• Kurt Cobain, Jason Everman, Chad Channing and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana photographed in Hoboken, New Jersey in June 1989. (Ian Tilton/Camera Press, via Redux, Ian Tilton)

    Son of a Gun

    He Left Nirvana for Iraq

    On a night when his former Nirvana band mates were being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jason Everman just wanted to drink in a quiet bar.

    It’s a little past 1 am on Friday morning and the weekend warriors are trying to hail cabs on the streets in Brooklyn. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just held a big concert and I’m on my way to meet a member of Nirvana, one of the bands in the hall’s newest class.

    Jason Everman played with Nirvana in their early days but hasn’t had much time to look over his shoulder and reminisce about his punk rock youth before the ceremony tonight. He spent much of the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a special operations solider.

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  • Sandy Huffaker/Getty

    Afghanistan

    Telling My Kids I'm Going to War

    Before he leaves on another deployment to Afghanistan, a military officer has to break the news to his family.

    Editor’s Note: Nick Willard is the pen name of a service member heading to Afghanistan on one of the final deployments in the closing days of America’s longest war. He will write what he sees in an ongoing feature for The Daily Beast that will appear as regularly as his schedule allows. Biographical details have been changed to protect his identity. 

    I’d known about the deployment to Afghanistan for three months, but made a deal with my wife to not tell the kids until after the holidays. No reason to burden our daughter, the oldest, and boys any sooner than necessary. So we shielded our kids from the impending separation.

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  • Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP

    Shady

    The Taliban’s Shadow Invasion

    On March 1, the Islamabad government cut a deal with the Taliban. And since then, all hell has been breaking loose in neighboring Afghanistan.

    In the last month, the Taliban has killed dozens of people in a string of attacks timed to destabilize Afghanistan ahead of the presidential elections on Saturday.

    Most recently, a suicide bomber breached the heavy security at the Interior Ministry building and blew himself up, killing six police officers. And that may be just a preview, if local Taliban commanders are to be believed.

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  • Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

    Afghanistan

    How I’ll End Our Longest War

    An American military officer leaving on one of the last deployments to Afghanistan before the war ends, writes about his experiences in a new feature for The Daily Beast.

    Editor’s Note:

    Here is an American military officer’s first hand account of war, how it’s fought and how it ends.

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  • President Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of Medal of Honor award recipient U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry after he introduced Obama to speak at the American Latino Heritage Forum in Washington October 12, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    Heroes

    The Medal of Honor Disgrace

    The system for military awards is broken. The Medal of Honor has been awarded only 13 times in more than a decade of conflict while deserving recipients are passed over.

    In the spring of 2005, after my army unit’s return from Iraq, I found myself on stage in a converted Fort Hood chapel to receive a military award for valor. Several other awardees stood at attention beside me. We looked out at the faces of our fellow cavalry troopers, the men in the audience who were not so lucky as to get a medal that day. I knew for a fact, because I had seen it, that some of them had done the exact same thing I had, but would not be receiving any formal recognition for it. One of those men, I recently learned, has had trouble convincing the VA that he served in Iraq at all.

    Correcting similar injustices, last week President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a group of 24 veterans whose valor in conflicts from World War II through Vietnam had been slighted by institutional bigotry. Those who received these awards clearly deserved them, but righting past wrongs doesn’t fix our current problem: last week’s historical Medals of Honor represent almost twice the total number bestowed upon Iraq and Afghanistan veterans over more than a decade of fighting.

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  • Saab

    Now You See It…

    The Best Stealth Fighter

    The U.S. military likes to think it makes the world’s most sophisticated combat aircraft. Think again.

    In 2005, Lockheed Martin labeled the F-35, the stealthy new jet they were building for the Pentagon, as a “fifth-generation” fighter. Ironically, it was a term that they had borrowed from Russia to describe a different stealthy fighter, the F-22. But the term caught on. Some of Lockheed’s rivals tumbled into this rhetorical trap and tried to argue that “fourth-generation” was just as capable—whether it is true or not, making such a case is an uphill struggle.

    But if “fifth-generation” means more than “the ultimate driving machine,” a sixth generation will emerge. Saab—yes, that Saab—can argue that it has built the first such aircraft. The Swedish plane has got a mouthful of a name: the JAS 39E Gripen. But it could well be the future of air combat.

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  • US Marines carry a wounded comrade who has been hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to a Medevac helicopter. (AFP/Getty)

    Invisible Wounds

    An Amazing New Way to Fix Trauma

    Thanks to a new invention, we’re finally learning how to diagnose and treat the lingering affects of explosive events that have led to a mass of traumatic brain injuries in veterans.

    In 2011, Scott Featherman was in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a scout platoon leader with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. He patrolled on foot, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) filled the donkey paths that crisscrossed the wadis and hills.

    “I was hit several times when I was over,” he says, “and you have no clue if you’re hurt. You get back up, say “Am I good? Looks good.” And then you go back out.”

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  • U.S. Army PFC Lawrence S. Gordon was killed in Normandy on Aug. 13, 1944 in Normandy. He was mistakenly buried as a German unknown soldier in a cemetery in France. His family produced exhaustive research that pointed to Gordon’s whereabouts, but the U.S. military didn’t act on the case. Instead the French and German governments moved forward to exhume Gordon and identify him with DNA. (Courtesy of Gordon family)

    Finally Home

    The WWII Hero America Abandoned

    For more than 50 years, Army PFC Lawrence S. Gordon was mistakenly interred as a German soldier in a cemetery in France. The U.S. never corrected the mistake.

    U.S. Army Private First Class Lawrence S. Gordon—killed in Normandy in 1944, then mistakenly buried as a German soldier—will soon be going home to his family.

    But don’t thank the American military for this belated return. The Pentagon declined to act on his case, despite exhaustive research by civilian investigators that pointed to the location of his remains.

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  • Two F-22 Raptors fly over the Pacific Ocean. (Getty)

    Pentagon Not Ready for Cold War 2

    The U.S. military spent decades pivoting away from its Cold War stance. Now the Pentagon is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

    There’s an old saying in the military that we’re always training for the last war, so fixated on the lessons of our most recent conflict that we’re blind to the emerging threat.

    For years, that last war was the Cold War, and the emerging threat was the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. Slowly, painfully, eventually, the military reoriented itself. The result? After more than two decades of post Cold War re-alignment, the military is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

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  • Army Public Affairs

    Go Green

    Meet the Original 'Fighting Irish’

    The 69th Infantry Regiment will lead New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade as they have for over a century. Dubbed the “Fighting 69th” in the Civil War the unit maintains its traditions.

    Legend has it that when the 69th Infantry Regiment first led New York’s St. Patrick’s day parade in the 1850s, soldiers marched with bayonets fixed to their loaded rifles. The militiamen of the “Fighting Irish,” as the 69th came to be known, were ready to protect their fellow marchers from the know nothings (think Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York), violent nativists who vilified the Irish as an immigrant plague.

    A lot has changed since those days. Gone are the “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” signs, and while the fighting 69th remains an immigrant unit, the Rodriguez’s now outnumber the O’Malleys. Some traditions remain, though. A Gaelic greeting is used for the unit motto and Irish wolfhounds march ahead of soldiers as sentinels in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which the 69th Infantry Regiment (a unit I served in off and on from 2005-2011) will lead as it has done every year since 1851.

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