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

+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.

______________________________________________

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.

_________________________

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.

__________________________

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 struggling 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.

_______________________________________

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.

_________________________________________

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.

_____________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

_______________________________________

+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.

Searching for Gold Star Families to Interview for my Upcoming Book

+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.

__________________________________________

Military news…

Thanks to a U.S. Marine’s GoPro deployment video, we can see what the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan actually looked like. This isn’t the sanitized version presented by public affairs: this is the confusion, anger and antics that actually marked life on the ground in the war’s final days.

_______________________

The Department of Defense needs your help renaming nine Army forts and two Navy ships that were named after people who served the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. . That’s right, the military is crowd-sourcing name ideas for its installations, so it’s up to you to make the dream of Forty McFortface, or perhaps something better like Fort Alwyn Cashe, a reality.

_______________________


 The five sailors killed in a recent helicopter crash aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln provide a stark reminder that seemingly routine military operations can turn just as deadly as combat. That is especially the case when it comes to the difficult task of landing a helicopter on an aircraft carrier.
________________________

16 years ago, Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe died after walking through fire three times to save his fellow soldiers from the burning wreckage of their Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq. But despite being endorsed by the Pentagon eight months ago to receive the Medal of Honor for his incredible act of sacrifice, Cashe has still not received it.

_________________________

For the past three presidential administrations, top military leaders went out of their way to avoid any conversation with the American public about what was happening in Afghanistan and why. But now that U.S. troops are finally out, military leaders have no excuse to keep their work secret. The war is lost, and the country deserves to know why.

___________________________

Ever want to take your boss to court for being a jerk? It’s a tactic that rarely works in the military, but it did for the legendary Army Maj. Richard “Dick” Winters of “Band of Brothers” fame. That’s right, Winters out-foxed the Army’s green weenie just like he did the Nazi’s. in WWII.

_______________________________________

I just finished putting the table of contents together for my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

All I really have are some follow up interviews. I also want to do another interview with a Gold Star mother, but I seem to have lost her contact information.

If you know Vickie Ziegler, please tell her to connect with me at doug@dougbolton.com.

I have stopped sharing excerpts from the book, because my publisher said SLOW DOWN! Do not give so much away free.

You can find many of them by searching the archives.

Better yet….

You can go to the top of this page and hit “subscribe” to be a part of this site, which has over 12,970 fellow veterans. When you do, all future posts go right straight to your inbox.

___________________________________________

What’s happening in your world soldier? Is the earth spinning too fast for you? Do you fear sleeping at night?

FEAR NOT!

With the 12,970 fellow veterans on this site who have your back, you are in good hands.

But! If 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. They will not hang up until the know you are OK.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255

____________________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

_____________________________________________

+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 Is a Disheartening Time in Afghanistan. Many People Killed and Many still Stranded

+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.

____________________________________

Military news…

It is still very disheartening in Afghanistan. Americans stranded. Afghan people being killed by the thousands. No signs of many getting out safe.

Afghans were clinging to the sides of U.S. military aircraft to escape the Taliban’s sweep of Kabul. Worst of all, some of them lost their lives falling from the aircraft as they left the runway. It’s only the latest in a terrible situation happening at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

_____________________

“Like many, I struggle to make sense of it all,” wrote Air Force Special Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. James Slife in a heartfelt Facebook post he penned about the fall of Afghanistan this weekend. Like many other veterans and service members, Slife spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, so it’s difficult to watch it all unravel before his eyes.

_______________________

M4 rifles, M24 sniper rifles, M2 .50 caliber machine guns and MRAPS make up only some of the vast quantity of U.S. military equipment captured by the Taliban in recent weeks.

“Now is the time where you bend the rules to save people’s lives.” That’s from Marine veteran Ryan Schalles, who’s prepared to bend a few rules of his own to get Omar, the man who served as an interpreter for his Marine Corps platoon during his 2012 tour in Afghanistan, safely out of the country.

You too can help Afghan interpreters and refugee. There are nonprofit groups trying to help Afghan refugees navigate the special immigrant visa process and find housing for new arrivals; and there are lawmakers with resources to get them moving sooner.
________________________________________________


American citizens and Afghans who worked with Americans are on their own if they want to get past the Taliban’s many checkpoints outside of Kabul’s airport. That’s because the U.S. military, the most powerful armed force in the world, isn’t prepared to send any of the 4,500 troops at the airport into the city to do it.

____________________________________

It has been a tough week for me. I am so saddened by what is happening in Afghanistan. I feel helpless, and I am sure the people stuck there do to.

I see visions of Vietnam in my head constantly, only this is much worse. Our president struck out on his leadership. Not much of support from him.

We need a leader who won’t take what is happening there lightly, and go there NOW to help more.

______________________________

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

A whole section of the book will be interviews with veterans who have been in the trenches. Some share about losing friends. Many had near death experiences. One WWII veteran had not one, but three near death experiences. Amazing story.

The book will come out soon.

_______________________________

How is your life going? Do you remember lost friends from the military?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 12,820 fellow veterans here who have your back.

If it’s just too much for 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.

Do not live the death of your friends alone.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255

________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

___________________________________

+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.