Connect with us

News

Halfway Heroes: ‘Near Veterans’ Seek Recognition For Almost Serving In Military

Published

on

File: A US Army recruiter speaks with an near-veteran hoping to eventually convert him into full-veteran status.
A US Army recruiter speaks with an near-veteran hoping to eventually convert him into full-veteran status.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Jody Siever spends his Friday nights like so many American servicemen and women, mingling while kicking back drinks at a local bar. Recognizing the giveaway military haircut of a fellow patron, he approaches with an arm extended.

“Welcome home, soldier.” Smiling, though apparently puzzled, the stranger returns a firm, brief handshake.

“Thanks, but I’m in the Navy. And I haven’t been anywhere—I’m in Nuke School,” he replies, referring to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Center in Goose Creek, S.C.

“That’s cool,” Siever says. “I almost thought about joining the Navy for a while, but if I did join the service, I would have gone into the Army. I’m just kind of hardcore like that. Shooting bad guys in the face—that’s the life for me. If I wanted it.”

Siever, you see, never actually enlisted.

Veteran servicemembers often find it difficult to relate their experiences in the military to friends and family back home, but a new civilian organization is working to expand that exclusive brotherhood. The Bros Before Joes campaign, established in 2011, seeks to legitimize the efforts of people like Siever, whose commitments to serving in the military range from the hypothetical to the nearly realized.

“We’ve got guys from all over the spectrum here. Some of our members, they merely thought about joining the Army a few times, or took the ASVAB in high school to get out of first period,” explains BBJ founder Trent Bower. “Other guys though, they got as far as making appointments to go to MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station], but then something important came up.”

A near-Marine himself, Bower recounts his own brush with fate:

“I talked with a Marine recruiter a few times in high school, even attended a couple of pool functions at the recruiting office. It got to the point that I was there so often, the recruiters even started calling me ‘Boot.’ They were practically begging me to enlist, but I always knew I was meant for something more meaningful.”

Bower, a 31-year old assistant manager at a successful pizza delivery franchise, started the Bros Before Joes campaign in his spare time, seeking to bring recognition to others who share his story. For Siever, and thousands of almost-soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines like him, the organization is a long-overdue ray of hope.

Says Siever, “It’s great, you know, to finally be able to reach out and connect with others who share your non-experiences. After giving so much, dedicating so much time and energy to thinking about enlisting, it just feels like we’re finally getting the thanks we deserve.” And recognition has been swift in coming.

Thanks to a successful joint-lobbying campaign with the Almost Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a bill is now before the Senate to approve Veteran’s Affairs benefits for BBJ and AIAVA members. The resolution received overwhelming bipartisan support in a House vote earlier this year from a majority of US Representatives who are themselves non-veterans.

Regarding the passage in the House, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) released this statement:

“This isn’t a Red-or-Blue, liberal-versus-conservative issue. It’s about giving near-veterans like me and many of my constituents the recognition we’ve been denied for far too long.” Currently, 345 out of 435, or roughly 80% of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, have no recorded military service.

As the bill nears the Senate floor, however, some opponents are voicing concerns. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Navy veteran, held a press conference outside his home in Phoenix on Tuesday, calling the bill “a mockery… of all that I hold dear.” He also stated that he would “rather tongue-kiss Jane Fonda” than vote to approve the measure. Before he could take questions, he had to be ushered away for medical treatment when blood began seeping from his clenched fist — reportedly from clutching his Silver Star too tightly.

And he’s not alone. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) is an Army veteran of World War II and presently the only serving member of Congress to have earned a Congressional Medal of Honor. When presented with the bill’s full text, Sen. Inouye declared it “a perversion of our American values,” and refused to touch it, even with his prosthetic arm. Said Inouye, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

Despite these protests, the bill has mass appeal with civilians and near-veterans on both sides of the aisle. Arguments will begin in earnest when the Senate reconvenes next January. Until then, it’s a long wait for near-heroes like Siever and Bower.

Asked if he would do anything different given the opportunity, Bower harkens back to his non-Marine days:

“I just couldn’t leave all of this behind. I miss those pool functions, though. They were good times; some of the best times of my life. You just… you go through something like that, almost sacrificing so much, with such a close group of guys, and it really makes you brothers, you know? I even think I still have some recruitment brochures around here, somewhere.”

Dirty once ate frozen yogurt while pulling security around an ice cream truck deep in a Thai jungle. His hobbies include rock painting, ditch digging, radio checks, and SSD1.

News

SEAL ostracized by teams after passing drug test

Published

on

CORONADO, Calif. – A local Navy SEAL has found himself in hot water with others in the special warfare community after he passed a recent drug test, officials confirmed today.

Chief Petty Officer Special Warfare Operator Kyle McCleary, a 15-year veteran of the SEALs, was ordered to take the urinalysis as part of a Navy-wide crackdown on non-drug-usage in the teams.

The news of McCleary’s exclusion from team activities comes two weeks after officials revealed that 10 SEALs had successfully failed drug tests with an excellent showing of cocaine and methamphetamine in their systems.

“Those guys were winners. They know what it means to be a teammate — not McCleary, though,” said SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Murphy. “He doesn’t belong anymore. A good SEAL always has at least some weed in his system. Hit the pipe or hit the road.”

Navy officials allowed Duffel Blog a peek into the world of the SEAL community with an invitation to spend off-duty hours with the SEALs. Reporters discovered a lot of shirtless flexing, hacky sack circles and parties with drugs. “Lots and lots of drugs,” one reporter wrote in a notebook.

SEALs — with their high operational tempo — understandably need a distraction during their off-duty activities. While most operators in other branches turn to exercise and chugging Red Bull to keep themselves busy, SEALs prefer cocaine, which is readily available when stationed near Mexico.

McCleary has opted out, however, choosing to stay away from activities that would put his trident at risk. His teammates believe it’s a mistake and acknowledge that he will be held accountable for “just saying no.”

“C’mon, what’s so hard about doing a little bump here and there?” asked Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Toon, an East Coast-based SEAL with a faint coke ring around his right nostril. “All McCleary has to do is get with the program. Say, ‘Man, you got a razor blade I can borrow?'”

McCleary’s reputation within the SEAL community began to suffer years ago when he made the decision to eat healthy and drink only water. Despite his desire to be seen as a team player, McCleary was not willing to poison his body with horrible substances.

“Everyone’s doing it. It’s easy and convenient to pop down to Tijuana, score a little deca durabolin and report back Monday,” BUD/S instructor Todd Fuller said as he jabbed a needle into his left buttock. “Hell, popping positive is mandatory the last week of BUD/S. Otherwise, you simply don’t get into the teams at all.”

Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, was asked during a press conference about McCleary’s failure to adhere to the highest traditions of the teams and Naval service by failing to get just a little bit high.

“I’m sorry. The surf is really loud this morning. I’m having a hard time hearing. Have a great day. Thanks,” said Green, before quickly excusing himself.

Continue Reading

News

Senator proudly cites DNA test to prove he’s nearly 1 percent veteran

Published

on

BOSTON — Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Dickard Rosenthal has released the results of genetic testing to add legitimacy to his claim that he is “basically a veteran” and “should be treated as such”.

The DNA test shows that he has a distant grandparent that may have possibly fought in the Thirty Years War, the French Revolution, or was a member of a Mongol horde terrorizing eastern Europe in the 13th century, Roesnthal said in a press release and a subsequent CNN-sponsored town hall event.

“I am proud to show the American people, and especially Donald Trump, that I am indeed pretty much a veteran, and the sacrifices on behalf of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (possibly) grandMOTHER’s (sic) service, between 300 and 1000 years ago, should not go unrecognized, or unrewarded,” Rosenthal’s press release reads.

“I am proud to possibly be tangentially related to someone who may have served something somewhere,” he added.

Rosenthal, a progressive firebrand widely considered to be a front-runner in the Democratic Party for the 2020 presidential primary, has faced repeated criticism for his decades-old claim of veteran status.

Records indicate the senator used his claim to be a veteran as a means to gain crucial status within a minority group as he applied to prestigious positions at Ivy League institutions and subsequently in his successful Senate run.

“Frankly, my previously uncorroborated claims were all I needed to be a veteran. But with this DNA test, I can now conclusively say I am distantly related to a veteran, which is basically the same as being one. It is now the responsibility of Donald Trump and his Republican allies to prove that I am not,” Rosenthal said.

Blondes Over Baghdad contributed to this report.

Image courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Continue Reading

Army

Army sergeant’s steampunk top hat springs class III leak in formation

Published

on

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Army Sgt. Pennyworth Montgomery’s notably complex steampunk top hat sprung a class III leak in the middle of morning formation, sources confirmed today.

“I noticed it immediately,” said Spc. Christie Jones. “One moment the steam whistle puffed away gentle bursts of vapor to release pressure. In the next, there was clear drop formation  each of which fell from their own weight.”

Having escaped Montgomery’s notice, the leak worsened due to the internal pressure generated by the boiler apparatus held within the hat’s large stovepipe structure. This caused a torrent of scalding water to spray over the faces of two privates standing adjacent to Montgomery.

“Arrghhh!!!” screamed Spc. Michael Johnson as doctors treated him at the local burn unit. “Who even lets him wear that stupid thing?!”

The military police sergeant said an internal problem caused the top hat to send boiling water shooting on the privates who he expected to hold the position of attention.

“Well, I think the problem arose when the 25 tooth brass gear misaligned with those around it. This caused the hat’s internal dampening system to overfill with steam pressure,” Montgomery said while wearing a purple tented set of welding goggles.

“This sent a gust of steam through the incorrect piping and into a glass reservoir directly underneath the series of Edison bulbs I have attached around the top to indicate ambient air temperature and atmospheric pressure,” he continued after adjusting a few external lenses over his left eye and checking an ornate brass pocket watch.

Montgomery then opened an umbrella with a loud, “Cheerio!” and floated into the sky towards the dirigible he had moored to a light pole at the barracks parking lot.

Continue Reading

Navy

STDs get tested for sailors

Published

on

PHUKET, Thailand — Sexually transmitted diseases have been racing to nearby clinics to get checked for sailors in an effort to curb a spate of recent outbreaks, sources confirmed today.

The outbreaks come after a group of U.S. Navy ships made a stop at a port in Thailand and released sailors out into the public, a move the local population views as nothing short of biological warfare.

“With no regard for public safety, the commanders saw fit to unleash a swarm of sailors out into the open air, knowing full well that they can easily spread,” said Bobby Khachatryan, a public health practitioner. “Have they no idea what sort of social stigmas STDs encounter when they catch a case of the squids?”

Local sexually transmitted diseases are canvassing the area, looking for fellow maladies who might have unwittingly come in contact with a sailor.

“You can never be too safe or get tested too early,” said a batch of chlamydia. “You don’t want any sailors sneaking up on you. They are nasty, fat and lazy — just gross. It’s also super embarrassing when others find out that you’ve contracted sailors.”

Reported cases of sailors had dwindled prior to the arrival of the ships. Public officials attributed the decline to sailor awareness, sailor prevention, and sailor avoidance.

“It seems the time of plummeting sailor cases is at an end,” Khachatryan said. “Now, we are in reactive mode, and the STDs have to be treated with medication and ointments while we try to contain the sailor outbreak. The public healthcare system is currently overburdened as most STDs are making a dash to the pecker-checker to get swabbed for ‘swabbies.’”

Not everyone is panicking, however. Gonorrhea, a local sexually transmitted infection, welcomes the sailors with arms wide open.

“I caught a grand total of four sailors back in the fifties. They aren’t anything to worry about, really – some squirting and oozing. They are nothing a good dose of penicillin can’t tackle,” gonorrhea said proudly. “Bring those men and women on!”

Continue Reading

Army

The untold story behind the name of the US Army Special Operations Command

Published

on

By

The following is an excerpt from the personal journal of Lt. Gen. William Yarbrough (1912-2013), reprinted by Duffel Blog with permission from the Green Beret Association.

So here it was, June of 1998, and the Pentagon made the decision that they wanted all the Army Special Operations components under one unit umbrella. They had pretty much everything figured out except what to call the new parent command. So Eric [Shinseki], who was about to take over as chief of staff, called me up and asked me for ideas on a name.

Now, during Vietnam, Green Berets would be out doing things in the middle of nowhere, and they’d have absolutely no supplies to speak of.

Guys would be complaining that they had to do their business out there in the jungle but didn’t have anything to wipe with. The team commanders would be constantly telling people “use a sock.” Or when guys would need to take care of themselves, if you know what I mean, but there was no tissue paper handy? “Use a sock.”

Seriously, socks were easier to get than toilet paper. I still don’t know why. Guys within the Special Forces community started saying “use a sock” for literally everything. It got to the point where it almost became an institutional joke motto, sort of like “Wagner loves the cock” for the Marines.

So now here it is, I’d been retired for almost thirty years, when out of the blue I get a phone call from Eric, and he asks me to come up with an idea for a name for this new major command.

Without even thinking, I blurted out, “Use a sock.” It was just an offhand joke. I never meant for him to take it seriously. But he ran with it, and sure enough, a year and a half later, there he is, announcing the formation of USASOC (U.S. Army Special Operations Command).

I never had the heart to tell him. He’d probably be really embarrassed.

Continue Reading

Air Force

Pentagon worries that plunging morale might affect morale

Nevertheless, many service members remain skeptical that conditions will improve anytime soon.

Published

on

ARLINGTON, Va. — Officials at the Pentagon have expressed concerns that plunging morale among American service members may be affecting service member morale, sources revealed today.

“We at the Department of Defense are deeply worried that the growing apathy of America’s war fighters may have a negative impact on America’s ability to fight wars,” said Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Ed Marquand.

“Though we are at present unsure of the exact root of the growing malaise, our researchers suspect that it may have something to do with almost two decades of perpetual conflict, a gradual decline in America’s international prestige, or endemic inefficiency across the military industrial complex.”

While the Pentagon’s recognition of this growing problem strikes many Americans as a step in the right direction, it remains unclear what actions the Pentagon will take to rectify the issue.

“We are currently exploring a number of possible solutions to increase the job satisfaction of our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen,” Marquand said. “Currently, we suspect that if we find a way to make living more bearable for our military personnel, they may actually begin to enjoy being alive. Experiments conducted on laboratory animals and members of the Coast Guard support this theory.”

However, despite the Pentagon’s announcement, there are some across the military who disagree with any attempt to improve the the happiness of military members.

“Morale is a crutch,” an anonymous colonel stated in a recent suicide letter.

Nevertheless, many service members remain skeptical that conditions will improve anytime soon.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Lance Cpl. Marcus Strudelmeier of 7th Marine Regiment. “If Maj. Whatshisnuts thinks a little press conference will keep me from doing cough syrup jello shots in a desperate attempt to shuffle off this mortal coil, stand the fuck by.”

As of press time, Pentagon researchers were attempting to link overwhelming depression among E-5s and below with poor barracks Wi-Fi.

Continue Reading

Marine Corps

Opinion: Marines on steroids are all the rage right now. Seriously. Please send help

Published

on

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – If anyone is reading this, I am locked in the bathroom of the gym closest to headquarters. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but every Marine in this place suddenly just started raging the fuck out, and I’m afraid for my life.

I was pretty sure half these guys were on steroids to begin with, but it had never been a problem before. Today, though, whichever idiot runs this gym put a Taylor Swift song on the playlist, and I think that set them off. It wasn’t even a new one, just one of the standard breakup songs. As soon as the speaker blared, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in,” these guys just Went. Fucking. Nuts.

As the growls quickly crescendo’d into full on screams and fits of rage, one guy took a bite out of a barbell like it was a goddamn Otis Spunkmeyer cookie. I wouldn’t have minded him so much if he didn’t immediately turn and gaze longingly at my leg. A lifter and his spotter over in the corner began to froth blood at the mouth and started smashing their heads into the wall mirrors. They only stopped to lovingly pat each other on the ass.

One of the only female officers who comes here went ballistic with the jump rope, garroting a male PFC who made the fatal mistake of turning his back on her for half a second to piss in his buddy’s water bottle. I’m 99 percent sure he’s dead now. One can only assume I’ll join him before long.

I made it out of the weight room mostly intact and limped toward the bathroom. I had to make a detour through the cardio room due to a fire breaking out in the hallway, and sweet Jesus, what I saw there will haunt me for the rest of my life. One swole-ass NCO from supply was mindlessly doing somersaults on a slow-moving treadmill.

My own first sergeant was using two lieutenants’ heads as sandals while plodding along on the elliptical and spitting on any TV which dared to show a World Cup game. A contractor was swinging a full-size punching bag like a massive fucking hot dog of horror at anyone within reach, and I’m fairly certain he’s the one who TKO’d the teenage girl who works at the front counter. She looked like she’d been lying there for a few minutes judging by the drool.

I made it through to the bathroom, finally. First I tried the steam room, but the mist was already a bit too pink for my comfort. I couldn’t hide in my locker since it’d already been pried open and used to store a poor fucking comm nerd from the S-6. Under the sinks was out of the question – somehow all the electric cables had been ripped through the soft ceiling panels and were sparking near the pools of water.

In the end I made it into the only stall without a limp body in it, which I’m now sharing with the janitor. I’d feel better if he wasn’t side-eyeing me and gripping his mop handle menacingly.

Seriously, if anyone out there is reading this, please send help.

Continue Reading

News

‘I still like beer’ says soldier at 2nd DUI hearing

Published

on

By

CLINTON, Okla. — A National Guard soldier is not backing down in local court about his love for hops, sources confirmed today.

Oklahoma National Guardsman Spc. Demond Dowski appeared before a judge after his second DUI charge in the past 13 months. Dowski was appointed a public defender, saying he could not afford an attorney.

“I figured there was no sense of me getting my own lawyer since I am innocent,” Dowski said. “That is money I could be spending on beer. Know what I mean?”

Dowski denied being blackout drunk and driving while intoxicated, according to 1st Sgt. John Ames, who visited the soldier on the night of the incident.

“He was slurring his words really bad,” Ames said. “I am sure he doesn’t remember any of it because he asked me if I had a beer for him during my visit to the jail that evening.”

Sandra Tomko, Dowski’s public defender, says she told him to appear humble and remorseful for his behavior, but he forcefully defended his actions to the judge and refused to apologize.

“I fully expected him to beg for mercy from the court, but instead he denied everything and then confessed his love for beer,” Tomko remarked in amazement. “I’ve never had a client like this — let alone a soldier like this.”

Duffel Blog has learned that the Oklahoma National Guard has begun discharge paperwork for Dowski while the judge has set a penalty hearing for next month.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending