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OPINION: America’s Military Needs Softer, More Stealable PTs



The following is an opinion article written by your girlfriend.

The new Army Physical Training Uniform is slowly rolling out across American military posts and bedroom floors. And I have to say, I’m disappointed at the wasted opportunity. They fit poorly, the colors aren’t stylish, and they might be warm during a five-mile formation run, but they aren’t that warm when I’m walking across campus to get a latte before class. Basically, they’re a trophy no one wants.

America’s girlfriends need softer, fleecier, more stealable PTs. Maybe something from North Face?

The old, gray army shirt had kind of an Urban Outfitters thing going on, but the new one makes me feel like a bumblebee. Not even a sexy bumblebee like last year at Halloween. Joint Chiefs, I’m rolling my eyes at you right now. The less than 1% of Americans who are banging the troops deserve better.

I literally can’t even.

I even filled out that survey for the new PTs, and made very specific suggestions about making the secret pocket large enough for my iPhone, a cropped capri option and cuter winter hats. I don’t think anyone is listening.

Lately, it’s been looking like the Army, the Air Force and the Navy have all taken a page out of the same ugly book. The baggy shorts are impossible, even if I cut out the lining and roll the waist. The wicking shirts look awful layered over leggings. Those jackets with the reflective stripe say “Ugh” to me, not “wear Uggs with me.”

Once I stole a reflective belt out of desperation, because neon is totally in right now.

At least the Navy has taken to totes adorbs bright colors. But then it’s bright yellow, a color that blondes absolutely cannot wear with their skin tone. This makes absolutely no sense and shows how little the navy values its girlfriends in their planning. I don’t know a single blonde that wants to steal that shirt, and sailors love blondes.

While I’m at it, why don’t more units make awesome matchy hoodies? Something cute with like crossed swords or an eagle like the kind from Abercrombie. They’re the best to wear over my gym clothes, and it makes me feel extra special when I have to give it back before formation because it’s the only one he has.

Apparently, PTs are expensive now. It used to be a girl could sneak off with enough “ARMY” shirts for the whole sorority house and no one complained. Now you take just one jacket and it’s all “I have to wear that to work sweetheart please give that back or else we’re not going to Cheesecake Factory on Friday.” Does he have any idea how much Lululemon costs? I’d buy him like four of those jackets for what my new Zumba bag cost, but the stupid Clothing And Sales won’t let me buy the stuff with my daddy’s credit card as the only proof of military status.

My mother’s generation got the soft, gray-white Army PTs. America’s soldiers were so soft to the touch and really put the goods on display. Remember the marshmallow sweats? I have a couple of sets that look great with my “PINK” yoga pants. That was when the military understood girlfriends. I’ve tried the gray-whites, and honestly, I can’t keep my hands off myself when I wear them.

At least the Marine Corps gets it right. The shorts look just as nice on a fit Marine as they look over my bikini. Plus, I always just feel so, you know, safe, when I sleep next to a Marine. Too bad I have to drive to some shitty town in the middle of nowhere just to get my hands on one of those fleeces.

Joint Chiefs, Senior NCOs, think of those who are supporting those who serve. Don’t we deserve better? Do you really want us to look cold and sloppy instead of cute and sloppy? Your after midnight snapchats are on the line.

BlondesOverBaghdad always lets someone else have the top block, because that's the selfless service thing to do. She'll go to Ranger School as soon as there's a 2-beer per day policy. @BlondsOvrBaghd on Twitter.

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Opinion: I secretly want you to pet my service dog



The following is an opinion piece by the disabled veteran whose service dog you are about to pet despite the clearly printed warning against that on his harness.

Pay no attention to the large embroidered letters that read “SERVICE DOG: DO NOT PET” on my dog’s blood red vest. I want you to pet Max. Go on, do it.

It’s fantastic when you distract him from his one job, making sure I don’t lose my shit in public. The truth is, I desperately want you to pet my service dog so that I can just melt down in this grocery store while you block him from getting to me. I come alive when anxiety floods my veins, sweat pours down my IED-kissed back, and my highly-trained service animal’s face is being lovingly smooshed by a stranger in a “Support the Troops” shirt. Don’t mind Max’s squirms to get away from you and back to his job. He’s just excited to get manhandled for the fiftieth time today.

I get it — Max is so cute. He can pick up my dropped pills when my nerve damage kicks in or plop his heavy head in my lap to lower my blood pressure. But his true purpose in life is to respond to you cooing at him and announcing that he looks just like your dog Charlie.

If service dogs really weren’t designed for petting, disabled vets like me would hobble around with a honey badger or chihuahua — anything but an adorable black lab.

Also, I am so grateful you donated to Hero Dog that one time (I got Max from Puppies Behind Bars, but whatever, they’re all the same). It’s almost like you paid for him. Max is practically your dog! Get a selfie! Or better yet, just let me take the picture for you.

What kind of selfish prick would I be to deny you? Your tax dollars paid for my military service, injury, and delayed VA benefits. Max is our service dog. So go on, scratch his ass. You’ve earned it. I’ll just be over here riding this panic attack alone until you’re done.

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Opinion: Are we dead or just in Kuwait?

An existential op-ed written by your squad leader in Camp Buehring, Kuwait.





Guys, I have to come clean: I don’t think we survived this past deployment. I don’t really feel anything anymore. The color has run out of the world. All is awash in browns, grays, dust and burning, stifling, ball-sweat inducing heat. We must question our purpose, the point of it all. Are we dead or just in Kuwait?

Why are we here? Is there nothing other than absurdity in this bleached pan of our waking nightmares? Is there nothing more than watching how many Kuwaiti soldiers it takes to devour that foreign delicacy chocolate cake?

Has life been reduced to watching other living, breathing service members — not merely our own, but the entire Western world’s — go on real deployments? This can’t be Hell, can it? Hell does not have a gym or an MWR. (Or does it?)

I’m certain Hell has better chicken wings.

Was it Kierkegaard who once said, “we shall not decide which life fights the good fight most easily, but we all agree that every human being ought to fight the good fight? Unless of course they’re sentenced to this godforsaken desert by the Military Intelligence Readiness Command?”

Trust me, that was purely rhetorical.

I’m pretty sure this place was the last thing Camus saw flash in front of his eyes before the crash. We are condemned to be free, but what is the nature of this freedom? Condemned to roll our laundry into balls repeatedly, like some modern Sisyphus?

The freedom to complain about internet lag or the sheer lack of Black Panther on haji disk? Was life ever more meaningless?

Wait. That’s why I can’t remember Iraq. That was a lifetime ago, when we believed in COIN and David Petraeus. We are assigned here. This is life now. Somewhere between smelling a burn pit here and the meth back in Fort Huachuca.

We aren’t dead, but we are in hell.

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Marine Corps

Opinion: I am very tired

By Gen. Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps



Good Morning, Marines.

As the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, it is my distinct privilege to lead and serve you in this unique and essential war-fighting organization. Despite the hardship of this position and the responsibility it entails, working alongside our dedicated Marines and Sailors has been one of my life’s greatest joys.

However, one thing has weighed heavily on my mind these past few years, a confession that needs to be made before God and man, alike. Fellow Marines, I, Gen. Robert Neller, am very tired.

I’m just exhausted. I’ve been doing this shit since 1975, and I’ve got to tell you, man, I’m pooped. I legitimately can’t remember the last time I slept. I think I took a nap in the Pentagon parking lot last week before a meeting with Dunford, but I’m really not sure.

I mean, what kind of shitty-ass job is this when I can’t let my head hit the fucking pillow without some cracked-out aide telling me a 28-year-old staff sergeant in Miramar texted a picture of his ding-dong to a lance corporal and now its on Reddit. What-the-literal-fuck, Marines?

Or how about this, the other night, I was having dinner with my wife — who, by the way, has seen me about four times in the past eight weeks — when I get a call from Gen. Berger, who’s like, hey Commandant, guess what, a 7-ton in Okinawa just crashed into a light pole, and now you have to speak to the fucking Japanese Prime Minister. Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

Listen up idiots. I get it. This isn’t a zero-defect organization. Mistakes happen. I’m fucking tracking.

But you assholes — and I’m speaking to everyone subordinate to me, which is literally all of you — need to get your heads out of your buttholes, for… I don’t know… the next three hours.

Just let me rack out under my desk. I mean this. I will call a Marine Corps-wide safety stand down if it means I can take a nap.

Bottom line, Marines: It’s not easy at the top.

So next time you think about drinking and driving or smoking near a fuel pump or breaking into the amnesty box, please reconsider. Remember, protect what you’ve earned and let me sleep. If you have any questions, I’m in the fucking Global.

Gen. Robert Neller is the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Commander, Marine Forces Command from July 2014 to September 2015 and Commander, Marine Forces Central Command from September 2012 to June 2014. He hasn’t had a full eight hours of sleep since around 1997.

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Opinion: Is there someone with a little more experience who could draw my blood?




An Op-Ed by Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Juarez, while awaiting his bi-annual HIV blood draw.

Listen, HN3 Jones. I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, but I can see your hands are shaking a bit as you’re preparing that needle and supplies to draw my blood. How about you take a deep breath or two and just relax for a minute. I know that you spent months training to do this and it will be fine.

Oh, not months? Phlebotomy is just a two-day course? You just checked in from the schoolhouse too, eh? I see.

All folks deserve a chance to learn their job through hands-on work, and I wish you all the best in your career, I do. However, the last time I came in, a fellow HN3 of yours stabbed the needle through my vein and into my bone.

The experience left me vomiting in pain on the floor.

The time before that, I was trying to donate blood for the clinic’s drive for our deployed warriors. I’m O-Negative, which you are in desperate need of, so despite my misgivings based on past experience, I came in right away. A fellow HN3 of yours spent 15 minutes poking the needle into my arm in different places and wiggling it around trying to get the blood to flow. Not only did she fail to get more than five drops of blood, but she left my arm so bruised, the next morning my CO asked if my boyfriend was abusing me.

Back in April, after four months of calling to make an appointment, only to be told it was Shipmate Day or Admiral So-and-so’s birthday picnic or that the clinic was closed for training, I finally was able to get an appointment for some blood work. The only slot available was two days before my PFT, unfortunately, because the technician messed up both arms so badly that I could only manage three agonizing, barely valid pull-ups, instead of my usual 25.

So, based on that history, I would like to respectfully ask that maybe your most senior HN1, or perhaps a vascular surgeon, could come draw my blood.

Oh, they aren’t available? I think I will actually just take my chances with HIV then.

Duffel Blog writers Addison Blue and Stormtrooper and the entire military contributed to this article.

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Opinion: It’s not ready-to-eat. You have to open, mix, and heat it




The following is an opinion piece by the Specialist with a juris doctorate degree in your Basic Training platoon.

The Meal: Ready-to-Eat military ration is one of the greatest myths perpetrated on our nation’s armed forces. Despite its name, the meal is anything but prepared for human consumption.

First, you have to open the box the foodstuffs come in, choose one of the menu options, trade it with someone else for a better one, and then cut open the plastic bag everything is contained in. This already proves that the meal is not ready-to-eat, but the Department of Defense adds insult to injury.

You must then open the main entree’s box within the bag, then open the heater, then insert the meal into the heater, add water, lean it on a rock or something, wait for 10 minutes while it cooks, and then you must still open the meal’s pouch, burn your tongue, and blow on the food to cool it down.

Ready to eat? My ass.

This doesn’t even factor in the steps and time necessary to add your jalapeño cheese spread or any other condiments. Is the milk shake ready to eat, or is it exempt because you don’t eat it, you gag on it? Can you eat the creamer right away, or are you expected to mix it with the suppository of coffee-flavored ashes?

But while we’re on the subject: is the whole experience really even a meal, or just a random assortment of snack foods? Do you really even eat it, or simply ingest it as fast as you can for basic survival purposes?

I demand that the name be removed, and I suggest that we now call it Calories: Some Assembly Required (CSAR)

Your move, Pentagon.

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Opinion: ‘The Greatest Generation’ — What have they done for us lately?




The following is an op-ed by Chaz Daniels. It was cross-posted at Total Frat Move.

The Greatest Generation? Fuck those guys. Winning World War II was a big deal, but what have they done since?

I don’t know about you, but I can go whole days without thinking about World War II. Then all of a sudden, it’ll be a day like Veterans Day and I’m supposed to care? Get over yourself, Greatest Generation.

Let’s look at some “famous” World War II Veterans, like John McCain. What a hot, leaking bag of trash. He may have won World War II, but then he picked a fight with Barack Obama and crashed his ship into another ship. Not okay, John. Not okay.

If you’re that “Great,” greatest generation, why don’t you help out? It took you like five years to win World War II. So if I did the math right, you could have one the war in Afghanistan THREE TIMES BY NOW. But no, you won’t help. So what’s great about that?

And what’s up with baby boomers?  I would think if you added up one great person with one great person it would equal another great person, but no. All those Greatest Generation types just made baby boomers, who whine constantly, skipped Vietnam, and made a bunch of millennials. It’s a slip-n-slide of suck over there.

I once saw this movie Band of Brothers about this Greatest Generation guy Dick Winters. As a first lieutenant he parachuted into Normandy in the early hours of D-Day and then fought his way across France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. He was a humble, servant leader in that movie, but that movie was FICTION and exactly the kind of dumpster liner stuff the Greatest Generation would like you to believe about them.

Hey, I like World War II a lot, it’s definitely my favorite of the World Wars trilogy, but the more I think about it, the more I think the Greatest Generation is not for me. Okay, gramps, you got a couple of good years in there, but it’s time to finish strong. Are you going to loaf around in the wheelchair, or help the country out? Looks more like the lamest generation to me.

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Opinion: As a veteran, my opinion counts more than yours



By William Smolinski

There are a lot of opinions out in the world each day. People share their opinions about politics, review movies, or talk about their favorite cooking recipes.

But, as a veteran, I’d like you to keep in mind that my opinion counts more than yours.

I know this may seem unfair. The Constitution guarantees us both the right to freedom of speech, and the free sharing of ideas amongst people of different backgrounds, experiences, and occupations is one of the things that makes this country great.

But I laid my life on the line as a member of the United States Army, where I learned things like selfless service, treating everyone around me with dignity and respect, and being technically and tactically proficient, which means I also earned the right to always know more than you about the topic you are currently passionate about.

Now I know that it makes sense to have knowledge of a subject before debating it, which is why when I make my views known to my fellow Americans, I use facts found after a quick Google search, offer analysis with no basis in reality, and mention my time in the military at least once per paragraph.

This all makes sense to the vast majority of veterans. Most recruiters can tell you that just enlisting in the military makes you an expert on everything from military strategy to film production to complicated scientific theories. But this fact may not be so well known among civilians.

It’s okay. You never served our country, so it’s doubtful you’ll ever understand.

But still, let’s take for instance, a recent op-ed by The New York Times editorial board, in which they argue against arming teachers in response to school shootings. I’m sorry, but, as a veteran, I disagree. I know what the business end of an AK-47 looks like, and The New York Times editorial board doesn’t, so this argument is over.

Or take a recent article in The Washington Post by columnist Max Boot. He argues that President Barack Obama was weak on Russia, but President Donald Trump is even weaker. That’s a really interesting take, Mr. Boot, but did you even serve in the military under either of them as commander-in-chief?

There will always be common ground between everyday Americans and those who have protected their freedom. But freedom has a special flavor the protected will never know, and, since I protected you, I’d appreciate your thanks and deference at all times.

As a veteran, I know I earned it.

William Smolinski is a U.S. Army infantry veteran who deployed near Baghdad, Iraq in 2004 and 2007, which means he is an expert on all areas of Iraq, counterinsurgency theory, the opinion of all 1.6 billion Muslims, strategy in Afghanistan, Naval surface warfare, and what the president should be doing at all times, among many other topics.

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Opinion: I support the troops 100% as long as they agree 100% with my political views



army soldiers running

By Doug Abernathy

The troops, right? I love ’em. They’re the unequaled heroes of the free world. No one can come close to their celestial presence. They’re angels in camouflage. They can do no wrong. The longer we have these wars the longer we can enjoy their glories.

But there’s a dangerous aspect of the troops. There’s a specter haunting our concept of Liberty. Some of the troops don’t think exactly like me when it comes to politics. It’s actually a lot of them. We need to put an end to it.

If the troops don’t think exactly like me on all matters of politics, from my interpretation of the constitution, to economics, to social issues, then there’s a good chance they’re no troops at all.

Because why would all of these holy beacons of freedom ever question how I see the world? They wouldn’t. Those aren’t the troops that I know — even though the only troops I know are from my exact online communities that I have handpicked to substantiate my ironclad views of the world.

The most important thing we can do to handle all of these so-called “troops” who don’t think 100% like me is question their service in general. They need to know that I don’t think they ever served at all if they argue with anything I say online, and if they prove they served, it means they were poop troops.

They’re a homogenous lot that can only survive in the American lifestyle if they all think the same no matter their geographical, religious, political, racial, and overall socioeconomic upbringings. And none of them better test my worldview. I will make them pay by questioning whether they even served.

When you put on a uniform — which I’ve never done because I had some minor physical problems that excluded me from service — you accept a level of responsibility. It’s not the responsibility of dying or possibly dying in endless wars that I have deemed just and honorable. It’s the responsibility of thinking exactly like me on everything. If you don’t, I will make sure you regret ever having served our country and having an opinion as a result.

Thank you for your service. Unless we’re not on the same page.

Doug Abernathy is a retired truck driver. He lives in Atlanta.

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