I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting some kind of serial (can’t bring myself to call it a blog) for some time now. I took over 50 pages of handwritten notes on a deployment to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province that was unique in so many ways, along with experiences from nearly 12 years in units and roles across the Marine Corps. While I know this places me squarely in the millennial category, I have this odd notion that some people might like to read about it. Even if no one does, I know I’d like to write it. Not because it’s some high adrenaline war-porn laden with heroes and flag-draped nostalgia, and not because I need your pity as some cliched victim of modern combat. No, I’d like to write it because going to war was good for me. It didn’t damage me or elevate me above those who haven’t gone, it just made me a better version of myself. And this is an awkward thing to say…that a middle class kid from the suburbs, the child of Volkswagen van-owning parents and the beneficiary of so much privilege, could find growth and goodness in the pursuit of destruction…but I did. I’d like to use this space to try to shed some light on what happened, what it means for life after service, and how that’s being defined by veterans across the spectrum of American experience. Follow along, submit your own perspectives and work (writing, art, etc), or don’t, I’ll be here either way, it’s time to just start writing.