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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+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.

Twenty-two veterans Take Their Own Lives Every Day Because of Depression

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Military news…

Actor, director and Hollywood icon Denzel Washington is the “Honorary Sergeant Major of the Army” for 2021.

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Veterans made headlines this summer for working together to bring home stranded Afghan allies, but they are also doing the same for deported U.S. veterans.

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The Army’s new missile-hauling Stryker was fired for the first time ever in Europe by soldiers assigned to the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

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Every sandwich is a sub sandwich if it has classified submarine info in it. Case in point: Federal prosecutors accused Navy vet Jonathan Toebbe of trying to sell sensitive information about the nuclear reactors for Virginia-class submarines by hiding a SanDisk inside a peanut butter sandwich.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin must resign over his handling of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, writes retired Marine Col. Andrew Milburn. Having served in Afghanistan as a special operations officer and having seen Secretary Austin’s career up close, Andrew is particularly well-qualified to weigh in on the subject.

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One of the military’s top cybersecurity generals wants to get rid of the Common Access Card. Used to enter buildings, log onto computers and even enter the chow hall, CACs are one of the few things nearly all service members have had in common over the past 20 years.

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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.

Move Out of Your Home Called Depression

So many people(over 19 million,) are silently struggling with depression or related demons. The depression rate in the military is very high as well. People do not do anything about it. It leaves them eventually because the person dies.

How can we get off this train of despair? Why do we let depression overtake us? Shouldn’t we be happy with our family and friends, and our loved ones around us? Is there a way to climb out of this dreadful trench and have a productive life?

Now that I made you also feel depressed. Let me share some thoughts with you, and see if you can see any light at the end of the tunnel.

  1. People seem to think that they will be embarrassed if they let someone know they are depressed. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Don’t you think your close family and friends would jump in to help you faster that a cat on a ot tin roof, if they knew you were hurting? Of course they would! Stop closing the door on others and be wallowing in your own self pity. Let people, and other soldiers, become your support system to get you out of your despair.
  2. Why do we let depression overtakes us? Because we become very vulnerable to the dark side when something goes wrong. We can’t just keep going on as if nothing ever happened. We either deal with it, or we crash like I did.
  3. Depression has many names by the way. It hides under the names of self-doubt, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and self-pity. They are all different names, but they are all systems of the Big Kahuna depression. All of these nasty critters push us to into the lake of muck and mire, and we can’t seem to stay afloat. Don’t let this villian ambush you! Keep you eyes on the bight side of life, and not the dark side.
  4. With today’s modern technology, you can connect with your family no matter where you are in the world. I have used Skype, facetime, (I-Phones) Zoom, and speaker phones ot get as many people as I can. We talk and feel accepted.
  5. I just did that recently when I had a birthday party for my granddaughter. My son, who is the uncle of my granddaughter, couldn’t make it. We did a video connect through I-Box of all things. My son was able to wish my granddaughter happy birthday, and talk to all of us.

Unlike the dark ages when we couldn’t connect with technology at all, you can see and talk to anyone you want to get the feeling you are right there with them.

The Bottom line…

Tell the bad guys to get out of Dodge. Let the good guys come in and help you ride off tinto the sunset of peace.

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There is more to this chapter, but I will tease you into to buying the book to find out more.

You can come back and see more excerpts. Better yet… go to the top of this page and click on“Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to you inbox.

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Bed check…

How are you doing? Does it seem overwhelming at times. Do you feel the darkside lurking around you?

FEAR NOT!

There are 13,250 fellow veterans here who have your back.

But! It is just too much for you right now. GET HELP!

Here is a toll free nmber 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

The President’s Generals Did Not Agree With Him on Afghanistan

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Military news…

Quiet day in the military news today. That is probably good.

After years of development, the Air Force will try firing frickin’ laser beams from its deadly AC-130J Ghostrider gunships.

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Leaked documents reveal just how concerned the Marine Corps was about Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller’s call for ‘revolution The Marine posted viral videos to social media in late August criticizing military leadership over their handling of the war in Afghanistan.

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It’s time to stop awarding the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, writes Marine veteran and GWOT Service Medal recipient Austin Dahmer. In fact, that should have happened a long time ago, he says.

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There seems there was a movement to try to change the mind of our president, and his lack of love for the military. Top Generals in the Military are starting to turn on him. They stated that remarks made by him as to how they left Afghanistan were wrong. They said they tried to convince him to leave some troops there and he refused. They questioned his closing of the military airport.

With all of this going on it is no wonder that the president’s approval rating is down to 38%.

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I will be sharing a new excerpt for my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life, in my next post coming up in two days.

Be sure to come back to check it out. Better yet! Go up to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to you inbox.

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How does you world look to you? Is it rolling too fast. Are you dreading sleeping at night?

FEAR NOT!

There are over 13,225 fellow veterans here who have your back.

If the world looks too scary 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.

1-800-273-255…texting 838255

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never fosaken.

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.