Military Service


i09 posted an image of a downed NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft circa 1980 with the prompt of "create your own short story."  So the call to create a short story in a dystopia of Science Fiction overcame the inertia of creating my own i09 account, and I did just that.

The result is below:

It had taken them decades for anyone from The Ark to return to the planet's surface after the event, and they'd barely made it this time. It was grave circumstances that forced Commander Shepherd's to allow her crew to raid Southern California for supplies; their target: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Major, come take a look at this," shouted Gunther from his seat near the window, spotting the downed NASA shuttle carrier aircraft. "It looks like the poor bastards at JPL were so desperate to get out of dodge when the looters came they took to the air with anything that could fly."

"Doesn't look like they got far in that relic," she replied, the boredom evident in her voice. She tried to be patient, after all the kid grew up on the Ark and his excitement at seeing the planet was to be expected, but it was tedious.

Abruptly she stopped, looking closer out of the window before calling out to the cockpit, "Captain Winn, take us in for a closer look, I think there might be people down there."

"Yeah, I don't think that's a good idea, ma'am. We're here for supplies; even if there are survivors - which isn't likely - they ain't gonna have shit we need. We've barely got power enough to support the Ark for another week, we can't take on any more charity cases."

"We've got time, Cap'n. They might have information that will keep us from walking into a trap - who knows if one of those rover bands took control of JPL once we left," the major said before adding, "We need the intel."

"And if they're hostile?"

"We kill them."

Mature Atheism, Military Service, and Cookies

Mature Atheism, Military Service, and Cookies

As an Atheist Airmen, I do not sacrifice for the betterment of society with the belief that I'll be rewarded in the next life.  I do so knowing that, if I am called upon to sacrifice, it is not a matter of divine providence, but of personal choice. This doesn't make me heroic, but it certainly doesn't make me villainous to simply want that distinction recognized and respected. Every service member is more than their military service; we are first and foremost American citizens who deserve the same respect and rights in which our civilian counterparts are afforded.

Rather than thank us for our service (a hollow gesture), take a moment to recognize that we're a person outside of that uniform.  A person with whom you may disagree on a great many things; a person who may be a novelist, an atheist, or an engineer. Do not typecast us into a group of people deserving "hero cookies," but understand that our military service, like your day job, is mostly office politics and paperwork; it's fairly rare that we do anything "heroic."

How We Nearly Broke The US Military

How We Nearly Broke The US Military

I grew up during Operation Desert Storm and I would one day enlist to serve during Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom; and I'm not alone - my entire generation has had one single unifying fact that binds us together:  we've been a generation at war.  More specifically, we've been a generation that has been engaged in an unconventional war with very asymmetrical forces and we've seen a complete overhaul of the modern war fighter.  As a result of my employment within the Department of Defense, coupled with my insatiable curiosity, I have been following our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq with great interest.

So it should come as no surprise that when former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, released a new book - I jumped at the chance to read it.

Generation At War

Generation At War

I am a man of the ripe old age of twenty-three, and while my generation may lack some of the experiences of past generations, we carry an interesting perspective on life that must be acknowledged for its importance.  We have always been a generation at war.

The realization that our generation has always been in war is not a solemn one for me, it's actually quite a trivial matter; statements like:  "We've always been at war," or "My father, brother, husband, or myself may deploy and not return [the same]" have become facts of life.  I say them with the same emotion and conviction that I would tell a child that the Earth revolves around the Moon, or that there aren't monsters under his bed.   There is no trepidation, anxiety, or fear in my affirmation of these simple truths; they merely exist.

They exist in the same purgatory as this perpetually never ending conflict exists.  This purgatory we find ourselves in is one of our own creation and its one that thousands every year seek to escape.  We find ourselves in a limbo that we know nothing outside of, because it's all that we have ever been taught.  We grew up in a post 9/11 world, where terrorism has surpassed communism as the 'big bad boogie man' and regulation for safety at the expense of freedom has become the status-quo.