the COVID-19 vaccines mandatory. But it might be a lot easier said than done.

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U.S. service members could face a range of punishments, including administrative separation and court-martial, for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes mandatory. Commanders have a “range of tools to try to help individuals make the right decisions,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.

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Starting in October, the Air Force will break with decades of tradition by allowing its members to put their hands in their pockets while in uniform. The change is one of many grooming and uniform updates that loosen up restrictions for airmen (several of which involve hair).

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I have been connected with a SFC in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is fearful that the city will be over run soon. She is very brave to be one of the last of the military still there. However, if the city is finally overrun, she is in a big harms way. The Taliban have no sense of mercy, and she will be killed.

I will keep you updated. We talk daily.

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I saw a report on the new Apache helicopter. It will be awesome is much more deadly. It has tracking devices where no one can hide from them at all.

I have a buddy who was in Vietnam and he was a helicopter pilot. Great stories from him.


I am reminding you that I stopped sharing excerpts from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of th Trenches of Life.

If you want to read some of them, you will have to go to the archives to find them.

I am sure you will enjoy the book when it does come out. It is full of stories of my time in the military, and I share hope for those suffering from anxiety, fear, PTSD, TBI, and war wounds.

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How are you doing? Have the nights become too long with nightmares?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 12, 760 fellow veterans here who have your back.

But please if you are too overwhelmed, GET HELP!

Here is a toll free number to call 24/7.

There are highly qualified counselors there to help you. They will never hang up until they know you are OK.

Never face another scary night!

1-800-273-8255….texting 838255

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

Fear is Something Many Soldiers Have to Face Every Day.

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Stolen valor, the term for when civilians pretend that they served in the military, isn’t always bad, at least when it takes down racist dirt bags. Specifically, one Army veteran-turned-FBI-informant named Joseph Moore won the trust of a Ku Klux Klan cell in Florida by coming up with fake war stories and pinning false medals to his hat.

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All U.S. service members, even if they are fully vaccinated, now have to wear masks indoors if they are in an area where COVID-19 is raging. Many troops thought the pandemic was over, but now it’s back to the mask, and just in time for the hottest month of the year.

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The Afghan Air Force is already falling apart, despite President Joe Biden’s claims that the U.S. would make sure the Afghans could maintain it. You need spare parts and bombs to keep an air force running, and Afghanistan is zero on both.

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The Navy has charged a sailor with starting a fire in July 2020 that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship that became engulfed by an inferno for days as the ship was docked in San Diego, California. The ship cost $1.2 billion to build, but it only took a few days for it to burn beyond repair.

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“We have to be honest with the American people, who pay for this – not only in money but also in blood and treasure.” That’s from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, who took reporters through all the mistakes the U.S. made in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. The result: a resurgent Taliban and little to show for the thousands of Coalition and Afghan troops and citizens who died there.

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‘You’re gonna keep your A-10 Warthogs and you’re gonna like it,’ is essentially what Senators said to the Air Force after it tried to cut 42 A-10 attack planes from its fleet in its fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, reports yours truly in this piece. The A-10 is a legendary attack plane that has saved the bacon of countless ground troops over the past 45 years, but it is getting older and Air Force officials worry it’s not up to face China in a big war.
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Here may be the last excerpt for a while. Time to send the book off to the publisher.

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F.E.A.R

(1) Forget Everything and Run, or

(2) Face Everything and Rise.

The choice is yours

Fear is one of the inevitable things a soldiers must face. I faced it a few times. The worst time was when I was on a plane ready to fly to the Bay of Pigs. I was ready to serve my country, but not knowing what was going to happen caused the fear.

In the dictionary fear is described as:

  1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain.
  2. Concern or anxiety.
  3. To be worried or afraid.
  4. Reverential awe, especially towards God.

All of us on that plane tried to hide our fear. We were supposed to be men/women. We were not supposed to think about what might happen to us. In reality we all thought about not returning home. We thought about loved ones. We thought about the unknown we were facing.

It is hard to face fear. John Wayne said, ” Courage is being scared and saddling up anyway.” This is the man who played the parts of heroes all his life. Many of his films were military films.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Fear isn’t something that is a cowardly act. It is an honest reaction to what is happening around you.

I have faced my own fears. I was within hours of death when I was rushed to the hospital in and ambulance and had quadruple by-pass surgery on my heart.

When you see a car coming at you, head on, while driving on a highway, You don’t act in a cowardly manner, you react. You take action to save your own life.

If you feel you were fearful too often while you served, don’t let that give you a feeling of failure on your part. It is just an honest feeling that often brings out the best in people.

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How is your day? Did you face fear while enlisted? Did things seem to go belly up for you?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 12,525 fellow veterans subscribed to this site who have your back.

This may not be enough for you. If so, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number to call 24/7.

There are highly qualified counselors there to help you. They will not hang up until the know you are OK.

Never face fear alone!

1-800-273-8255, Texting 838255

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.