• Sandy Huffaker/Getty


    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.

  • Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP


    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.

  • First lady Michelle Obama (2nd R) waves as she stands with Acting Fort Hood Police Chief Mark Alan Todd (L), Federal Police Officer Kimberly Munley (2nd L). (Jason Reed/Reuters)


    The Army vs. The Hero of Ft. Hood

    Kimberly Munley was shot three times taking down Nidal Hasan in 2009. Then she got laid off. Yet she’s never stopped fighting for the victims the military ‘betrayed.’

    Just as in the last mass shooting at Fort Hood, the massacre on Wednesday ended when the gunman was confronted by a very brave policewoman.

    “It was clearly heroic what she did at that moment in time,” Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said of the officer in the more recent horror.

  • Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chris Hondros/Getty


    Food Stamps Rise in Military Homes

    Increasing since the 2008 recession.

    The families of American service members are increasingly forced to rely on food stamps to get by. Since 2007, the amount of money military families redeem in food stamps has jumped from $24.8 million to $103.6 million in 2013. Thirty percent of spouses of active-duty military members ages 18 to 24 are unemployed. The base salary for a new solider with a spouse and child is about $20,000 a year, just above the poverty line. The growth in food-stamp redemption has slowed, though: 2013 saw a 5 percent increase, compared to 2012, which saw a 13 percent uptick.

    Read it at CNN
  • One of the two students shot inside Martin Luther King High School, on the anniversary of the slain civil rights leader's birth, is evacuated from the school on a stretcher. Police say a troubled teen who rarely shows up for school eluded metal detectors and opened fire in a crowded hallway. (New York Daily News Archive/Getty)


    Forcing Medics Into Live Fire

    A new study suggesting first responders enter “warm zones” in mass shooting instead of waiting may be a different approach, but a paramedic and Army infantryman says it’s a good move.

    As someone who spent the last 15 years working as a paramedic in the U.S. and over 3 years in Iraq as an Army infantryman and as a medic for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, I’ve seen the tides change on how we are told to respond to incidents and treat trauma patients.

    A new study from FEMA, (PDF) endorsed by the Obama administration and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), is recommending that medical first responders should enter “warm zones” in mass shooting situations, instead of waiting until an area has been fully cleared by law enforcement, so that they can begin administering immediate treatment. 

  • Carl Higbie (Carl Higbie)

    Fighting Back

    Navy SEAL Stripped of Honor

    Carl Higbie claims that after almost eight years of exemplary service he was railroaded out of the military and had his honorable discharge revoked for publishing a book.

    Carl Higbie survived almost a decade of perilous service in the Navy SEALs, fighting through close calls in combat and multiple tours overseas, before a book proved his undoing.

    Higbie knew there might be repercussions when he decided to publish a book, despite the fact that several other SEAL memoirs had come out well before his. But he never expected that his exemplary service would suddenly count for nothing while the Navy, in an unprecedented act of retribution, downgraded his discharge from “Honorable” to “General” months after he had left the military.

  • Douglas Graham/Getty

    Time’s Almost Up

    Last Chance for Sex Assault Bill

    Two competing proposals for reforming the military justice system’s sexual assault policy are stalled in the Senate and may never even reach a vote if Congress doesn’t move soon.

    Time is running out for Congress to pass reforms to the military justice system’s sexual assault policy. Though pressure has been building for months as new reports detailing the extent of sexual assault in the military spurred calls for change, the reform measures may need to wait another year unless the Senate reaches a breakthrough soon.

    Two competing proposals are on the table. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is pushing to remove commander’s authority to decide whether or not to prosecute cases of alleged sexual assault, but keeps the judicial process within the military system. Meanwhile, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had proposed a reform that would keep prosecution authority within the military chain of command but expands protections for servicemembers who report sexual assault and prohibits the “good soldier” defense for those accused of crimes, among other provisions.

  • DOD

    Frontline Memories

    An Army Ranger’s Battle in Grenada

    Stephen Trujillo was a combat medic with the 2d Ranger Battalion during the invasion of Grenada. Here is his first hand account of key moments in the war.

    Stephen Trujillo was a combat medic with the 2d Ranger Battalion during the invasion of Grenada. He was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and was cited by President Reagan during the 1984 State of the Union Address. Trujillo later served in Special Forces, and with DEA Operation Snowcap. The following excerpt is from a forthcoming book about Operation Urgent Fury and life in the Rangers.

    I clench my static line, hanging on to it with my back muscles screaming beneath the weight of my parachute, weapons and rucksack, the stench of vomit in my nostrils. I look out a porthole in the side of the aircraft to relieve my nausea, and see endless ocean waves, grey in the twilight of the rising sun. We fly in Air Force C-130 Hercules, four-engined transports configured to carry paratroops, dipping and swaying in low-level flight fifty feet off the whitecaps to evade the radars of Soviet intelligence. The jumpmaster on the right side of the bird opens the doors two minutes out from a hot drop zone on the airfield at Point Salines, Grenada, and hot air blasts inside. The jumpmaster hangs out the hatch in the slipstream, a hand on each side of the open door, checking the outside of the aircraft. I retch, choking down bile. We are late, jumping well after dawn on October 25, 1983, in an invasion that will be known as Urgent Fury. I am a 23 year-old Army Ranger, aging quickly. I volunteered to be here.