What Veterans Really Think About Colin Kaepernick and Nike

Colin Kaepernick. The NFL. Nike. Old glory. The American military. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid these topics online or in the workplace, and there are no lukewarm opinions about them. Our society is either passionately opposed to or in staunch support of the movement Colin Kaepernick began a few years back by taking a knee during the National Anthem. Those against it claim that Kaepernick’s protest is a slap in the face to all those who have served in the armed forces. How do our veterans really feel, though?

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Military Ink: Tattoos, Veterans, and Employment

In 1991, an “Iceman” was discovered near the Italian-Austrian border. Carbon-dated at approximately 5,200 years old, the Iceman was found to have tattoos all over his body. Tattooing is a practice (or an art form, as some would argue) that dates back thousands of years and has historically been used to symbolize high status, low status, criminal status, military status, illness, injury, or religious affiliation. In some cases it has even been used as a memory aid. Mummified remains and written records reveal the occurrence of tattoos and tattooing in ancient civilizations all over the world. In fact, in the body modification realm, tattooing predates piercing by over 7,000 years. That’s all very interesting, but does it mean you should finally bite the bullet and get that star-spangled full sleeve you’ve always dreamed of? You know, the one that proudly proclaims, “These Colors Don’t Run” in Old English font? You might want to mull over whether or not it could hurt your post-service job prospects first.

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3 Hidden Benefits of Volunteerism for Veterans

“There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”

― James Doolittle

I remember the golden age of enlisted performance reports. In the Air Force at least, it seemed like there was a sure-fire hack to land a quarterly award or “firewall 5” (getting the highest possible rating in all performance categories): volunteering. Continue reading “3 Hidden Benefits of Volunteerism for Veterans”

The New Veteran’s Creed

I am an American Veteran.

A collective of eleven prominent veterans’ organizations have announced the establishment of a new Veteran’s Creed. Retired General George Casey, former Chief of Staff of the Army and one of the driving forces behind the creed’s creation, explained that “it can serve as a unifying concept to remind veterans of the value of their military service, to inspire veterans to continue to serve and lead at local, state, and national levels, and to push them to continue to excel.”

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One Simple Phrase Can Make Veterans Uncomfortable

“Thank you for your service.”

A complete stranger burst into tears and hugged me at an airport once.

I was in uniform with a crew of six others in the boarding queue, about to embark on the first leg of our journey to the Middle East. Continue reading “One Simple Phrase Can Make Veterans Uncomfortable”

The Post-Military Professional: An Introduction

A common expression among veterans: “I wish I would have known…”

It is difficult to know where to start, but in the words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I considered writing this blog for years before my separation from the Air Force. Though my journey after getting out was fairly typical, I nonetheless feel a strong urge to relay my experiences and those of others. With this blog I hope to help veterans and service members by relaying professional insights gleaned throughout the transition from active duty into the professional civilian world and beyond. Continue reading “The Post-Military Professional: An Introduction”