On Afghanistan

15 Things You Miss Once You Separate From The Army

May 1, 2014


By Jay Kirell   Today is the one-year anniversary of my last day as an active-duty soldier.  A year ago today my three-and-a-half year odyssey ended and I was sure that I wouldn’t miss a single thing about Army life with the possible exception of the friends I made. I was wrong.

Why I Hated Being A Drone Pilot in Afghanistan

April 27, 2014


By Jay Kirell   I’d like to introduce you to my friend T….

Between Honorable & Dishonorable: How Veterans Pass Through Hell To Get To Limbo

April 23, 2014


By Jay Kirell   Luis was a small, cocky kid from Boston.  He joined the Army in mid-2009 right out of high school. Danny was built like a NFL middle linebacker. He joined the same time Luis did.  He was from Maine and liked to draw. Michael was fat, mischievous and grew up 10 miles from the post […]

Six Things Veterans Should Realize Before They Run For Public Office

April 22, 2014


By Jay Kirell   It’s that time of the year again – election season.  Well, not really, but since we live in a 24/7 news cycle, being over a half a year away from the mid-term elections constitutes being ‘within’ a season.

The Nine Arguments Against Women in Combat… & Why They’re Bullshit

April 21, 2014


By Jay Kirell   If there was a formal poll of all members of the military, veterans and others who make their living in and around those who serve this nation, I’m sure that my views on most issues would be an outlier.  While I don’t consider myself the most progressive or liberal person […]

10 Things About The Army You Learn The Hard Way

April 10, 2014


By Jay Kirell If the old expression, “I wish I knew then what I know now” applies to anything in my life, it’s my three and a half years in the Army.  Between January, 2010 and May, 2013 I got many lessons on military culture and how soldiers live and interact with each other.  Some […]

Secrets of War: Vol. Two – The Fart That Almost Caused A Massacre

April 1, 2014


This series will examine some of the things I saw in my 10 months in Afghanistan that probably would never be spoken about by the others I served with. The validity of my claims can probably never be proven, only disputed by anyone who might be offended and/or upset by what I’m chronicling. Take these […]

Turkey Head Baseball: Or, How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Afghanistan (Graphic)

November 28, 2013


By Jay Kirell ** Be advised this article contains graphic photos not suitable for the squeamish ** . As an follow-up to yesterday’s post about how I spent Chanukah in Afghanistan, I thought it would be only fitting to book-end that with the story of how I spent Thanksgiving. By late November, most of the […]

Bullet Menorahs: Or, How I Celebrated Chanukah in Afghanistan

November 27, 2013


By Jay Kirell To be Jewish in today’s Army, as I have stated before, is to be lonely.  Spread out amongst the millions of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen of our nation’s military are maybe, at most, 10,000 people of the Jewish faith. In Afghanistan, that number drops significantly.  On the front lines (as much […]

The Sad Tale of Howard the Soldier

November 11, 2013


By Jay Kirell There was a guy I served with in Afghanistan with named Howard.  Howard joined up with us about half-way through the deployment.  He was a new private just out of basic. Those last two sentences should tell you all you need to know about how Howard was treated during the six months […]

An Open Letter To Bill de Blasio

October 3, 2013


By Jay Kirell Mr. de Blasio, My name is Jason Kirell and I’m writing to you to today because even though I live on Long Island, and am incapable of casting a vote for you, I believe you’re going to be the next mayor of New York City. As mayor, I believe you’ll have the power […]

The 14 People You Meet In The Army

September 30, 2013


By Jay Kirell In my book, (which I have yet to start) I’m going to explain in great detail the cast of characters I came across in my time in Afghanistan as well as in the military in general.  They all have unique aspects of their life stories and personalities that shaped how they appeared […]

Top-10 Things Any Recent Veteran Of Afghanistan Will Remember Forever

September 28, 2013


They’ll also remember how comfortable sitting in this thing for a 6-hour flight was. By Jay Kirell I was part of an 18,000-troop surge into Afghanistan in the summer of 2010.  By that time Operation Enduring Freedom, as it had been named, was in it’s 8th year.  Today it is still ongoing in year 12, with […]

My Name Is Jason, I’m A 35-Yr-Old White Male Combat Veteran…And I’m On Food Stamps

September 19, 2013


By Jay Kirell My name is Jason.  I turned 35 less than a week ago.  My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17.  I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college.  I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years […]

Take My Guns, Please

September 18, 2013


By Jay Kirell By all measure, I’m the type of person who would not be questioned when purchasing a firearm in America. I’m white. I’m male. I’m educated. I’m an honorably discharged military veteran. Anyone looking at me in my normal casual attire – Old Navy shirts and jeans – would assume I’m just like anyone […]

It’s My Birthday And I’ll Write If I Want To

September 16, 2013


The voice of my birth. By Jay Kirell September 16 is the most common birthday in America. Fittingly, it is also my birthday. 35 years ago today at a resort in the Catskills, famed “Borscht Belt” comedian Freddie Roman [Fred Kirschenbaum] paused his live show to announce that an 8-lb 8-ounce baby boy named Jason […]

8 Things You Won’t Believe Crawled Into My Bunk In Afghanistan

September 9, 2013


Not a creepy-crawly protective suit. By Jay Kirell Because as Buzzfeed as shown, apparently lists equal eyeballs, so even though I have a predisposition against lists, in this small context it’s warranted. Believe me, the only way I can comfortably walk you through the stuff you see in Afghanistan that’s completely separate from the war […]

Why Chemical Weapons Use Should Be Your Only Consideration Re: Syria

September 6, 2013


By Jay Kirell I had to learn to live with a lot of unusual things in Afghanistan. When I first arrived to my outpost in the Arghandab Valley part of Kandahar, the outpost consisted of a 6-room schoolhouse (built by the Japanese in the mid-90s; used by the Afghan Army in 2003; overtaken by the […]

#CollegeInYour30s – Volume Three: “So That’s What Stereotyping Feels Like”

September 4, 2013


By Jay Kirell Today was my second day back at college after a 13-year hiatus as a full-time student. It was my first class in the third of my four classes this semester – Anthropology 103: Peoples and Culture of Asia. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect from this class when […]

Where The Anti-War Left Went

August 28, 2013


By Jay Kirell 2003 2013 Long before I joined the Army and fought in Afghanistan I watched the events unfold that lead up to the Iraq war. I watched with a sense of dread and skepticism because somewhere, deep down inside, this whole mess felt wrong.

Afghan Villagers Fly 7000 Miles To Testify About Massacre By US Soldier

August 21, 2013


Two Afghan villagers who traveled about 7,000 miles to testify against a U.S. soldier who massacred their relatives didn’t get to say everything they wanted to in court Wednesday. Haji Mohammad Wazir took the witness stand during the sentencing of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to describe the impact of losing 11 family members in the […]

Polio, Long-Thought Eradicated, Is Exploding In Somalia

August 17, 2013


Less than 24 hours ago, the AP reported that a polio epidemic of “explosive” proportions had struck Somalia. The African country famed for its piracy and tribal conflicts may now claim it has more polio cases than the rest of the world’s countries combined. Although most countries in the world consider polio eliminated, it is […]

When The Horns Don’t Come Out – Being Jewish In Today’s Army

August 11, 2013


By Jay Kirell When my grandfather enlisted in the army in the early 1940s he became one of an estimated 500,000 Jews who served in the military in World War II. He arrived at basic training, and as my father tells the story, the fellow recruits he was with were shocked when they found out […]

Writing About PTSD While Writing With PTSD

August 1, 2013


By Jay Kirell Last month I received word my VA disability compensation claim had been completed. The money and health benefits I was awarded is nice, but even weeks after the decision came down, I’m still left shaking my head about something. Namely, that I officially have PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was […]

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