Fall 2018 Writing Seminar for Military Spouses at The Carey Institute for Global Good

Our writing seminars are where the best writers of today pay it forward to the most promising writers of tomorrow. The stories of military spouses during 17 years at war have largely remained untold. We are excited to work together to change this narrative.

Learn about our Fellows.

The Girl In The Little Blue Jumper

Melisa Thomas held the little girl in her lap as their Humvee sped to meet the helicopter, uttering “English-nonsense” to keep the child from passing out.

Read her story.

Diving Shipwrecks of Future Past

Tenley Lozano dove the retired aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, encountering great barracuda and memories of the ship she’d been serving on six months prior.

Read her story.

Review: “Fight Like A Girl” by Kate Germano

Teresa Fazio reviews Kate Germano’s new memoir, in which the retired lieutenant colonel makes the case for the reforms she made at Harris Island, which ultimately got her sacked.

She Needs a Background Check and a Day Pass to Visit Her Father’s Grave

Kelly McHugh-Stewart lost her military ID when she turned 21, and in turn, the ability to easily visit her father’s grave at Fort Leavenworth.

Read her story.

Letters To My Country That She Will Never Read

Drew Pham remembers his father’s smile, his mother’s tears, the end of his childhood and beginning of his war.

Read Drew’s four-part series.

Getting In The Game

Ross Cohen was trekking across Asia when the Twin Towers were attacked. When the war began, he cut short his planned year-long trip to sign up.

Read his story.

Shedding The Shame of "Dependa"

Liesel Kershul faced crushing shame feeling that being a military spouse has kept her from fulfilling her potential. After 15 years, she's found peace.

Read Liesel's story.

Go In For A Haircut, Leave With A Beating

Augusto Giacoman went in for a haircut, high and tight. Then things went horribly wrong.

Read his story.

Putting Down Our Guns for a Tray of Hummus

Nathan and his unit traveled to Oman in 2013 to train with its military. Quickly, training evolved into an experience the Corps had not prepared him for.

Read his story.

I Volunteered To Be The Hot Sauce Man

A midnight raid on a West Point down in which Augusto Giacoman was armed with hot sauce prepared him for war better than West Point's rigid rules.

Read his story.

So We're Famous, So to Speak

Michael Carson talked philosophy and tragedy in a Mosul coffee shop. Back in the U.S. he’s still asking questions for which there are no answers.

Read his story.

How to Lose a War

Drew Pham saw his refugee parents in Afghan civilians. Compassion, he thought, was the answer. But a part of his soul hardened as he learned to love war.

Read Drew's story.

His Eyes Lifted Toward the Sky

Sarah Holzhalb wonders if the migrants she and her Coast Guard boat scooped out of the water are alive today, and what lives they returned to.

Read Sarah's story.

Finding Herself on a Cross-Country Run

Maggie Seymour set out on a cross-country run to reconnect with herself and find the ground under her feet. Along the way she found a sense of home.

Read Maggie's story.

Irish Mist Adrift in the Fog of War

Brendan O’Byrne returned home from the Korengal to a chorus of civilians calling him a hero. For years he’s struggled to define that word for himself.

Read his story.

As Iron-Filled Tears Stained The Deck

He bore his son’s body to the Americans’ base and let the blood drip and congeal on the wooden deck. And then he left, and left the blood behind.

Read Jackie's story.

Gold Star On Graduation Day

Kelly McHugh-Stewart's father died in Afghanistan on May 18, 2010. Since then she's had two separate graduations—both were on the anniversary of his death.

Read her story.

Unclear All-Clear and A Requisite For Air

One night stuck in a shipping container during an air raid drill is enough to make anyone claustrophobic. Problem is, Yvette Pino already was.

Read her story.

Dress Blues and Triple C's

Scott Reel learned quickly that he could resist the Corps' structure and suffer, or he could play the part of the good Marine, do his time, and then leave.

Read his story.

Running Home After a Marathon of Funerals

Sarah Holzhalb endured a marathon of funerals shortly after separating from the Coast Guard. All these years later, the month of March still sucks.

Read Sarah's story.

No Use Crying

Jackie Munn spilled hot chai on her lap and the girls erupted in giggles. They danced, smiled, asked why Munn had blue eyes. Then came the whip.

Read her story.

Gridlock Gets You Killed

As traffic slowed to a stop and the color drained from his face, Liesel Kershul began to see that Tom had changed. Then he tried to kill her in his sleep.

Read her story.

Recall and Regress

Nathan Eckman wonders what a recall to service would mean for the life he’s built since exiting active duty, and if he’d answer that call.

Read his story.

Those Are The Eyes Of A Demon

Augusto Giacoman parked his Stryker under the streetlights and then the bomb exploded. What happened next is a hazy mixture of memory and nightmare.

Read his story.

Even Butterflies Go To War

Elizabeth O’Herrin found solace in writing about her war, and she wonders and wishes she could ask her grandfather if he felt relief in writing about his.

Read her story.

Her Name Is Fern And She Taught Me Gratitude

Anxiety over the military sexual trauma she withstood plagued Rachael Harris when she came home. Her adopted dog, Fern, barreled through those walls.

Read Rachel's story.

Nepal Tried To Claim Her Too

Two years after a helicopter carrying Marines crashed in the Nepali mountains, Marine veteran Teresa Fazio encountered the wilderness that had claimed them.

Read her story.

My Heart, a Fallow Field

War poisoned his body and threatened his life. To survive, Drew Pham had to lose all chance of fathering a child.

Read his story.

Until He Saw The Terror They Sowed

Augusto Giacoman almost jumped for joy when he was assigned his first midnight raid, but what he saw that night quickly changed his mind.

Read his story.

Explore The Impact Of Our Reporting

The War Horse publishes fact-based, public service journalism that benefits more than 4 million Post-9/11 veterans, their families, and our fellow citizens.

Read about some of the biggest and clearest examples of our impact.

The Donors Who Make Our Reporting Possible

Our team measures the success of our work by impact, by which we mean real-world change spurred by our reporting.

Learn about the generous donors who make our team's impact possible.

They Weren't Supposed To Die Here

Nina Semczuk arrived at the National Training Center in California prepared to train; she wasn’t prepared for a fellow soldier to die.

Read Nina's story.

For The Love Of Machine Guns

Jerad W. Alexander fired his first machine gun at 12 and was hypnotized. Not many years later, patrolling Iraqi streets, he learned the weapon's power.

Read Jerad's story.

Losing Trust In The Branch He'd Pledged To Serve

Waiting in the lobby of the mental health unit, Francisco Martínezcuello wonders when, in his then-17-year career, he stopped trusting the Navy.

Read his story.

Brother, Forgive Me

In Joe, Drew Pham found a supportive peer and guide. One careless act threatened their relationship, forcing Drew to really consider what Joe means to him.

Read his story.

2018 Writing Seminar for Women Veterans at Boulder Crest Retreat

Thank you to all of our generous donors and supporters, the Starbucks Foundation, and Cohen Veterans Network, who donated to support our second-annual writing seminar. The week-long retreat brought together a dozen Post-9/11 women veterans together with leading military reporters, veteran advocates, educators, and mental health leaders. During the week, Fellows toured the Washington Post newsroom and received one-on-one professional development from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and authors of New York Times Bestsellers. We hope you enjoy some of the photographs taken throughout our week at Boulder Crest Retreat

Their Love Would Thrive Or Die Thanks To The Corps

Nathan Eckman wrote off the idea of having a relationship while he was in the Marine Corps. When he met Emily, the Corps helped forge their relationship.

Read their story.

Learning the Power of Connection and Companionship

David Chrisinger grapples with his guilt about not having served, and draws on his own experiences of feeling powerless to connect with a friend who did.

Read David's story.

The War Horse is a proud participant of the Shorenstein Center’s Single Subject News Network, funded by The Knight Foundation.

Our team is a proud participant of the Shorenstein Center’s Single Subject News Network, funded by The Knight Foundation. Along with our colleagues at The Marshall Project, The Trace, Chalkbeat, The Hechinger Report, ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and The Center for Public Integrity, we share learnings on how non-profit and independent outlets like ours can best engage with readers like you.

The Frog’s Revenge Came In The Form of Rockets

Augusto Giacoman’s humanity was reduced to instinct as the rockets began to hit, and he understood how the frog he encountered as a child must have felt.

Read his story.

She Lies Awake, Praying The “Widow Maker” Will Land Safely Tonight

Liesel Kershul used to worry about her Marine pilot husband only when he deployed. Now, with flight hours down and aircraft crashes up, she worries about him when he goes to work.

Read Liesel's story.

Rule #1 of Submarines: Don’t Crash The Submarine

Rule #2 of Submarines: Don’t Crash The Fucking Submarine

Read Tim's story.

Facing It

Drew Pham grieves for the family of the man he killed at war. His peers and commanders told him it was a good kill, but how can a kill be “good”?

The Military Gave Her A Shared Sense of Purpose, But Not A Home

Andrea N. Goldstein lost her sense of home when she left home for college and the military. Moving to New York City, she learned to come home to herself.

"Zero Tolerance"

Scandal after scandal, sexual predators in the military continue to harass and assault with impunity. Military brass pay lip service to eradicating the problem. Explore how the Defense Department has skirted accountability for nearly 40 years.

View our interactive timeline.

Rebuilding Honor: How Kyle Carpenter Came Back From The Brink Of Death

Seven years ago this month Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter suffered grievous wounds after shielding another Marine from a grenade blast in Afghanistan. Somehow, he survived.

Our award-wining story of his remarkable recovery.

2017 In Review: The Highlights

Spring 2018 Writing Seminar at Boulder Crest Retreat

A week-long writing retreat that brings a dozen Post-9/11 women veterans together with leading military reporters, veteran advocates, educators, and mental health leaders.

Learn about our fellows.

Our 2017 Annual Report

Struggling To Find Purpose After "The Service"

Nearly two years after separating from the Marine Corps, Nathan Eckman struggles to define "service" and understand how to serve as a civilian.

Read Nate's story.

Less Than A Year After 9/11, She Fell In Love With A Marine

Read Liesel's story.

Finding Home In The Marine Corps

Joy Craig's childhood was anything but stable. After graduating high school, foster care forced her out, and she was homeless. Until she enlisted.

Read her story.

Failure To Fire

Dustin Jones misfired as Marines fell around him. Today, living stateside, he sometimes struggles to separate reality from dreams.

Read his story.

When The Purple Heart Weighs Heavy

Elizabeth O'Herrin handed the groggy patient his Purple Heart. Immediately, she worried she'd made a mistake, giving it to him so soon after his amputation.

Read her story.

Marine Corps Publishes, Then Deletes, Name of First Woman Infantry Officer

Corps mistakenly outs first woman grunt, then denies multiple interview requests, citing her privacy concerns. Veterans call for transparency, celebration.