Dan Misch entered the U.S. Naval Academy under Don't Ask Don't Tell, and struggled for years to keep his sexual orientation under wraps. He endured the oppressive silence and slowly it ate away at him. When the repeal went into effect, a weight began to lift.
War Horse writer and Marine veteran William Gehrung killed himself in late August 2017. His friend and fellow Marine veteran and War Horse writer, Nate Eckman, wrote about their friendship and how Gehrung was the last person Eckman expected wou commit suicide.
Joy Craig's retirement ceremony was set to take place that day, but first, she had to sit down with an NCIS agent on base and relive sexual assaults she'd been scared to report for fear of retaliation.
Nina Semczuk worried that as a new second lieutenant she wouldn't strike the right balance between enforcing the rules and being a compassionate, understanding officer. One private's lunch paid the price.
Sam Gisselman was confident of his ability as a rifleman. He'd trained for war and looked forward to going on combat patrol and to proving himself, but it wasn't mean to be.
When his kid brother came back from war, Marine veteran Drew Pham recognized in him the conflicted yearning to go back and desire to stay away. Drew's brother rejected terms like PTS, calling what he had a "soldier's heart."
When two aircraft collided in midair above North Carolina, Adam Stone and dozens of fellow Marines were tasked with identifying bits of the wreckage, including their brothers.
A chance encounter with a female Marine veteran brought back memories for Liesel Kershul of what it was like to be on the outside of the Marine wives' "sorority."
Marine veteran Joy Craig writes an open letter to a new friend and Marine officers' wife, Liesel, about the chasm between the two groups of women—and her desire to change that.
Nina Semczuk struggled during civilian job interviews to translate how managing soldier drama while leading a 25-soldier platoon more than qualified her for the job.
Jenny Pacanowski tried to drown out PTSD's screams with heroin. She realized she'd have to work on her internal monologue, or die.
There was only so much prep work Tenley Lozano could do before Dive School. But how could she prepare for the additional scrutiny women endure.
Liesel Kershul weathered three deployments with her now-husband, Tom. When they moved to Germany the isolation became to much, until she and Tom adopted Amber.
Life in D.C. was impossibly lonely for Elizabeth O'Herrin. She looked to church for community, but struggled to find female friends, until Gina.
Before he could heal, John Sims needed to understand that 30 years of service had taken its toll—not just on him, but on his family.
This essay is the first in a three-part series.
Dustin Jones prayed for contact, just a little bit of fire, to liven up the day. Imagine being at war in an unprotected position, hoping to draw a little gunfire.
"I saw them about a hundred yards away, amid a sparse herd of goats. They were playing, running, chasing each other. I wanted to see them close up. I wanted to photograph them," Dan Bellis writes, "but really, I just wanted to see them. I guess I wanted to play, too."
The Defense Department is investigating the orchestrated stalking and the deliberate collection, and distribution of photographs of active duty and veteran women. Dozens of victims were identified by their name, rank, and duty station.
"The days began to run together," Ryan Mallek writes. "Wake up around 1500, eat, shit, bullshit. Head to the work area about 1845; avoid the sewage, but still puddle through it. Fire up the MCTWS, cut, bend, weld, pile. The heat was unbearable."
She faced discrimination then, and she can handle the presumptions now. She is proud of her service, and doesn’t regret it, regardless of the invisible injuries it caused.
He feels guilty sometimes too about some of what he did and saw, but unless he’s had a drink or two, he doesn’t talk about that stuff.
He quietly departed his village alone and traveled to Kabul, where he began sleeping on the floor of a friend’s apartment. Without a job, he couldn’t afford to bring his wife and daughter with him, so they remained with Zabi’s father, who swore to protect them.
The Marine Corps taught Peter that despair and violence were renewing. In boot camp he shouted "kill" 100 times a day, and went to two church services back to back on Sundays. He prayed to kill and believed that, in some way, it would save him.
Read Peter's Story
As long as the Afghans he encountered thought it was OK to treat women like property, like killing a woman was equivalent to killing a goat, Tim Patterson writes, then they were never going to understand higher-level concepts like voting, or free speech, or feminism.
"To Nate Eckman, veteran" was synonymous with "warrior," and because he hadn't seen combat, he feels strange owning the title "veteran." But the idea that only warriors or those directly affected by war in obvious ways can speak to war's effects with authority isn't true.
A WAR THAT BEGAN AS CHILDREN
Wars were small, quick affairs involving special operators, U.N. peacekeepers and long-range bombers. A decade later, I found myself going back and forth with an antiwar protestor after covering a rally at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the student newspaper. I was learning an early lesson in journalism: admit personal views at your own risk.
YEARS LATER, LOSS AT WAR RESONATES AT HOME
“I hate war,” he said. “I don’t have my dad.” Anthony’s father was killed in Afghanistan five years ago. Anthony is now eight.
Read his story.
A CENTURIES-LONG BATTLE TO SOLVE THE AMBIGUITY OF WAR
by Natalie Schachar and Thomas J. Brennan
What do war crimes, Sun Tzu, General James N. Mattis, and Enhanced Interrogation have in common?
Read and find out.