What Your Choice Of Military Branch Says About You!

SrA Jordyn Fetter

Deciding to join the military is one of the most demanding commitments a person can make next to getting married. Even marriage has the option of divorce if you and your spouse should grow disillusioned with one another. But, the She-Beast that is the military will smother you in her clutches long after the honeymoon period has ended.

When you’re shopping around, trying to figure out which branch will be pounding its green weenie into your ass for the next X years, keep in mind that just like an astrological sign can tell you everything you will ever need to know about a person, so does their choice of military service.

United States Army

SGT Steven Galimore

You really didn’t want to join the Navy like some homo and you may have a petty criminal past. Nothing too serious, but back on the block people didn’t call you Slicky Ricky for nothing. One night while lying in bed after banging your mediocre looking girlfriend you begin to contemplate the direction of your life. Realizing that it’s heading nowhere and fast, you say to yourself, “Fuck it! I’m joining the Marines!” After scoring barely above mentally retarded on your ASVAB and revealing your less than desirable past to a Marine recruiter, you’re promptly laughed out the office. Well, you’re in luck low-speed, high-drag; the Army recruiting station is right next door.

With the ability to draw from its vast hordes of manpower and capabilities, the Army is the all-powerful steam roller of the armed services. While the Marine Corps is looking for a few good men, the Army is content with a shit ton of OK ones. Outside of the Special Operations community, this leads to a relaxed attitude about what it takes to be a barrel-chested freedom fighter. If you’re able to show up at the right place, right time, and in the right uniform, you are half way to winning Soldier of the Year.

United States Marine Corps

CPL Aaron Patterson

There is no gentle way to say this Devil Dog, you drank the Semper Fi flavored Kool-Aid. At some point in your youthful years you were brainwashed by the USMC propaganda machine or your old man into believing that joining any other branch of the service makes you a big ol’ blubbering pussy. You were bamboozled into believing that utilizing subpar equipment, having lower chances at promotion, and working in an environment full of overzealous non-commissioned officers who are sticklers for the rules, equates to being a better tuned killing machine.

Fuck it, though. The misery of your existence is a point of pride for you. It makes you feel like you’ve earned the title of Marine. Something you will surely brag about whenever there is a few minute lull in conversation in any situation whatsoever. Everyone knows you’re the best, or else they’ll die like the rest. As substantial proof, you have those killer Class-A’s that get’s bitches panties drenched.

United States Navy

PO3 William McCann

You’re probably a homosexual. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Don’t ask, don’t tell was repealed by the Obama administration, so you can at last be out and proud with your flamboyant gay ol’ self. We always had our sneaking suspicions of what you did while at sea, sailor boy. No worries seaman, we all knew you were in the closet and working up the courage to come out to us. We’ve always loved and supported you, even if you do choose to live an alternative lifestyle. Hugs!

The Navy is the service for those who want to leave their shitty lives behind to see the world, but want to minimize their chances of dying in the process. While there are some jobs in the Navy that does its share of ground-pounding, the lion’s share of combat casualties in modern warfare are taken by the Army and Marine Corps. That makes it the optimal choice for a service member who wants all the perks and benefits of being in the armed services without having to do anything other than suck cock.

United States Air Force

SrA Nick Emerick

You know what’s pretty fucking sweet? Driving into work, while drinking a hot cup of joe, listening to some boom-boom-I-beat-my-wife country music as you pass a bunch of soldiers from the nearby Army base doing a 12-mile ruck march. Then you walk into your office, say, ‘Good morning’ to your superior using their first name, go on a brisk 2 mile run, and then go about your daily tasks.

See, for an Airman, military service is not about having a job that will impress people or requires physically taxing work. You don’t really care about proving how hard and tough you are. Your life back home didn’t suck too badly and you really didn’t want your life in the military to suck either. If you’re honest with yourself, you are kind of a nerd and freezing or sweating your dick off doesn’t seem too appealing to you. Now learning some technical skill that will give you good job prospects in the real world, that’s what drew you into the service. Plus, Air Force chicks tend to be the hottest from all of the branches and one may even become your girlfriend/wife. Until you find out she has been banging an Army Ranger in the Task Force she was attached to while deployed because she wanted a real man.

United States Coast Guard

PO3 Andrew Barresi

No one knows or cares about you. You are like that kid in high school who committed suicide and has a quarter page memorial in black and white in the back of the year book, but no one remembers who you are. Thanks for your service, I guess.

~Raul Felix

Read: 5 People You Will Meet In The Army
Read: 3 Things People Who Served In The Military Do That Make Them Look Like Tools
Read: Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians

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Welcome To Arlington, Sergeant Gallegos

Rachel Larue

The light of the sun blinds me, my ears are ringing, and I’m lying on the ground. My eyes begin to focus, the ringing fades, and I see a hand reach out for me and I grasp it. It pulls me up to my feet.

“Welcome to Arlington, Sergeant Gallegos,” he says. He’s wearing an olive drab Army uniform with Master Sergeant rank on his sleeve.

“Uh…Arlington Master Sergeant?” I respond. I swivel my head about, noticing the rows upon rows of symmetrical white headstones.

“Yes, in case you haven’t figured it out—you’re dead,” he says sharply. “By the way, we don’t use rank anymore in the afterlife. I’m Sam,” he says, reaching out and shaking my hand.

“Tony,” I smile. “Dead? Huh? How did I die?”

“In the most glorious of all ways—combat,” he laughs.

“What? I don’t remember getting into a firefight recently.”

“What’s your last memory?”

“Well…I had just stepped off of a Stryker and walked a couple blocks toward our objective and…”

“BOOM!” he bellows. “I-E-fucking-D, motherfucker! And now you’re here with the rest of us KIAs.”

“Fucking A. But my body feels fine.” I begin to check myself out, looking for any injuries and notice that I’m still wearing my uniform and body armor.

“Well, this is the afterlife; of course your body is fine,” he laughs.

“Did any of my men get killed, too?”

“No, you’re the only one who bit it. Sherman and Tran got hurt, but not too bad. Don’t worry, they’re fine.”

“Damn…well at least there’s that,” I sigh.

“Now see over there?” Sam points to a funeral procession. “Your earthly body is right there…or what’s left of it, anyway. It ain’t a pretty sight.”

“That’s my funeral?” I see a group of people, some in black, others in Army Class-A uniforms in front of a casket with an American flag draped over it.

“Yes,” he responds.

I run toward it and see a bunch of familiar faces: my wife, two daughters, mama, friends, and a few men from my unit.

“My god, dear god…my love! My love! Sweet Pea and Cookie! Mama! Mama!” I try to grab ahold of my wife, but I pass through her. I attempt the same with my mama and pass through again. I fall to my knees and begin to cry. “They can’t see me, can they?”

Sam puts his hand on my shoulder. “Roger.”

Cookie, my youngest at age seven, sits on my mama’s lap, crying into her chest. My mama’s holding her close, releasing a storm of tears. My eleven-year-old, Sweet Pea, sits next to my wife, holding her hand tightly, head on her shoulder. My wife’s attempting to hold her composure, yet some tears overpower her and pour down her face.

“Ready, aim, fire,” orders a staff sergeant to the seven soldiers of the rifle party. The first volley is fired.

“Ready, aim, fire.”

“Ready, aim, fire.”

“Present arms,” every man in uniform salutes. “Taps” begins to play.

The casket party folds the flag into a triangle. One of the men walks it over to my family, takes a knee, and presents it to my wife.

“Ma’am, this flag is presented to you on behalf of a grateful nation for the honorable and faithful service displayed by your husband, Sergeant First Class Antonio Gallegos,” he says to her, then stands at attention and salutes her.

The cemetery workers finish shoveling dirt over my grave. My headstone looms.

Antonio Leonard
Gallegos
SFC
US Army
Apr 20 1977
May 4 2009
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Operation
Iraqi Freedom

My wife, mama, and daughters are alone. I stand right next to them, placing my hands on my loves’ shoulders. Even if I couldn’t feel the warmth of her skin nor she mine, I still felt connected to her. My wife hugs my headstone, caressing the engraving of my name, and giving it a kiss on top.

My dearest Carrie…the love of my life…I’m sorry…

My daughters are on their knees. “Papa, papa…we love you. We love you. Don’t go, don’t go.”

Sweet Pea and Cookie…you two are my light…I wish I didn’t have to…

My mama stands there, running her fingers through my daughters’ hair. “You were my angel, my most precious possession, my gift from God. I’ll miss you, mi niño.”

Mama…you taught me how to be a good man…I love you…

I watch them in silence, wishing I could feel their tender embrace once more. Wishing that I had more time with them. Wishing I wasn’t dead.

They begin to leave and I follow.

“Sorry Tony, but you can’t go with them,” Sam says gently.

“Like hell I can’t.” I begin to sprint after them, yet as fast as I move my feet, I make no progress. I’m running in place as they are getting further and further away from me. “Damn it! What is this?”

“You’re dead, Tony,” Sam reminds me. “You may no longer go among the living. That’s not your place anymore. This is the afterlife and I’m here to help you on this journey.”

I give up running, watching my kin until they disappear. Goodbye my life. I wipe the tears from my face, turn around, and face my fate. “So now what?”

“Follow me,” he says, and we begin walking deeper into Arlington through a forest of headstones.

“So you said, us KIAs…that means you were killed in action also?” I ask.

“Yeah.”

“What war?”

“Vietnam.”

“Holy shit. What was that like?”

“I couldn’t really tell you. I was shot in the forehead jumping out of a Huey on my first mission,” he says with a smirk.

“But you have Master Sergeant rank on. So you had to been in the Army a while.”

“Oh yeah, seventeen long years. I was also in the Korean War. Made it through a whole year’s deployment in that frozen hellhole without a scratch. Then did the whole peacetime Army thing. Those were some wild times, I’ll tell you what. The first couple of months I was in Vietnam, I was doing a damn staff job. So I didn’t leave the wire much. I was waiting for a First Sergeant slot. Then finally got one. I was supposed to take over a company in a few days. So I decided to shadow one of the company’s First Sergeants on a few missions so I knew what shit to expect. Right as we landed on a hot DZ…BAM…bullet right through my fucking skull. Pretty funny, huh?”

I shake my head. “What’s funny about it?”

“Surviving one long bloody suckfest unscathed, just to be snuffed out quickly in the next one. It’s almost poetic.”

“You can only press your luck so many times, I guess. God knows I have. This last one was…”—I pause and count in my head—“my eighth deployment. Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have reenlisted.”

“Well, you did.”

“Yeah, well, I did have a family to support. Plus, the goddamn economy sucks right now. Those reenlistment bonuses were insanely good.”

“Hey, bud, look at the bright side, at least they’ll get your life insurance money now,” Sam remarks.

“Yeah, that’ll hold them over for a good while. But if you want to know the truth, I just fucking loved the job. Even if it sucked at times, I just loved training my men and going to war.”

“So did I, Tony,” Sam pats me on the shoulder.

“Did you leave a family behind, too?”

“Yeah, an ex-wife and a son. She and I were divorced before I even went to Nam, yet she cried hysterically when she found out about my death. She’s still alive and kickin’. Good woman she is. Pretty as a sunset and sweet as honey. My damn foul temper while drinkin’ chased her away.”

“What about your son?”

“He’s a high school teacher somewhere in California. Has a nice family of his own. He was too young to really know who I was.”

“That’s rough, Sam.”

“That’s life and death, brother. The world will keep spinning without either of us. I’ve been dead longer than I was alive. Whatever impact we were meant to leave on the world is done and now we must be spectators to it all.”

Stone stairs leading up to the sky appear over the grass.

“This leads to heaven?”

“Nah…you wouldn’t want to go there right now anyways. Its kind of lame without your family. I’m taking you somewhere way cooler,” he winks.

“Where is that?”

“Valhalla. You ready?” He grins.

“Hell, yeah!”

~Raul Felix

Read: Oh Well, We’re Off To War Again
Read: Eager To Pop My Cherry On The Battlefield
Read: Four Years Of Hell: College V. The Army

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Buffalo Hill Will Make A Man Out Of You

“I’m a fucking beast,” I say to myself,
I take those first steps running up Buffalo Hill.
There is always some college student slowly walking up it,
Occasionally, it’s a chick whose glorious ass I get lost in,
I’m reminded of what I want in my life.
More often, it’s a scrawny nerd unaware of the world around him,
I’m reminded of what I don’t want to become.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

When the body is in pain, it’s best to let the mind wander.
Halfway up, my mind runs rampant.
Thoughts of women past, family, friends, war, motorcycle trips,
Parking tickets, writing, money, and schemes for pussy.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

I’m approaching the final incline,
My stride becomes faster, eyes focus, bellowing grunts.
I reach the peak, smile as I stare down on conquered land.
Nice warm up. I continue my run.
Buffalo Hill will make a man out of you.

~Raul Felix

Read: She Was Traveling Through My Country
Read: Becoming A Beast May Help You Win The Beauty
Read: Keep Moving, Young Man

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Oh Well, We’re Off To War Again

“Ones!” yells the private as he opens the door of my hooch.
It mildly annoys me.
It’s a pretty fucking good episode of Scrubs, damn it.
I quickly slip on and tie up the laces of my boots.
Oh well, we’re off to war again.

I zip up my top as I speed walk to the ready room,
I make a quick detour to grab a couple of Rip Its and Pop Tarts from the MWR.
From my cubby, I slip on my kit, Peltors, and MICH.
I test my NODS, grab my M4: clear it, pop in a magazine.
We’re off to war again.

The gunner and I begin our respective duties.
The gunner turns on the comms and loads the .50 cal,
I hop in the Stryker driver’s seat, fire up the engine,
I stand on the seat, looking out the hatch.
The TC approaches us after the hasty mission brief,
A steady flow of men, the tip of America’s spear soon follow.
Sixty-seven men, six Strykers, two Little Birds, and a military dog will descend Tonight on some poor souls’ door step.
Fuck yeah, we’re off to war again.

~Raul Felix

Read: Eager To Pop My Cherry On The Battlefield
Read: Jumping Out of Airplanes: How It’s Really Like
Read: The Military’s Parasite Problem

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3 Winning PR Strategies For Muslim Extremists

Just like reality-TV stars, Muslim extremists are attention whores who have no qualms about doing the dirty work to get YouTube hits, social-media buzz, and mainstream coverage. Since nobody likes Muslim extremists—especially other Muslim extremists because they are not extreme enough—they need to think outside the Kaaba to get some sympathy and support for their cause. It used to be in the good ol’ days of terrorism that you could release a grainy, poorly produced video of Osama bin Laden wearing combat fatigues, toting an AK-47, threatening to crush the Great American Satan, and chanting “Allahu Akbar,” and the media would cover it around the clock.

But in the Internet era, most people aren’t impressed, shocked, or threatened by such tactics, so any fledging terrorist organization must adjust their public-relations strategies. Therefore, aspiring jihadist, take these lessons from your fellow terrorist cohorts.

1) The Hamas Crybaby Method

You know your piece-of-shit country stands no chance against those money-grubbing Jew bullies in Israel. Why don’t they understand that their mere existence is offensive to your twisted take on Islam and thus must be wiped out off the face of the Earth? Well, if you can’t bring them down to their knees militarily, you could make the world see how evil they truly are by starting a war with them and then avoiding all responsibility for starting it.

First order of business is to begin launching rockets indiscriminately into Israel’s southern cities. Well, you’ve already been doing that all along but now it’s time to do it harder and faster. After you launch hundreds of rockets, the big Jew machine will get annoyed and kill a few dozen of your men.

You begin surrounding your fighters with women and children. Then you begin another rocket-launching campaign with the result being that some of your men, women, and children get killed. Great fucking job, Abu! Now you must parade the bloody corpses of your civilian casualties through the streets to capture the international media’s much-coveted attention. Dead women and children are like Viagra to the media.

Don’t be nervous, but now it’s your moment in the spotlight, so don’t fuck this up. This is where you begin to cry about the brutal treatment the Israelis have dealt you through no fault of your own. You must then publish photos and videos of your dead civilians and distribute them. Don’t worry if some of those photos are actually from the Syrian Civil War; to the rest of the world, all you Arabs look the same and no one will be the wiser. It’s essential that you toss all logic out the window. You’re a Muslim extremist and that shit isn’t in your lexicon. Shout out pressing questions like: “How dare they defend themselves from our rocket attacks?” “How dare they hold us accountable for our terrorist actions?” “Why won’t they share the Iron Dome technology with us?” “Because they’re conniving Jews and must be exterminated, that’s why! Allahu Akbar!”

Employing the Hamas Crybaby Method is a simple and effective way to get the world media to sympathize with your cause. It’s been proven time and again to garner support from the European Union and bleeding-heart liberals in the United States. People from all over the world who believe your propaganda will hold pro-Palestine rallies under the guise of Islam being the religion of peace and will physically attack anybody who dares wave the Israeli flag. Fortunately for you, reporting on irony is not nearly as sexy as blaming the Jews.

2) Bring realistic shock value to your audience.

ISIL is the new, hip, tech-savvy kid on the terrorist block. It’s an organization that blends conventional and terrorist military tactics so effectively that it has been able to overrun northern Iraq quickly and easily. But even then, ISIL realized that people were getting bored with seeing the same old videos of mass murder with Hajis yelling out “Allah is great” as they shot up their theological and political rivals. They knew they needed to do something big to get the public to care about terrorism again.

Like Hollywood rebooting an old film, they decided to revisit the tried and true route of beheading a journalist—but for the first time ever in HD! High-definition footage made the viewer feel like he had a front-row seat at the terrible slaughter of James Foley. Yet HD wasn’t enough.

The ISIL think tank realized that most people are too lazy to read subtitles. While they may say some menacing shit in Arabic, most people only hear, “Derka derka derka, jihad, Muhammad.” They needed to get someone who spoke the infidel’s language to strike terror into their hearts. Why not a British jihadist?

The key to this kind of operation is to go for broke. Make completely delusional claims like you’re going to topple the most powerful nation on Earth and have your flag waving over their White House. Release additional videos of a prepubescent kid spewing out his hatred toward America. This will sound eerily familiar to the shit nearly every single prepubescent kid in America says to their parents. In turn, this will get the news outlets and political pundits talking about you so quickly that your organization will become a household name. This is essential for recruiting future martyrs to your cause.

3) Always exploit PC sympathies.

The great thing about being a Muslim extremist is that no matter how evil your organization is and how many innocent people you kill, you will have brothers and sisters under Allah who will publicly condemn your actions and say you’re just a bad egg and not a true representative of the religion of peace. Also, you will be able to make use of those same people to give sanctuary to your sleeper cells while you plot your next attack on the kaffir.

While the West’s military has the biggest cock in the world, its PC leaders often cockblock it. You must exploit this weakness to the best of your ability. One of the worst things anyone in the West can be labeled is a racist. It’s political kryptonite for a politician to admit they hold any religion or race of people in suspicion, no matter how consistently and repeatedly vicious the members of a religious sect are. Remember, even though you kill other Muslims for not being the right type of Muslims, Westerners are the Islamophobes for searching your Muslim brothers and sisters at the airport. Racist fucking pigs!

Make sure to send imams on their talk shows who will tout the glories of Sharia law and how people are happier under those laws, while they totally ignore the fact that they left their country of origin to get away from Sharia law. Then have the imam cry racism if the talk-show host dares to use any form of logic to contradict his statements.

If you’re smart and play your cards right, you’ll be able to win over the West’s liberals to your cause. They don’t see you as a dangerous threat, but rather a misunderstood people who have been beaten down and exploited. No one understands and sympathizes with your plight better than a middle-class white girl from the suburbs sporting dreadlocks who got a degree in Middle Eastern Relations from a liberal-arts college. As much you may hate to do it, you’ll have to bite the bullet and accept the support from effeminate hipster guys in turtlenecks and kufi caps. Patience, young jihadists—you’ll get to kill that cocksucker soon enough. But right now you need them to be your useful idiot.

The West can’t be beaten through conventional means. You must wage the PR war against them. You must shame them into submission and place all the blame for your actions onto them. The West is a prima donna who can’t handle any form of criticism and is always asking if her butt looks big. Tell the bitch her butt looks huge. The truth doesn’t matter; what matters is what is perceived to be true. Now you’re ready to take down the Great Satan! Allahu Akbar!

~Raul Felix

This piece appeared on Ranger Up.
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An Army Ranger Interviews A Navy SEAL On Resilience

What is resilience? It’s not something you can buy off the shelf. You can’t pout until it’s given to you, either. You acquire it by doing the most human of things: struggling. In this struggle, it’s essential that you keep fighting through and driving on, whether you have succeeded or failed in your goals. Each time you go through the process, you become a bit more resilient.

Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar, and founder of veterans organization The Mission Continues. He has written a book on the subject: Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living A Better Life. In a series of letters to his SEAL comrade who struggles with depression, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Eric seeks to break down the elements that make for a resilient life so he can help out his friend and, in turn, others.

Raul Felix:
Eric, your organization, The Mission Continues, puts post-9/11 veterans to purposeful work by leveraging their already established experiences, skills, and giving them additional training. This is a bit contrary to what other organizations have done, which focused on giving veterans goodies with no long-term value. When did this idea come about and what does your organization do?

Eric Greitens:
Our wounded and disabled veterans had lost a lot. Some had lost their eyesight. Some their hearing. Some had lost limbs. All of that they would recover from. If they lost their sense of purpose, however, that would be deadly. I also knew that no one was going to be able to give them hope; they were going to have to create hope through action.

I wanted to welcome returning and disabled veterans not just with charity, but with a challenge.

So I donated my combat pay to begin a different kind of veterans’ organization, and two friends contributed money from their disability checks. My plan with The Mission Continues was to offer fellowship for veterans to serve at nonprofit, charitable, and public benefit organizations. We would provide veterans with a stipend to offset cost-of-living expenses and with mentors to help them build plans for their post-fellowship life. Most importantly, we would provide them with the challenge and the opportunity to rebuild a meaningful life by serving again in communities here at home.

Raul Felix:
In your book, you mention three forms of happiness: Happiness of Pleasure, Happiness of Grace, and Happiness of Excellence. All three are needed. Many veterans, especially the ones who get out in their early or mid-twenties, fall into the trap of overindulging in pleasure with alcohol, drugs, unscrupulous sex, and other whims in order to get that emotional high they experienced while on mission. I know I did and still do. Why does focusing more on excellence, which is way harder, lead to a richer form of happiness?

Eric Greitens:
I think that—most simply—the happiness of excellence leads to a richer form of happiness because it involves growth. When we push ourselves and engage in activity that leads to excellence, we exercise our power—and this leads to growth, to mastery, and—in time—to achievement. All of that deep engagement with the world creates joy along the way.

In addition, part of what makes this happiness richer is that, often times, our efforts actually make others happy along the way. You, for example, know that it takes a lot of effort to write a good piece. As you write more, you become better at your craft. At the same time, your writing offers something to others. And if this is true for you, you’ve got a great combination—inner growth and outer service.

Finally, I think that the happiness of excellence is often richer because it helps to provide us with a sense of direction and, over time, a sense of purpose. When I think, for example, about the kind of happiness that’s available to the man in your poem, “Keep Moving, Young Man,” we both know that the happiness of pleasure might offer a moment of relief, but afterwards a guy like this might plunge even deeper still. If, however, he had a sense of direction…if, however, he felt himself getting better…if, however, he felt like he was making a contribution to others…that might—over time and with lots of hard work—lead him to a different place altogether. And that’s the great promise of the happiness of excellence.

Raul Felix:
You mentioned that “The naive mind imagines effortless success, the cowardly mind imagines hardship and freezes, the resilient mind imagines hardships and prepares.” We were taught in the military that you have to have a contingency plan in case things do go wrong. When you acquire a veteran fellowship, what do you do in order to ensure they are prepared and do succeed?

Eric Greitens:
That’s a great question. We try to apply all of the lessons in the Resilience book to make sure that they have the best chance of success. So, for example, we make sure that they have mentors to learn from, models to follow. We create counselors to guide them, friends to aid them, and there is a curriculum that they complete, all designed to help them to build the mental toughness and to develop the sense of purpose that are necessary to make it through a tough time.

Raul Felix:
You have a whole letter dedicated to friendship. I agree that having good friends is one of the great things that makes life worth living. My friends have been there for me and have bailed me out of physical and legal trouble more times than I can recall. Also, real friends will call you out when you’re messing up your life, business, or just plain being an asshole. Can you give us a recent example of when your friends have helped you out?

Eric Greitens:
Of course. I run a small business—I started it when I came home from Iraq, and I’m proud of it. It provides a good living for my family and for the people on the team. A few months back I had a guy who worked for me—a guy I’d given a lot of opportunities to—who lied to me and stole from me. That’s a gut punch. I called a friend [to replace him] the next day. He was at my house two hours later, and he’s been with me now every day for over seven months. My company is so much stronger than it was before—and we got there because of my friend and the incredible people on my team. It’s a classic Resilience case: I never would have wanted it to happen, but in retrospect, I’m actually grateful that it did because it made us so much stronger.

Raul Felix:
Part of the allure the military, especially Special Operations Units, has to young men is that whole transformative process. It pushes you to your physical, mental, and emotional limits. It has the power to test you and make something more out of you than you were before. If not the military, what other rites of passage do you think would a young person need to go through in order to earn the same amount of pride and sureness of oneself?

Eric Greitens:
A rite of passage usually marks a transition from one phase of life to the next. When you join the military, you literally step off of the bus, and *bang*, you’ve got a drill instructor yelling in your ear and you’re in a whole new world. You’ve come to a place that is meant to transition you from a citizen into a citizen-soldier/sailor/airman/Marine who is built to serve others.

Going to college usually marks a transition, as does entering a monastery, getting married, or having a child. You move, in each case, from one phase of life to the next. You become a husband or wife, a father or mother.

For young people looking to develop pride and confidence, there is only one path: self-created success. You will know you are good and strong when you have done things that are good. Achievement can take place in the art room, on the athletic field, in an auto body shop, in your business, on a farm—and achievement can take many many different forms. But true confidence comes when we grow, when we learn, when we master new skills. Almost everything new can be frightening at first, but with the right kinds of experience, we grow in courage.

That’s why resilience is an essential virtue; you can’t grow without it.

Raul Felix:
You’ve done quite a bit with your life. You’ve been a Rhodes scholar, humanitarian volunteer, Navy SEAL, and you’ve started a great non-profit organization. A lot of people would look at what you’ve accomplished and think they can’t hope to reach that level of excellence and may be even intimidated by it. Obviously, everything you’ve accomplished was a result of your own hard work and resilience. What last bit of advice would you give to someone who is young but hasn’t really done much with their life in order to get moving toward the right path for them?

Eric Greitens:
Well, thank you, Raul. That’s very kind of you. I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful people along the way.

What I say to young people is this: You have a contribution to make. You have something to offer. And to develop your own sense of purpose, do two things. One, stay humble. It’s important that we remember that every person is better than us in some way. Every person has something to teach us. So learn from people around you. At the same time, be bold. Try new things. Attack hard problems. Do the tough stuff. Push yourself. If you can be humble and bold at the same time, you’ll create something beautiful.

~Raul Felix

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Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians

Sgt. Brian Kohl, 55th Combat Camera, US Army

Sgt. Brian Kohl, 55th Combat Camera, US Army

Men in Special Operations units look at the world very differently than the average civilian does. There is no subject or phrase that is too taboo for us. All kinds of jokes are commonplace: rape, racist, dead baby, misogynist, and plain disgusting ones. You’ll never get scolded for offending someone; if anything, you’ll get mocked for not being offensive enough. Such an environment has a lasting effect. When we’re set loose on the civilian world, we must learn that most people can’t handle our dark, twisted humor. I asked my Ranger buddies about times they have said something that horrified society’s sheep.

Raul Felix:
When some cunt broke my heart I was drinking at the bar I worked at drowning in booze, my own tears, and woes. I told the young female blonde dumb bartender, “I want to slit that bitch’s throat.” Then word got around that I was a psychopath.

George:
“This [name a situation] is a fucking abortion, it’s a bloody mess.”

Leo:
I told a woman that was trying to take my dad’s beer that I would fillet her like a fish.

TJ:
When people ask me, “What’s up?,” I say rent and the price of pussy. Both are always going up.

Matthew:
In film school I was in a class that was covering all the things you needed a permit to legally do—shut down a street, fire a gun, etc. So I was doing a short at the time that required shooting someone in the back of the head and that person falling off a building. So I ask, “What do I have to get in order to shoot someone in the head and throw them off a building?” I thought it was a perfectly logical question considering the movies that come out these days, but holy shit did everyone else, teacher included, think I was a psychopath.

Calvin:
In reference to an abortion [my girlfriend] had: “No, I felt OK about it. After all, it was one more confirmed kill.”

James:
Saw new talent in the office, told my coworker that I would “pee in her butt.”

Raul Felix:
At my best friend’s birthday I had been heavily drinking. They had two short female friends they were close with but that simply tolerated my existence. I joined the group and said, “I like to dominate small women” and patted one of the chicks on the head like she was a dog and walked off. They were upset about that for a while.

George:
“You’re looking at me like you either want to fuck or fight; either way it’s a good time.”

Steven:
“Look at the turd-cutter on that chick. I’d eat a mile of her shit to see where it came from.”

Dirty Dick:
I can’t think of a story or anything I’ve said out loud off the top of my head because I’m so inappropriate all the fucking time. But you can talk about how my cousins showed me videos of the cartel mutilating each other and I laugh about it while they’re staring at my crazy American Psycho face.

Chris:
I used a freshly skinned rabbit pelt for a puppet to the horror of the college girls at the campout. I guess skinning it without a knife didn’t help.

Calvin:
Felt a pregnant classmate’s belly in a bar—classy, Oregon—and said, “That’s so cool that you’re adding life to the world. I always wanted to leave it with less than I came.”

Matthew:
I was sitting in the newsroom at NBC in Kansas City and felt the presence of the cameraman and reporter over my shoulder as I read a text message [in] which the thread included a thumbnail of my most recent dong shot.

Steven:
(In reference to the Ice Bucket Challenge): If dumping a little chilly water on yourself is the level of intestinal fortitude that you consider being Rangerrific, then you, sir, should be a Seal. If the challenge was to pour a gallon of ISIS and virgin blood over my head while I aggressively masturbate to “Two Girls, One Cup” while I fist-fuck a porn star’s ass and kick a puppy in the face, then, sir, we are on the same page.

Alvin:
A few civilian friends and I were going to pull a train on some chick. While they were all arguing about who was going to go first, I called dibs on last.

Erik Larsen:
Civilian to me when I was a recruiter in New York: “How do you live with yourself knowing you killed innocent children in Iraq?” My response: “Don’t knock it ’til you try it.” Civilian walks off in horror.

Rammers:
Before I leave certain locations or say goodbye to people, I use certain words to say goodbye instead of the usual (“have good one,” “see ya later,” “keep in touch”). Most of the time I say, “Don’t get shot.” Once, before I left my economics class prior to the Thanksgiving weekend, my professor told the class, “I hope everyone has a good holiday weekend” [and] I replied, “Hopefully no one gets shot.” She then repeatedly asked, “Who’s getting shot?” three times. I laughed and said, “Getting shot is always a possibility where I am from.”

~Raul Felix