Grumpy's hall of Shame Our Great Kids The Green Machine

A very sarcastic “GREAT” our Troops get f**Ked again!

After 30 Years, Genetic Study Confirms Sarin Nerve Gas As Cause of Gulf War Illness

Helicopter Gulf War


Troops who had genes that help metabolize sarin nerve gas were less likely to develop symptoms.

For three decades, scientists have debated the underlying cause of Gulf War illness (GWI), a collection of unexplained and chronic symptoms affecting veterans of the Persian Gulf War. Now researchers led by Robert Haley, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Division of Epidemiology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern), have solved the mystery, showing through a detailed genetic study that the nerve gas sarin was largely responsible for the syndrome.


The findings were published on May 11, 2022, in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, with an accompanying editorial on the paper by leading environmental epidemiologists.

Dr. Haley’s research group not only identified that veterans with exposure to sarin were more likely to develop GWI, but also found that the risk was modulated by a gene that normally allows some people’s bodies to better break down the nerve gas. Gulf War soldiers with a weak variant of the gene who were exposed to sarin were more likely to develop symptoms of GWI than other exposed veterans who had the strong form of the gene.

Robert Haley, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Ross Perot

Robert Haley, M.D. (left) visits with two longtime GWI research supporters, former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and the late Ross Perot, at a campus event in 2006. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center


“Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,” said Dr. Haley, a medical epidemiologist who has been investigating GWI for 28 years. “There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.”

In the years immediately following the Gulf War, more than a quarter of the U.S. and coalition veterans who served in the war began reporting a range of chronic symptoms, including fatigue, fever, night sweats, memory and concentration problems, difficulty finding words, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, and chronic body pain. Since then, both academic researchers and those within the military and Department of Veterans Affairs have studied a list of possible causes of GWI, ranging from stress, vaccinations, and burning oil wells to exposure to pesticides, nerve gas, anti-nerve gas medication, and depleted uranium.

Over the years, these studies have identified statistical associations with several of these, but no cause has been widely accepted. Most recently, Dr. Haley and a colleague reported a large study testing veterans’ urine for depleted uranium that would still be present if it had caused GWI and found none.

“As far back as 1995, when we first defined Gulf War illness, the evidence was pointing toward nerve agent exposure, but it has taken many years to build an irrefutable case,” said Dr. Haley, who holds the U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair for Medical Research, Honoring Robert Haley, M.D., and America’s Gulf War Veterans.


Sarin is a toxic man-made nerve agent, first developed as a pesticide, that has been used in chemical warfare; its production was banned in 1997. When people are exposed to either the liquid or gas form, sarin enters the body through the skin or breathing and attacks the nervous system. High-level sarin often results in death, but studies on survivors have revealed that lower-level sarin exposure can lead to long-term impairment of brain function. The U.S. military has confirmed that chemical agents, including sarin, were detected in Iraq during the Gulf War. In particular, satellite imagery documented a large debris cloud rising from an Iraqi chemical weapons storage site bombed by U.S. and coalition aircraft and transiting over U.S. ground troop positions where it set off thousands of nerve gas alarms and was confirmed to contain sarin.

Previous studies have found an association between Gulf War veterans who self-reported exposure to sarin and GWI symptoms. However, critics have raised questions of recall bias, including whether veterans with GWI are simply more likely to remember and report exposure due to their assumption that it may be linked to their illness. “What makes this new study a game-changer is that it links GWI with a very strong gene-environment interaction that cannot be explained away by errors in recalling the environmental exposure or other biases in the data,” Dr. Haley said.

Robert Haley

Robert Haley, M.D., here reviewing brain scans of Gulf War veterans, has been studying the illness for 27 years. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

In the new paper, Dr. Haley and his colleagues studied 508 deployed veterans with GWI and 508 deployed veterans who did not develop any GWI symptoms, all randomly selected from more than 8,000 representative Gulf War-era veterans who completed the U.S. Military Health Survey. They not only gauged sarin exposure – by asking whether the veterans had heard chemical nerve gas alarms sound during their deployment – but also collected blood and DNA samples from each veteran


The researchers tested the samples for variants of a gene called PON1. There are two versions of PON1: the Q variant generates a blood enzyme that efficiently breaks down sarin while the R variant helps the body break down other chemicals but is not efficient at destroying sarin. Everyone carries two copies of PON1, giving them either a QQ, RR or QR genotype.

For Gulf War veterans with the QQ genotype, hearing nerve agent alarms – a proxy for chemical exposure – raised their chance of developing GWI by 3.75 times. For those with the QR genotype, the alarms raised their chance of GWI by 4.43 times. And for those with two copies of the R gene, inefficient at breaking down sarin, the chance of GWI increased by 8.91 times. Those soldiers with both the RR genotype and low-level sarin exposure were over seven times more likely to get GWI due to the interaction per se, over and above the increase in risk from both risk factors acting alone. For genetic epidemiologists, this number leads to a high degree of confidence that sarin is a causative agent of GWI.

“Your risk is going up step by step depending on your genotype, because those genes are mediating how well your body inactivates sarin,” said Dr. Haley. “It doesn’t mean you can’t get Gulf War illness if you have the QQ genotype, because even the highest-level genetic protection can be overwhelmed by higher intensity exposure.”

This kind of strong gene-environment interaction is considered a gold standard for showing that an illness like GWI was caused by a particular environmental toxic exposure, he added. The research doesn’t rule out that other chemical exposures could be responsible for a small number of cases of Gulf War illness. However, Dr. Haley and his team carried out additional genetic analyses on the new data, testing other factors that could be related, and found no other contributing causes.


“There’s no other risk factor coming anywhere close to having this level of causal evidence for Gulf War illness,” said Dr. Haley.

The team is continuing research on how GWI impacts the body, particularly the immune system, whether any of its effects are reversible, and whether there are biomarkers to detect prior sarin exposure or GWI.


“Evaluation of a Gene–Environment Interaction of PON1 and Low-Level Nerve Agent Exposure with Gulf War Illness: A Prevalence Case–Control Study Drawn from the U.S. Military Health Survey’s National Population Sample” by Robert W. Haley, Gerald Kramer, Junhui Xiao, Jill A. Dever and John F. Teiber, 11 May 2022, Environmental Health Perspectives.
DOI: 10.1289/EHP9009

“Invited Perspective: Causal Implications of Gene by Environment Studies Applied to Gulf War Illness” Marc G. Weisskopf and Kimberly A. Sullivan, 11 May 2022, Environmental Health Perspectives.
DOI: 10.1289/EHP11057

Other UTSW researchers who contributed to this study include John Teiber, Gerald Kramer, and Junhui Xiao. The U.S. Military Health Survey was a collaborative effort of UTSW and a large survey research team at RTI International including Jill Dever, who also contributed to this paper. The study was funded by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

Our Great Kids

Some Red Hot Gospel there!

Cops Good News for a change! Manly Stuff Our Great Kids

Some great News for a Change! Swatara Township Police Officer being hailed for act of kindness by: Ben Schad

SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A story about a Midstate police officer is making its rounds on social media.

Officer Anthony Glass from Swatara Township Police was assisting an elderly man whose card was not working at the Capitol Diner. Police say the senior called them for assistance and that’s when Officer Glass showed up and paid the bill with his own card.

The man offered to pay Officer Glass back but he declined. A release from the Swatara Township Police Department praised Officer Glass saying, “One of the core values of the STPD is caring which was demonstrated by Of. Glass’ actions this morning.” Hundreds more are commending the officer for this act of kindness.

Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Our Great Kids


2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.

3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.

5. Request the late check-out.

6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.

9. Play with passion or don’t play at all…

10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.

11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.

12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.

13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.

14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.

15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.

16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.

17. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.

18. Never turn down a breath mint.

19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.

20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.

21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him.

22. Eat lunch with the new kid.

23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.

24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.

25. Manners maketh the man.

26. Give credit. Take the blame.

27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.

28. Write down your dreams.

29. Take time to snuggle your pets, they love you so much and are always happy to see you.

30. Be confident and humble at the same time.

31. If ever in doubt, remember whose son you are and REFUSE to just be ordinary!

32. In all things lead by example not explanation.

—————————————————————————————-I also found that firm, fair and consistent REALLY Works too! Grumpy

Born again Cynic! Our Great Kids

I a getting worried about the Navy for reasons like this!

Navy sailors detail difficult working conditions after string of suicides

The USS George Washington had at least five shipmates die by suicide in the last year. Sailors detailed their struggles and the working conditions onboard.
Hannah Crisostomo, 20, outside her home in Menifee, Calif.

Hannah Crisostomo attempted suicide when she was a sailor in the Navy.Alex Welsh for NBC News

As her one-year anniversary with the Navy approached last May, Hannah Crisostomo swallowed 196 pain relievers. Her organs shut down. Her brain swelled during multiple seizures and she stopped breathing.

She was on life support for eight days, during which time doctors had warned her family that she may never regain normal brain functions. When Crisostomo woke up, she immediately wondered why she was still alive. Her thoughts grew more despairing during the next few weeks in the hospital and then in the Navy’s psychiatric ward.

“If they keep me in the Navy, and they put me back in the same situation, I’m going to kill myself,” she recalled thinking, “and I’m going to be successful the next time.”

That spring, Crisostomo, an aviation boatswain’s mate handler on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, had been moved to night-shift repair duties. Amid disorganization on the ship during an extensive overhaul, Crisostomo said she was constantly berated for things out of her control.

Hannah Crisostomo holds her U.S. Navy portrait.
Hannah Crisostomo holds her Navy portrait.Alex Welsh for NBC News

At the time, she was dealing with some family issues. She also said bipolar disorder that went undiagnosed had played a role in her decision-making. But Crisostomo, now 20, said 95 percent of the reason she tried to kill herself was work-related.

“The command pushes you to that point,” she said, adding that she had tried to get help but was belittled instead. And unlike a traditional corporate employee, she could not simply quit because she had signed a five-year contract.

“There is no putting in your two-week notice and getting out,” Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo and several other George Washington sailors said their struggles were directly related to a culture where seeking help is not met with the necessary resources, as well as nearly uninhabitable living conditions aboard the ship, including constant construction noise that made sleeping impossible and a lack of hot water and electricity.

Since Crisostomo’s attempt, at least five of her shipmates on the George Washington have died by suicide, including three within a span of a week this April, military officials said. The latest cluster of suicides is under investigation by the Navy and has drawn concern from the Pentagon and Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., who served in the Navy for two decades.

On April 15, Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Sandor died by suicide onboard the George Washington, according to the Navy and the state chief medical examiner’s office. He had been working on the warship for about three months, his family said.

Xavier Hunter Sandor.
Xavier Hunter Sandor.Courtesy John Sandor

His death came five days after Natasha Huffman, an interior communications electrician, died by suicide off-base in Hampton, officials said.

The day before, Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp also died by suicide off-base in Portsmouth, said his mother, Natalie Jefferson.

“Three people don’t just decide to kill themselves in a span of days for nothing,” said Crisostomo, who left the Navy in October 2021, on an honorable discharge with a medical condition following her suicide attempt.

In a statement, the Navy said, in part, that it was a “resilient force,” but “not immune from the same challenges that affect the nation that we serve.”

“We remain committed to ensuring our carriers are manned, trained and equipped to optimal levels including embedded mental health providers,” said Rear Adm. John F. Meier, the commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp.
Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp.U.S. Navy

Poor working conditions, high stress, long hours

Several sailors said poor working conditions were exacerbated by the fact that since 2017, the USS George Washington, one of the world’s largest warships, has been docked at the Newport News Shipyard in Virginia, where it’s undergoing a multiyear overhaul. Such an overhaul is done once during a carrier’s 50-year service life, the Navy said, and it includes significant repairs and upgrades, and the refueling of the ship’s two nuclear reactors.

While most of the roughly 2,700 sailors go home after their shifts, hundreds who live out of state or don’t have off-site housing stay on the George Washington, where they endure nearly uninhabitable conditions, according to a sailor, who still works on the warship and asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

Constant construction made it difficult for sailors to fall asleep after long shifts. So some sailors, including Xavier Sandor, slept in their cars, according to Sandor’s shipmates and his father.

“They’re living in an active construction site, and half the boat is not livable at all,” the sailor said. “They don’t care about you trying to sleep.”

When he wasn’t working 12-hour night shifts on the George Washington, Sandor stayed in his car, where he kept a thick blanket and his clothes, according to his father, John Sandor.

During these overhauls, according to several sailors, most crew members are relegated to clean-up and repair tasks rather than the jobs they enlisted in the Navy to do. In her role, Crisostomo was originally supposed to help direct aircraft on the vessel. But because the ship was docked, she spent most of her workdays painting and doing other handiwork.

“We’re glorified janitors,” she said.

A second sailor who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation said he spent nearly two years sitting on a bucket with a fire extinguisher, watching other sailors weld, instead of directing aircraft on the carrier. That sailor, who was reassigned off the George Washington less than a year ago because of an injury, said he felt depressed during his time on the warship and lost over 80 pounds.

US aircraft carrier USS George Washington
The USS George Washington during its mission in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in 2017.USS George H.W. Bush via Getty Images

“It’s a lot of stress and pressure, especially for people straight out of boot camp,” he said. “It’s mentally scarring to go through stuff like this.”

In a recent address to the George Washington crew, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith, the service’s senior enlisted leader, told crew members that he knew their working conditions during the overhaul were “not pleasant” or easy, and he acknowledged there was a suicide problem.

“Beating suicide is like beating cancer,” he said, according to a transcript of the address, released Monday by the Navy. “There are many different causes, many different reasons.”

Smith disagreed when a sailor said living standards on the ship were not “necessarily up to par.” He said that the sailors get to go home most nights and that they were not “sleeping in a foxhole like a Marine might be doing.”

“I think we probably could have done better to manage your expectations coming in here,” Smith said. “I hear your concerns and you should always raise them, but you have to do so with reasonable expectations.”

He said the overhaul should be complete in less than a year.

In a statement to NBC News, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers, a Navy spokesman, said a “certain number” of sailors have to stay on the ship to run essential equipment, maintain fire and flooding watches, and secure the vessel. The Navy has directed leaders on the ship to identify sailors who could benefit from morale and personal well-being programs, Myers said.

Nautica Robinson, 23, a former fire controlman who worked with Huffman on the George Washington, agreed that overhaul periods affect workloads, increase stress and cause sailors to work longer and harder to make up for schedule delays that are out of their control, as well as keep them from being deployed at sea. But she said the root of the problem is not the shipyard, or the ship itself, but “toxic leadership” on the George Washington.

“They just threw us back in the environment, like our attempted suicides didn’t happen,” Robinson said. “The things that pushed those sailors overboard didn’t exist.”

When Crisostomo first had suicidal thoughts about half a year into her tenure, she said she sought help from a superior. But Crisostomo said she was told she had to finish her work and seek help on her own time. Crisostomo worked night shifts, so by the time she had finished her duties, she said there was no one around to ask.

“Being in the Navy was all I ever wanted,” said Crisostomo, who enlisted when she was 17. “I wanted to be part of something big to help the country. I got robbed of that, and I didn’t deserve it.”

Hannah Crisostomo outside her home in Menifee, Calif.
Hannah Crisostomo outside her home in Menifee, Calif. Alex Welsh for NBC News

A cluster of suicides, a search for answers

The deaths have left each of the families searching for answers.

During daily phone conversations with his father from his car, Xavier Sandor frequently expressed his frustrations with living and working conditions.

“He always said it sucked, and I’d always say to ask for help,” John Sandor said. “He’d say, ‘Dad, they don’t give a f—. They don’t care.’ That was always his response to me.”

Every other weekend, Xavier Sandor would drive eight hours to his family’s home in Shelton, Connecticut, and he never wanted to leave when he got there, his father said. Nothing else but his job was upsetting him.

“He was such a happy, proud person,” John Sandor said. “What else could it be?”

John Sandor said he knew the conditions on the ship were “bad” but not to the full extent. It never crossed his mind that his son was considering suicide.

“If I would have known that, I could have changed it somehow,” he said. “That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Jefferson, who lived with Sharp in Norfolk, Virginia, also said she didn’t think she had any reason to worry about her son’s mental health. She said Sharp, 23, had just gotten married last year and had plans to buy a house and start having children with his wife, whom he was “over the moon” about.

“He was the life of the party,” Jefferson said. “He never showed his pain.”

A sailor who was close friends with Huffman said she knew she had been suffering.

“We talked about it. She tried to get help,” the sailor said.

“She wasn’t getting any assistance from the Navy, as much as she tried,” the sailor added. “And then that’s when we got the phone call that she wasn’t with us anymore.”

Robinson, 23, said she had bonded with Huffman over their shared struggles, just before Robinson left the Navy this February following her own suicide attempt.

“She said it was draining, it’s tiring,” Robinson recalled of her last conversation with Huffman. “How going to the psych ward helped, but being sent back to the same place in the George Washington, we were both talking about that.”

“They really, really failed her,” Robinson added.

Besides Crisostomo and Robinson, two other current and former USS George Washington sailors told NBC News that they have either attempted suicide themselves, know shipmates who have, or have had suicidal ideations directly related to an increasingly grueling work environment.

Nautica Robinson.
Nautica Robinson while serving in the Navy.Courtesy Nautica Robinson

Before Robinson’s suicide attempt in May 2021, she said she had been grappling with mounting pressures and toxicity at work, which got worse after she said she was sexually abused by another sailor off-base in 2020.

Robinson said she repeatedly asked for better mental-health support from her superiors on the aircraft carrier, which she had served on since 2019. But she said she received little help and even less empathy.

She was hospitalized for her suicide attempt at the same time Crisostomo was on life support for her’s.

“It’s life-draining,” Robinson said. “It’s truly sad to see that the place you work for can take so much of you.”

At a news briefing on April 21, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby cautioned against “jumping to conclusions” about what might have led those sailors to take their own lives.

All three sailors had worked in different departments and didn’t appear to be in the same social groups, according to the Navy and some who had worked with them.

That decreases the likelihood that the cluster was due to a social contagion effect that occasionally occurs in tight-knit social groups, said Craig Bryan, a clinical psychologist and Air Force veteran, who specializes in suicide in the military.

Hannah Crisostomo's boots from her time in the U.S. Navy.
Hannah Crisostomo’s boots from her time in the Navy.Alex Welsh for NBC News

While it increases the possibility that something is happening on the ship that is increasing the risk of suicide for all on board, it doesn’t yet rule out the chance that the deaths are coincidences, Bryan added.

“The question becomes what’s going on in the group?” he said.

More work to be done

After the three suicides this month, the Navy said it sent a special 13-person psychiatric rapid intervention team to counsel those serving on the George Washington from April 16 to April 19. Sailors on the ship are currently being provided tele-mental health opportunities and expedited appointments for mental health referrals, according to the Navy.

Before then, the sailors said there had only been one psychologist on the ship to serve roughly 2,700 people. The Navy said while there is one psychologist, there are also three chaplains, two licensed clinical social workers, and others who are equipped to handle suicide interventions onboard.

When asked about mental-health resources, Smith told sailors that the Navy would put more chaplains on smaller ships for the first time, but that it’s not easy to hire more psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health care workers, because they’re not “out there in abundance.”

“You can’t just snap your fingers and grow a psychiatrist,” he said, adding that the sailors should be “each other’s counselors.”

Myers said a larger Navy team is being built to assess quality-of-life conditions on aircraft carriers undergoing overhauls.

“Their recommendations will inform potential future action, identify areas for improvements, and propose mitigation strategies to optimize [quality of life],” he said.

In 2020, the most recent year for which full data is available, 580 military members died by suicide, a 16 percent increase from 2019, when 498 died by suicide, according to the Defense Department. Nineteen out of every 100,000 sailors died by suicide in 2020, compared to members of the Army, which had the highest rate, at about 36 per 100,000, Pentagon statistics show.

“Clearly, we have more work to do, and we know that,” Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, recently told reporters. “We don’t want to see any sailor harmed or hurt or lose their life, period, regardless of what the cause is. But I can tell you that the Navy has taken this very seriously.”

Crisostomo, Robinson and the other sailors disagree. They said they shared their experiences in the hopes that leaders would make a real change, especially as, one of the sailors said, suicide becomes “a normal thing” on the George Washington.

Today, Crisostomo has nearly made a full physical recovery. In Menifee, California, she is now attending college for the first time and plans to study psychology, partially because of what she experienced.

“Ever since I got out of the military, my mental health has been extremely better,” she said. “I can say that I am happier.”


Why aren’t these folks in a barracks instead of being on board? This sounds a lot like some poor leadership to me! Grumpy

Our Great Kids Soldiering The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War

Vietnam War: 1/503 of 173rd Infantry On Patrol in September 1970

Our Great Kids This great Nation & Its People

I still say that we have the BEST Kids in this Great Republic of ours!

Our Great Kids War

Would Young People Fight for America? Students discuss how they would react if the U.S. were attacked. (I myself have a lot of Faith in our Youngsters Grumpy)

Participants practice urban combat tactics during a firearms training session in Lviv, Ukraine, April 2.


Editor’s note: In this Future View, students discuss defending America. Next week we’ll ask, “After almost two years, MIT has reinstated standardized tests as a requirement for undergraduate applications. Should other colleges do the same? Are the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests useful measures?” Students should click here to submit opinions of fewer than 250 words before April 12. The best responses will be published that night.


Supporting Our Ideals

A recent poll suggests that a plurality of young people would flee from war if it came to the U.S., no doubt feeling discontented with America’s modern reckoning with the sins of its history. Perhaps they feel our national destruction is deserved. Worth noting is that it costs nothing to give a patriotic answer to a survey question. If a land invasion of the U.S. were to occur, we should probably expect an even higher percentage to flee.

The poll’s dichotomy between fighting or leaving is not precise. A substantial proportion of the population would not be engaged in direct battle. The real distinction is whether we support or oppose the ideals of freedom, equality and representative government.

Given the global influence of the U.S., escaping the consequences of a war would be impossible no matter where one fled. I would choose to fight an invader on American soil without hesitation, although I hold no delusions as to my readiness or usefulness in doing so. No matter its faults, the U.S. is worth defending because it is the only nation in the world that has maintained a government and culture of individual rights for more than 250 years. Young people shouldn’t give up these ideals so easily and hand the nation over to authoritarians. They may never get it back.

—Sarah Montalbano, Montana State University, computer science


Fulfilling Our Duty

America has given me so much. Ever since I was adopted from China, my life has been blessed with opportunities, community and freedom. If my country is attacked, then I would stay to fight to keep my blessings. My family’s history of serving in the military also makes the decision even easier, with two active Air Force pilots and two scientists at national labs in my immediate family.

The youth of America tend to see only active soldiers as those fighting for their country. Defending America, however, also consists of researching new weapons, promoting morale and drafting new legislation. Everyone has a duty to protect our country’s lands, ideals and freedoms, and we should fulfill this duty.

—Therese Joffre, Hope College, chemistry


Ukraine Is a Mirror to See Ourselves

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has held a mirror up for Americans, forcing us to evaluate our beliefs, community, family and nearly everything else we stand for. I have had to grapple with unhappy thoughts about my nearly two years of military service while in the Army in Afghanistan, but watching this unjust invasion has made me realize I would not leave this country if it were attacked.

—Alexander Butler, University of Montana, law


Courage Reveals Itself in Crisis

I would like nothing more than to say that I would be courageous and stay to fight. America is my home, and I cannot imagine giving it up. I cannot make that promise, however, when I have never faced the threat of losing loved ones to a war or of my home being turned into rubble. We all have to ask the same questions: How can I protect the people and places most dear to me? How can I chart a path forward and rebuild once the war is over?

Even though courage makes a country’s best defense, we should not scorn those who say they would leave. Many who profess courage will flee when tested, and many who say they would flee will choose to stay, for courage often only reveals itself in times of crisis. I believe I should stay to defend my country. I can only pray that, should such a time come, I hold true to my word.

—Evan Carlisle, Ohio University, mathematics

Allies Our Great Kids

Sin City SurvivalNurse

All About Guns Allies Darwin would of approved of this! Our Great Kids Stand & Deliver