When you leave the military, your mind is usually filled with a range of emotions. There’s joy over your newfound freedom, sadness at leaving brothers behind, and anxiety over the unknown. In June 2010, when I picked up my discharge papers from the Marine Corps, I lived through it and felt them all.Now two years later, I am close to graduation from The University of Tampa, run a successful military satire website, and am lucky to continue working with military veterans. It wasn’t an easy road, and many times I felt alone and helpless.
For a heartbreaking and rising number of veterans, those emotions can lead to a devastating end: suicide.
Navy Cross recipient and former Corporal Jeremiah Workman, who dealt with his own emotional trauma and thoughts of suicide, refers to it as an enemy making an 8000-mile sniper shot.
That’s what happened with Seth Smith, from Kansas City, Missouri. I first met Seth on a training exercise in Okinawa, Japan with 3rd Marine Division. As one of a small handful of infantry Marines in a unit full of different specialties, it was a lonesome time for me. (more…)
I’ve been following Felix Baumgartner’s attempt at breaking the record for longest free fall for at least the last two years. While I encourage daredevil acts in general both for the amount of daring and ingenuity involved, I can’t help but think it pales in comparison to the effort of the previous record holder USAF Col (ret.) Joe Kittinger.
In 1960 the US was in the throes of the space and aviation race with the Soviets. Seemingly every month saw the shattering of speed or altitude records. As the altitudes increased, and space drew within grasp, the Air Force felt it necessary to determine if it was even possible to return to Earth safely minus air or space craft. On April 16, 1960 -almost one full year before Yuri Gagarin became the first man launched into space- Col. Kittinger hung suspended 102,800 feet above the Earth peered over the edge of the balloon gondola and jumped.
Unlike Baumgartner, however, Col. Kittinger didn’t do it for the sheer thrill of it. Kittinger was part of the Air Force’s Project Excelsior. The aim of Excelsior was to add to the thimbleful of knowledge the Air Force possessed about survival at high altitude. At the time they literally did not know if a pilot could bail out of his aircraft (or spacecraft) at such altitude. This ignorance despite the face that the Air Force was regularly flying above 75,000 feet since Chuck Yeager’s flight in December 1953. Col. Kittinger’s record has stood ever since that day in the spring of 1959. So while I admire Felix Baumgartner’s vision and daring, I revere Col. Kittinger and his brave contribution to the science of high altitude flight.
About a year ago, the US Army started a program to insert women into special forces missions. It was controversial, and still is, even if now, more than a year later, these women have proven to be a major asset.
These all-female spec ops units are called Cultural Support Teams, and their job is to interact with and gain intelligence from women and children in places where it is socially or culturally inappropriate for men to, like, you know, Afghanistan.
They are not just called in when the Army needs not-men. They travel and fight along side Rangers and other forward infantry in combat missions, in addition to medical outreach programs, and other non-civil affairs. Make no mistake, they’re door kickers, and they have to wear all that extra headgear, Charlie Mike. You never know when you need a not-man.
SOFREP has an interview with one such grunt, and you should really, really read the whole thing. Here’s a part of it:
There will always be debate about women in direct combat roles, but let’s think about that one for a minute, what the hell do people think women have been doing since 9/11? Female MP’s, FET’s, CST’s, etc., they’ve been serving in that role. And even more importantly, let’s not forget our CST sister who lost her life on 22 October 2011 while serving in direct combat.
Most people tend to give knee-jerk reactions to this subject, which drives me crazy! I guess I can’t fault them for being ignorant on just what women like myself have been doing I mean if they haven’t had the opportunity to work with us, how would they know what our capabilities are, right?
I’ve read many opinions on the matter and the majority of them are extremely subjective as opposed to being objective but I guess that’s what an opinion is, it’s generally based on subjectivity.
What I tire of reading are the ridiculous comments about how men and women cannot fight side-by-side because of a man’s natural instinct to want to protect women. Well, if that’s the case then they have failed as a soldier because when we put that uniform on we’re all soldiers. (more…)
Although it was the first meeting between Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, the submarine‘s creator, the duo emerged with a daring plan: to launch themselves into suborbital space using custom-built contraptions. And with that, Copenhagen Suborbitals was born.
Co-founders von Bengtson, an aerospace scientist and former NASA contractor, and Madsen, an entrepreneur and aerospace engineer, have a lot to be proud of since they founded their non-profit space program four years ago. In June 2011, for example, Copenhagen Suborbital’s army of volunteers successfully built, launched and recovered a 31-foot-tall rocket — the largest “amateur” launcher ever built — with a crash-test dummy tucked inside.
I seriously hate guys like these two. I bet they come off like total jerks every Monday morning. “Hey Peter, hey Kristian, how was your weekend?”
“Great, we launched our rocket from a barge in the ocean. I used my homemade submarine to keep the launch platform stable. Kristian here got to push the big red button. What did you do?”
A woman zookeeper died after she was savaged in a wolf enclosure, Swedish public radio said Sunday.
The 30-year-old woman was alone with eight wolves at Kolmarden Zoo, one of the largest in northern Europe, when the incident happened but it was unclear what led up to the deadly mauling, the radio network said.
The wolf enclosure is well known because the zoo allows visitors into the area to pet the animals.
“Such an event is very rare, but it can happen. Animals living in zoos aren’t afraid of humans and accidents can happen,” wolf expert Olof Lidberg, told Swedish press agency TT.
Bruce Schneier’s a security specialist with his own Internet meme. And while most people believe that technology elevates, improves things, Schneier holds that technology magnifies, makes things bigger, good and…