Dec 13

Veteran Profile: Nick Palmisciano-

Taking on CONUS Battle Drills as a project has taught me a lot of things about myself and the “skills” that I have.  For instance, I am absolutely terrible at video editing.  As you know it’s been weeks since I sat down with Nick for this interview, and in that time I have tried to learn everything I could about splicing and fading video, but it turns out I have zero talent and even less patience to make a half-way decent cut.  My intent was to give you a 5-10 minute version of this 25 minute interview, but after hours of “editing” the first 5 minutes, I had 4 minutes and 38 seconds of video…

That’s a lot of words to explain why i’m giving you the full video, even with my very awkward question in the middle which Nick took in stride.  I learned a ton in just these few minutes, and if you are planning on starting your own business, every minute here will be worth your while.  Also, if you’ve never heard Nick talk about his personal journey, this is very much worth your time.

“And so I started a Hobby”


-LJF

 

Click the image below to find out what we’re doing here at CONUS Battle Drills!

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Dec 10

The 4 Big Questions and Your Transition Plan

Getting out of the military is a huge deal.  You are changing your career, your community, your location, everything.  Not planning properly is a quick way to fuck up your life for years to come.

Here is the chain of failure that I see often repeated among too many veterans:

  • Get out without a financial plan
  • Move “back home”
  • Results in unemployment or underemployment
  • Financial troubles result in marriage problems
  • Marriage breaks results in divorce
  • Relationship with kids is strained resulting in isolation
  • Isolation and depression result in substance abuse
  • Substance abuse and depression lead to suicide

Obviously this isn’t always the case, no problem is that simple, but for many veterans this is indeed true, and we can break this chain if we prepare you for transition, or even after your transition.

Enter the 4 Big Questions

  1. Are you Financially ready to get out?
  2. Do you know WHY you are getting out?
  3. Do you know Where you want to live?
  4. Do you know What you want to do?

If you answer these four questions, you will invariably make a plan for your transition.  If you’ve already gotten out, you can use these questions to MAKE a plan and then work towards it.  If you can take care of the external stressors in your life:  marriage, finances, work, etc, then taking care of the internal stressors like PTSD becomes much easier.  If you get a job tomorrow, that problem is fixed overnight; you’re not going to have the same success wrestling the demons in your mind.

Question 1- There is a ton of information out there on making a budget. Personally, I think Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University was an outstanding tool.  If you don’t want to pay for it, there’s probably a class going on in a church near you.  I’ve never personally met the guy, but everything I learned about finances, I’ve learned from him.  Bottom line is this:  You need to know where every dollar you make is going, and have a plan for every dollar

I really like things presented simply, and Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps are just that:

  1. Save $1,000
  2. Pay off Debt (except the house)
  3. 3-6 month fund
  4. Invest 15%
  5. Save for College
  6. Pay off Home
  7. Give

Question 2- At some point after you get out, you’re going to look back at your time in the military and miss it.  If you have a bad reason for getting out, that thought is going to nag at you.  Bad reasons include but are not limited to:

  • My 1SG is an asshole
  • I hate PT formations
  • The command climate is toxic
  • Fort Polk is a shithole
  • My wife hates the military

That last one sets a lot of people off, but if you love being in the military, and she hates it, you are going to resent her for “making” you get out and that is going to cause major problems in the relationship you are trying to save by getting out.  I don’t have the right answer for you here, sorry, but you two need to talk.

Here is a great write up from Chad on answering this question

Question 3- I know you want to go back home.  You have fond memories of your childhood, and you miss being around your family.  If you can’t find a job, however, going back home is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself and your family.  I have talked about decision gates as a way to find a middle ground here:

12 months out:  I want a job in Athens, GA

9 months out:  I want a job within 4 hours of Athens, GA

6 months out: I want a job in the southeast United States

3 months out: I want a job anywhere in the US

You move to the next gate if you have had no success at the previous one.  Also, get a fucking headhunter.

Question 4- You are starting a new career and a new life.  It’s your chance to do whatever you want.  Seriously, your MOS should NEVER be a limiting factor in looking for your next career.  If you don’t want to do your MOS for the rest of your life then don’t.  Being a veteran, you bring a lot of things to the table that are hard to find in the civilian world, your MOS is not one of them.

In Conclusion

Alright, so you made it through this article, you’re on the right track.  Take this seriously and now go back and click the links provided and read those.  Then go back and answer the questions, and make sure if you’re married that answering them is a joint effort.

Now you have a plan, go execute and congratulations on this next phase in your life!

-LJF

 

Click the image below to find out what we’re doing here at CONUS Battle Drills!

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Dec 06

CONUS Battle Drills Interview- Dysfunctional Veterans Radio

I had the distinct pleasure on Saturday night to sit down with the guys from Dysfunctional Veterans.  If you don’t already own their gear, I bet you’ve probably seen someone walking around with DV stuff:

The interview was a lot of fun and they gave me plenty of time to really discuss our project here at CBD.

My sweet mother says I cuss too much…she might be right.  Don’t worry, I don’t do it in front of my kids.  Anyway, enjoy the recording.  Warning:  Lots of language.

Dec 05

“Did you ever kill anyone?” -The question you should never ask

Does your mom like anal?

I’m sure there is a veteran out there that doesn’t mind this question, but the overwhelming majority of us never like to answer.

If You Actually Killed Someone

Seeing someone die stays with you.  I might not remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I’ll never forget watching the pink mist appear behind a dude’s head after I told my men to shoot.  You may think that the only reason someone suffers mentally from combat is because of what they saw, or a matter of the things they experienced, but for many guys what bothers them most is what THEY DID.

Finding out what you are capable of can be scary.  Snuff out a few lives, smoke a cigarette, eat some chow, and then sleep with a smile on your face.  The knowledge that you can take a life so easily, and be happy about it, celebrate it even, can be difficult for some men to deal with.  It isn’t until you stand over the lifeless body of your friend where the only consolation is that you killed as many of those fuckers as possible, that you realize just how thin the line is between hero and monster.  To stand up and cheer when the A-10, Apache, or AC-130, do a gun run and and watch those giant rounds rip right through the enemy positions sending body parts flying and painting the terrain red is unsettling to many.

Yeah.  That’s what you are bringing up.

Every soldier has a beast inside, a ferocious murderous beast.  His capacity for violence is the only thing that kept us alive.  Admitting that we took a life, and we relished in making the grass grow can make many people uncomfortable and we know that.  We know that our honest answer is going to appall you, and our relationship will never be the same.

If you never killed anyone

If, on the other hand, you never killed anyone, well now there is a qualifier set to your service.  The question, by it’s very asking, implies that doling death is the only way to be soldierly. It’s as if the sacrifices you made, the time away from family, the stress of serving, and even the deployments you went on were for naught because you didn’t take a life.  You weren’t a “real” soldier because you didn’t have to make that fateful choice.

A medic that rushed into a burning vehicle to save his fellow soldiers may have never taken a life, but he knows the pain of working frantically to save his friend to hear, “I’m going to die Doc.”

What a slap in the face to that dude.

Just don’t ask

Just don’t, ok.  If someone wants to talk to you about it, they will, but you’re going to have to earn a certain level of trust that doesn’t come from a shallow relationship.  I have friends that are closer than family and we don’t talk about it, for the same reason we don’t talk about what kind of sexual fantasies our wives have: that shit is not my business, and I don’t want to go there.

-LJF

 

Click the image below to find out what we’re doing here at CONUS Battle Drills!

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