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Posts from the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

Trimmer, No More Need Be Said

by Phillip Parotti

In the time of Camelot, long before I took up teaching as a career, I answered John F. Kennedy’s call by doing my bit as a naval officer. As a result, on a warm day in August 1963, I made my way to San Diego, where I reported aboard a new destroyer. As “George,” the junior Ensign aboard, I didn’t have immense responsibilities as the Assistant Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. In fact, I was a gopher for the ASW Officer, a Lieutenant who had risen through the ranks. “Mustangs,” men formerly enlisted, were some of the most knowledgeable people in the Navy, and while I might have been the ship’s “George,” I wasn’t thoroughly green. Four years at Annapolis had taught me that Mustangs knew the ropes and that to prosper, I would be wise to listen to them. My training started at once.

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In the Post Office

by Joshua Calloway

I stand in line, a thousand people in front of me. We serpentine around counters and shelves stacked full of boxes, envelopes, card stock, watermarked stationery, and collector edition stamps adorned with Christmas bells, Dreidels, antique cars, movie scenes, and influential women throughout history. We shuffle on, one foot at a time, prisoners in a chain gang. I came here directly after work in an attempt to save some time. I immediately regret this decision, as I can feel the eyes of all the other customers fall upon me, sizing me up in my uniform, from head to toe. Some look at me with disgust and turn away, oddly this doesn’t bother me. Others shoot me a quick smile or nod and with this I feel myself starting to have a mini panic attack. I wish I had a fucking Valium! I inhale deeply through my nostrils and pinch the bridge of my nose with the thumb and index finger of my left hand.

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Bully

by Julia Pritt

Running was a big part of my elementary experience—usually in the form of races from the lunchroom to the blue ladder. In my kindergarten eyes, it was a large and stable thing to behold, whether looking from a distance basking in its glory, or being at its top breathing in fresh air. On many instances, my journey to this coveted spot was interrupted by an array of classmates who took it upon themselves to enlighten me. One boy in particular decided it would be fun to berate me with gags about my mom. Ranging from fat jokes to ones based on her so-called lack of intelligence, which I supposedly inherited. Thankfully, he added an extra level of class by saying “Yo’ Mama…” before each dig.

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We Are Not at War

by Emily Yates

“Fall in!” came the command from the front of the Sitting Bull College auditorium Saturday night, and as hundreds of my fellow veterans and I took our places in formation, I fervently hoped that we weren’t about to witness the end of a peaceful movement.

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It Happened in October

by Maggie DeMay

It’s October again.

Fall is in the air. My birthday’s coming up.

So are the memories…

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The Fraternity of Death

by Dean Ray

My heart was pounding as the orders came through my helmet’s headset. I knew the blast earlier was a rocket propelled grenade, and not a signal flare like I had considered. Leaning out of the left side of the helicopter, my bulky, bulletproof flight vest banged clumsily on my massive black chainsaw of a machine gun. I tried to get a closer look at who just tried to blow us out of the sky, while simultaneously listening to the frantic transmissions coming through the radio.

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Aeromedical

by David McOwen

I have broken people in my head.

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Ramp Ceremony

by Brittany Schick

Standing at parade rest in the dark Afghan night, watching the spotlight illuminate the colors at half mast slowly waving with the breeze… It wasn’t the hundreds of camouflage-clad souls standing around me to pay their respects to their fallen comrade that choked me up, or the roll-call of his name followed by eerie silence, or the bugler’s perfect tribute through taps.  No, it was when they read that he was born in 1989…  1989.  I have a baby brother who was born in 1989.  1989 wasn’t really that long ago…  It wasn’t nearly enough life for this young man to have lived.  It was 23 short years, 5 of which he had spent in the service of his nation.  What if he had been MY little brother?  MY smiling blue-eyed baby brother with the curly brown hair and the pudgy little hands; the one who had started out as a little guy talking with a lisp and smiling with a cute under bite, who was now a man, standing much taller than me, and smiling with the confidence of youth.  What if HE were gone forever, killed on foreign soil in the dark of the night fighting insurgents?  I saw the feeds — I watched this other man, someone else’s brother, get gunned down…and now I was standing at attention with hundreds of others, others who didn’t really know the full story.  But did it matter how it happened?  Did it matter how he had died that night, thousands of miles away from all those who would have wanted to be at his side?  No, not really.  What matters to his wife, mother, father, and brothers — biological and those in-arms — is that he is gone.

Brittany Schick deployed to Bagram AB in 2012 as a Captain in the USAF. She is currently stationed in Haiti as a Foreign Service Officer with her husband and daughter.

One Veteran’s View of Independence Day

by Jason McDowell

When you think about the 4th of July, you’d expect it to have some significance for military service members. This holiday celebrates the founding of our country and the freedoms that we still fight for today. I was recently asked by a friend if veterans viewed this holiday any differently, and my immediate reaction was something like this: Yes! America! Freedom! Pass me a hot dog! QUIT HOGGING THE SPARKLERS!

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A Dark Day in Baghdad

by Ashley Bohn

On May 21, 2009 I woke up, put on my uniform, grabbed my weapon and made my short trek to the hospital. It was the same routine I had kept every day for 6 months as a surgical tech in the United States Army. I was attached to a combat support hospital called Ibn Sina, an Iraqi-built, American-run hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. I spent most of the morning taking inventory in the 3rd floor operating room and launching myself down our long hallway on a rolling stool. Around 11 a.m we, the operating room, got a call from the emergency room downstairs. When the OR nurse answered the phone, the look on her face told me all I needed to know: it was time to get ready.

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