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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There is Never a Time That You Don’t Have a Choice

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Military news…

100 Year Old Veteran Fannie Griffin McClendon

Fannie served with the only overseas All-Black Women’s Army BN unit known as the Six Triple Eight. Listen as Fannie shares how the unit persevered through hardships while
unclogging the mail system in England so frontline troops were delivered letters from their loved ones back home, which was integral in the Allied Victory. She also discusses how the battalion will soon be honored with a congressional gold medal.

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Fox News recently took aim at Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) in an apparent attempt at a “gotcha” story about how Duckworth, an Army veteran, does not pay property taxes on her Illinois home.

Turns out that she is legally able to do that.

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A retired Special Forces soldier named Jeremy Brown was arrested last week for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building that resulted in the injury of hundreds of police officers.

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A former Army soldier who allegedly plotted an assassination of a Virginia lawmaker and conspired to break racist mass-murderer Dylann Roof out of prison could face several decades in prison.

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It seems to me that President Biiden has decided to what ever he can to tear down our military. He has tried to “steal,” money from the military budget. He has said things bad about the military that are totally false. Maybe this why his approval rating is down to 30%.

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Sean Hannity had president Trump on his show last night, and the president praised the military for all they do, and putting themselves in harms way. Compelete opposite of Biden’s.

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Here is another excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

There is Never a Time Where You Don’t Have a Choice

In the military you are faced with many orders. Go here. Do this. You expect that in the military, and since you decided to enlist, you should love the life that is given to you while you are there.

However, out in cililian life it is a different story. People will also be barking at you do this and that.

I have heard people say, “I had to do it becasue I didn’t have a choice.” They felt trapped and thought there was no way out.

There is always a choice! We never have to accept our fate becasue we feel there is no choice.

We need to acknowledge that we havethe same rights as others around us.

Have you had a boss threaten you if you didn’t do what he said? It is OK to give out directions, but never OK to threaten. The people in the private sector need to realize that they are all working together just like a unit in the military. They need to respect each employee, and have their back when they need it.

Jobs are important for the soldier, but they shouldn’t be degraded at any time just so they can keep the job.

When I came out, I was treated very badly by a boss who didn’t like any “youngsters,” trying to infiltrate his group of works he loved to work with. He did whatever he could to make my day miserable.

When there was a job that was somewhat dangerous, he would make me do it. When it was time for a break, he told to sit somewhere else.

I allowed it to happen. because I didn’t have any way to find another job quickly enough to provide for my family that was with me at the college I was going to.

So I fell for the trap,” I didn’t have a choice.”

In this day and age that type of leadership is not allowed anymore. Bakc in the 50’s there weren’t too many discrimination laws. There weren’t too many to go for help.

Today, you have choices. You have your rights. You can respectfully disagree and not fear of losing you job.

Going into the civilian life can be daunting, but you don’t have to let it ourcome you. stay strong and have courage, just like you had to do when you served your country.

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I will have more excerpts in the future so keep coming back to check them out. Better yet…go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will go directly to your inbox.

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Time to check in with you…

How are things going? Did life give you a lemon after you were discharged? Does it seem like you are being pulled down like a huge magnate?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 13,185 fellow veterans here on this site who have your back.

It it is just too much for you right now, 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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+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.

It Was a Hard Day for Biden When he Met With Families of the 13 Heroes of Afghanistan

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Military news…

“With the mass airlift complete, U.S. policymakers no longer have an excuse to avoid contemplating the lessons of a 20-year war riven by hubris, flawed assumptions, and deceit.” That’s from national security expert Daniel R. DePetris, talking about America’s overdue reckoning with its failure in Afghanistan.

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“I was just thinking, ‘is this real’ … Things like this don’t just happen.” That’s what a security forces airman at Beale Air Force Base thought last month when he saw a car speeding towards his gate with no sign of stopping.

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In 2017, a Marine Corps veteran named Brian Easley took desperate action to get his VA disability payment: he walked into a bank with a backpack which he said was filled with C-4 explosives. Now, a movie about Easley is being made.

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President Biden, got a chilling response from the families of the 13 dead heroes who died in Afghanistan.

Some refused to even talk to him.

Others shared their hurt feelings with him, and some were very directive.

One father showed Biden a picture of his son. he said,” Don’t you ever forget that face. Get to know about each of these heroes who died for you. ” Biden who seemed upset said, “I know them.”

Know each and everyone of those heroes and their backgrounds. I think not.

As they took each soldier, in coffins, off of the plane, Biden saluted them and looked at his watch. He did that with all 13 coffins. One parent said that this was the most disrespectful thing he has ever seen.

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Yet, another reminder that I have slowed down my sharing of excerpts of my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

My publisher, Bookbaby, thinks it is better to tease you a little rather than share so much.

So, to see some excerpts you need to find them in the archives.

Here is my suggestion:

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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Checking in…

How are your days going? Long and sometimes frightening?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 12,950 fellow veterans here who have your back.

If the days are overwhelming you, 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 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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+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.