Call and Response #1: Buried Alive

A Talk On x Combat Art Collective collaboration with the support of talented artists across the country. (FYI, scroll down for a handy TL;DR version of what’s below for the mouth-breathers out there) Here’s the story: Combat Art Collective (CAC) and the Talk On reached out to artists for contributions to a conversation about the American […]

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The Other Reasons #2: Arne Smith

This is the second post in an indefinite series. Everyone knows that 9/11 was the horrible mechanism that initiated our descent into a war fought by a small subset of Americans. But how well do you know the men and women who have joined the fight? Do you imagine they are wildly different from you? […]

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Buried Alive

Editor’s Note: The following essay was co-authored by Mike Gnoffo and Zack Neyman, and told from Zack’s perspective as a Marine Lance Corporal and Radio Operator on a shared deployment to Afghanistan in 2013-2014.  —- Helmand province is covered in moon dust. I first encountered it when our transport helicopter dropped us into a remote […]

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The Other Reasons (Intro)

All of these stories from the Global War on Terror invariably lead back to that Tuesday in September. I was a sophomore in high school and I was sitting in math class. A teacher walked in suddenly from the neighboring classroom carrying a disbelieving smirk on his face. Not the inappropriate kind, just the face […]

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“Q & A”

The first question they ask, if they ask any, is almost always “what is it like?” They don’t mean what is it like to leave home, or take long flights over the mispronounced nations of the world, or clean weapons and recount gear for the hundredth time. They’re not concerned with the structure of a […]

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Hair Club For Men

When I think back on my time in Afghanistan, I don’t remember being stressed. I remember fear, occasionally, when shit felt like it was out of control or something loud and sudden caught you by surprise, but not stress, not the way I’ve felt it at desk jobs when orders start to fall behind. Not […]

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American Pastime

It was midway through the deployment, probably sometime in November. The weather was changing quickly, and it was that perfect fall evening where back home, you’d be wearing sweatshirts again and people would be talking about pumpkin flavored shit at Starbucks. We didn’t have anything pumpkin flavored to remind us of home at COP Eredvi, […]

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Going Back

 Brian told me this would happen. We sat beneath the concrete recon bunker outside our hooch at Leatherneck passing the time before our flight back to Kyrgyzstan smoking cigs by the pack and bullshitting, and he told me I’d want to come back. I couldn’t imagine it at the time, so exhausted by Georgians and […]

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