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Opinion: Dear veteran community, it’s not you, it’s me

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By Jason Collins

Writing this letter has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in years. It’s been a long time coming, but everything that follows comes from the heart.

First let me just say that you’ve been great. When I got back from my third tour and was struggling with alcoholism, post-traumatic stress, and a messy divorce, you were there for me with everything from funny and sometimes racist memes, to irreverent bumper stickers and cool gun videos.

I can’t really place my finger on when I first realized there was a problem, but I think it may have been one morning when I was furiously typing out a rant against some lib-tard whore who had posted an article saying we should treat illegal immigrants with respect. While I hadn’t actually read the article, the link was being passed around all the veteran social media sites and everyone was pretty fired up about it.

Then, under the comment of the second “Democrats are un-American communists” meme, someone posted the author’s hacked phone number and home address.

Yet I was shocked to discover I didn’t want to call and deliver a hate-filled rant to a complete stranger.

So I logged off, slipped on my combat veteran-designed flip flops and DD-214 robe, and went out to the porch swing to think. As I sat there sipping Black Rifle coffee from an “I served” mug and watched my Gadsden flag sway in the breeze, I knew something was seriously wrong with me.

But things only got worse in the weeks that followed. For example, one day a soldier from my old platoon posted a picture of his new tattoo. It was a full back portrait of one of our NCOs who had been decapitated by a rocket-propelled grenade while standing next to me during a gunfight.

While everyone else commented with tearful “He’d love that! RIP Dawg” and “See U in Valhalla bRotHer!” all I could think was, Jesus, that’s a terrible portrait. And Sgt. Smith always hated you.

What was happening?

Then last month I was leaving the mall parking lot, and through my OEF/OIF combat veteran window decals I saw two young Marines home on leave beating the shit out of a 14-year-old wearing a faded camouflage jacket. They were both wearing their issued combat backpacks, tan boots, and dog-tags on the outside of their tucked-in Death Before Dishonor t-shirts.

With spittle flying from his acne-scarred face, the larger one screamed “stolen valor” and kicked the young man in the head, while the other cheered him on and shouted that his grandfather who “butt-fucked Nazis all across Europe” would be rolling over in his grave if he could see what the teenager was wearing.

Normally I would have pulled out my phone and immediately streamed the video to the Spartan Valor Freedom Watch Defenders Facebook page, but instead I called 911 and reported two guys assaulting a kid. After that I knew things were near the breaking point.

During my last job interview I actually forgot to wear all three of my memorial bracelets, and a few days ago I went on a date and didn’t mention the military or combat even once.

It hurts me to say this, but I don’t even enjoy watching former-soldiers-turned Instagram celebrities shoot guns in the desert anymore. And seeing a Medal of Honor recipient shill tactical gear no longer makes me reach for my credit card.

I’ve even found myself questioning a former soldier’s ability to go on cable news shows and comment on global strategic policy despite having a single six-month deployment to Kuwait.

So look, I’m just going to rip the Band-Aid off. This isn’t working.

Please don’t try and contact me. I’ve cancelled all of my monthly t-shirt subscriptions and already finished my first book not written by a Navy SEAL. It actually wasn’t bad.

I’ve decided to get away from all this. I still love you, and you’ve given me memories that can never be replaced, but it’s over.

But please understand: it’s not you, it’s me.

Jason Collins is a former U.S. Army infantryman. After leaving the military and walking around with a chip on his shoulder, he finally decided to stop acting like a pretentious douchebag and reintegrate into society like the veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam before him.

Miscellaneous

Pearl Harbor survivor unhappy with Mitsubishi Memorial Day sale

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HONOLULU, Hawaii — Local World War II veteran Johnny Thompson is unhappy with the nature of the this past weekend’s sale at his local Mitsubishi dealership in honor of Memorial Day.

“I get this sinking feeling when it comes to commercialism that takes advantage of a day to honor our fallen brothers in arms,” Thompson told reporters. “It’s like they are trying to torpedo their American competition.”

“Honestly, this whole event snuck up on me,” he added.

The “Zero down, zero interest for 24 months, and no payments for six months” promotion was a surprise event for local consumers, despite the fact that the dealership is known for its tagline of “Deals! Deals! Deals!” According to Ken Yamamoto, General Sales Manager at Tora Tora Mitsubishi, the offer began at 7:53 AM on Sunday but only lasted for a little under two hours. The company’s sister dealerships in the Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island offered a similar promotion starting ten hours later.

“Our competition there never saw it coming, despite the fact that our sales blitz was all over AFN,” Yamamoto added.

Thompson believes that the problem may just be cultural differences. “Why can’t Mitsubishi just leave and make room for decent manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW?” he asked. 

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Army

ENDGAME SPOILER: Captain America kills himself in VA parking lot post credits

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NEW YORK CITY – A Marvel spokesperson confirmed today that recently released “Avengers: End Game” featured a post-credits scene of Captain America killing himself outside a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in downtown New York.

The popular franchise character had been the center of numerous rumors about his mental state following Thanos’ cull in “Avengers: Infinity War” last year. Fellow Avengers had expressed concerns about their beloved comrade largely based around reported alcoholism and indicators of serious post-traumatic stress in the days and weeks leading up to his apparent suicide.

“Its just so hard to believe” stated philanthropist playboy Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. “The old man survived Nazis, being frozen for 70 years, and The Snap only to go and kill himself in some parking lot? Who DOES that?”

While not much is known at press time, key experts are quick to caution that the investigation is still ongoing, but many suspect the 98-year-old Army veteran suffered massive blunt force trauma to the skull as a result of a self-inflicted shield-throw to the head.

VA officials quickly released a statement commenting that actor Chris Evans is neither dead nor a veteran, but it did little to quell the outrage many people feel about the scene. Protests have erupted across the country outside both VA facilities and movie theaters demanding answers and justice for the fictional character.

“Its outrageous!” screamed some neck-beard in a ridiculously logo’d t-shirt. “He is a hero and did not deserve to die like that. Quite frankly, it’s unjust, unforgivable, un-American, and its not even canon to the comic books!”

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News

VA releases new “Sleep Sounds” app to fight veteran insomnia

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that they would release a new white noise app to help veterans with insomnia go back to the last place they felt safe, secure, and ready to drift into four hours of fitful sleep.

“We found that when these service members were serving, they could sleep anywhere,” said Dr. Stacey Clarke, VA’s Chief Sleep Scientist. “They could sleep on a rucksack, in the back of a Humvee, or on top of a stranger when they drunkenly stumbled into the wrong barracks room. Then they get to the VA and ‘can’t sleep.’ This app is an important step to self care.”

The app begins with tracks that encourage a meditative state of pretending you don’t hear anything, like track 1 “ass-chewing in the distance,” track 3 “volunteers for cigarette butt police call,” and track 7 “roommate beating of two feet away from you.” As you wade further into sleep, the app automatically drifts into tracks that make the service member feel as though the sleep will last forever, like the 45-minute track “continuously piggy-backed operations and intelligence briefing.”

Though the app is intended for sleeping, many veterans have found low-level distracting noise makes gives their mundane, post-service life the special ambiance they missed from their service.

“I work in a cubicle now,” said former Spec. Jeff Cramer, “I thought updating excel spreadsheets was boring. But once I started playing tracks 18 ‘squelch/hot mic-ing,’ 22 ‘talking guns’ and 37 ‘boots asking dumb questions,’ it made my job seem so much more interesting. I understand how staff officers get hooked on it.”

For those looking for a longer loop, the app includes the realistic “constant tinnitus,” the joyful “Iraqi children begging you for chocolate,” and the soothing, zen-like “bored rock throwing.”

The app will soon have a version that can override the phone’s volume settings, intended for artillerymen.

Danger Close basically wrote this story.

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News

Veteran insecure about not having USAA card at group lunch

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NORFOLK, Va. — A veteran found himself in an predicament when it came time to pay for his traditional wing combo after a group lunch break at the local Buffalo Wild Wings — he did not have a USAA card, sources confirmed today.

Navy veteran Phil Cohen watched in utter humiliation as coworker after coworker placed down USAA debit and credit cards to split the check.

“I was right about to flip out my Diner’s Club card when I just froze and realized I’m not part of the whole USAA club,” said Cohen. “There wasn’t enough cash in my wallet, so I had to go through several scenarios on how to handle the situation — pretend someone stole my wallet, go to the bathroom and never come back, or pour the rest of my beer on my head and plead insanity.”

Cohen began sweating profusely before sliding his card across the table, according to his co-workers.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why does he hate freedom?’ and ‘Doesn’t he know he can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase?’ He’s probably been paying ATM fees this whole time!” said Tim Howell, a member of the USAA cult.

Other coworkers report Cohen probably could have asked for someone to spot him. However, it seemed like he was going to spontaneously combust.

“We all calmly asked him to join us in unison, to join the USAA clan, to pledge allegiance to savings and military friendly discounts. That seemed to make things worse,” said Jennie Aldrich, whose USAA face tattoo made it clear where her loyalty lies.

“They probably think I’m a Russian operative pretending to be American. What if they mention this during my next clearance interview? Am I going to have to start having lunch alone? I’m so sad,” Cohen said.

Cohen added that he has been using the General Car Insurance, that his bank is SunTrust Bank, and he has been investing through his cousin Steve who “has lots of stocks.”

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News

“The VA is doing a great job” finds joint study by prescription drug, alcohol industries

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs received high praise from a study commissioned by the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries published today.

“The VA is doing an exceptional job providing just the right level of care and shouldn’t change a thing,” according the study. The findings stands in direct opposition to earlier criticism from veterans, congress, and anyone else who has ever interacted with the VA for any reason.

The report cites as evidence the number of veterans not receiving care despite their experiences, injuries, or requests to receive care.

“These are heroes who have served their country honorably, so, obviously, if they really needed care, the VA would get it for them,” stated Pfizer spokesman Tom Schnettler. “The fact that so many don’t receive care clearly shows how good the VA is at determining they don’t need it.”

The report also outlines how effective the VA is at managing the delicate transition soldiers have to make from active duty — where trauma is managed via Motrin and beer — to veteran status where pain is managed with opioids and also beer.

The majority of negative sentiment about the VA comes from haters and losers who would rather troops do lame, commie stuff like yoga, according to the study.

“If these fine American’s want to enjoy powerful prescription meds, whiskey, and UFC pay-per-views at many times the national average, they’ve earned that right,” said alcohol executive Nickolas Plum.

The study notes all numbers are normalized to remove accounting for individuals who served but now smoke marijuana on occasion as they are snowflake traitors to the nation and not true veterans.

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Army

Veteran didn’t risk his life at Bagram Pizza Hut just to see U.S. and Taliban sign peace deal

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professional veteran

A local Army veteran expressed outrage this morning over talks of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal, saying he didn’t risk his life during a two-month deployment to Bagram Airbase “just to see the war end like this.”

Cody Bennett started his protest on social media after U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad began negotiations with the Taliban to end the war. As one of the “elite one percent” who join the military, Bennett says most Americans won’t understand his point of view, but somebody needs to speak truth to power.

“Me and my boys put too much on the line out there just to see these spineless politicians settle for peace,” said the former administrative clerk who was sent home early due to bone spurs suffered on the base gym’s elliptical machine. “Are my blood, sweat and tears worth nothing?”

Bennett claims that he and other veterans often had to combat issues like minimal selection at the base Pizza Hut as well as long lines and limited hours at the dining facility.

“A large pizza for sixteen dollars? I put my life on the line day in and day out, and they’re going to try to swill me for sixteen dollars? On top of that, they never use enough sauce,” said Bennett, who never came within 200 meters of the base’s perimeter and was administratively separated from the Army for being overweight.

“Those guys, the ones like me that held the line for their country despite slightly below average dining standards compared to middle-class American expectations, those are the true heroes,” he added. Don’t talk to me about peace or freedom until you’ve had to live through that hell.”

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Duffel Blog Presents

Duffel Blog Presents: 6 signs that your spouse is a Dudependa

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Due to a variety of policy changes, the U.S. military is witnessing a drastic rise in the number of adult male dependents. While conducting studies about how to best serve this previously overlooked demographic, the Department of Defense has discovered an entirely new sub-classification of the species: the “dudependa.”

The dudependa shares many traits with its closest living relative, the “dependapotamus” but is a unique and beautiful creature in its own right. Here are 6 signs that your spouse might be a Dudependa:

1. He’s entangled in a pyramid scheme selling supplements for a sketchy online supplier.

Sure, he calls it a multi-level marketing “opportunity” and identifies himself as an “independent CEO” on his Facebook, but you don’t quite know what to do when massive quantities of weird, questionably legal chemicals from the former Yugoslavia show up on your doorstep on an irregular basis. At least he seems happy trying to peddle his wares to all the other husbands on base who are already deeply indebted to the same, likely very dangerous people. #Bossbro

2. He’s cheating on you with a Crossfit instructor/semi-professional sugar daddy yacht model named Jodi.

You’re not quite sure why she’s even interested in him since he gained all that beer and Hot Pocket weight during your last deployment. It’s probably some combination of her insurmountable insecurity and the fact that he wears the same cologne as her dad.

3. He shows up at military ball in inappropriately tight tux so the whole unit can talk about the bulge on Monday morning.

And that doesn’t even include the part where he got blackout drunk, started crying and vomited on the XO’s wife. At least he’s hot.

4. He spends your re-enlistment bonus on calf implants.

To be fair, you’d pay any sum of money to get him to stop whining about how he looks like Mr. Incredible or SpongeBob’s “Larry the Lobster.” Other breeds of dudependa have also been known to siphon off their old lady’s cash to buy Xbox games, Nerf firearm accessories, and/or the devil’s lettuce.

5. He pumps out babies (with other women)

Do half of the toddlers on base look eerily similar or is it just you?

6. He attends girl’s night out with your sailors’ spouses but won’t spill their secrets

You’ve never seen this big of a gossip consistently pretend to take the moral high ground in refusal to divulge someone’s dirty laundry. He’s basically a “Sex and the City” character.

BONUS:

He asks for a military discount at the food court.

He cuts the husbands of lower-ranking sailors in line for the bench-press

His favorite phrases are “Do you know who my wife is?” and “We made chief.”

 

Blondes Over Baghdad, The Shammer, and LT Original G contributed to reporting

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News

VA tells veterans to use self-aid, buddy-aid before asking for appointment with doctor

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PHOENIX, Ariz. – Overcome by congressional inquiries, bad press, and the smell of decaying bodies in its waiting rooms, the Veterans Health Administration released a statement today telling veterans to use self-aid and buddy-aid before attempting to make a doctor’s appointment.

“We figured out that we didn’t need to improve our processes or hire more physicians,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We just needed to reduce the number of appointments to lower our waiting times.”

Wilkie told reporters that mandating self-aid and buddy-aid prior to requesting an appointment will help patients get seen within the VA’s current “Golden Year” timeline for routine appointments and “Platinum Ten Months” for patients with more life-threatening ailments.

To assist veterans in helping themselves and their comrades in arms, the VA is launching the “Pre-Hospital Assistance Program.” PHAP (pronounced fap), is modeled after the Army’s “Combat Lifesaver Program” where soldiers deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan learned how to give IVs, apply tourniquets, and get shot down by the sturdy female medics who taught the class.

In addition to training on emergency medical techniques, veterans enrolled in the rigorous ten-minute PHAP course will learn how to dispense kidney-quivering amounts of Motrin, apply snake oil to cancerous tumors caused by burn pits, and other pain prolonging measures to help their former brothers and sisters in arms.

“I think it’s a super idea,” said retired Army Spec. Alan Carnegie as he applied a makeshift tourniquet to a CPR mannequin’s neck. Carnegie, a signals intelligence collector who was medically retired for chronic vaginitis, is one of the first trainees in the pilot program.

“I’d just be sitting in my truck, posting rants about respecting the national anthem or stolen valor. Now, I can help Smitty over here manage his Rip It induced diabetes.”

The VA says it remains dedicated to caring for the nation’s veterans. They just need to take care of themselves and each other first.

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