The Navy Gave a Gay Man a Home—And a ‘Bad Paper’ Discharge That Haunted Him for Decades

A Vietnam War Veteran Reflects on 50 Years of Fighting for People Like Himself and The Group He Loved

I was 17 when I joined the Navy in 1965. My family was poor, and I was failing out of high school. Four years in the Navy felt like my only option.

I’d hoped to avoid ground combat by enlisting in the Navy, but within nine months of joining, I found myself in Vietnam.

During those long 13 months at war, the one good thing was the circle of friends I made, first as a hospital corpsman in an aid station in the jungle, and then onboard the hospital ship Repose.

The first …

Seeking a New Kind of Leader for the ‘War’ Against COVID-19 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Seeking a New Kind of Leader for the ‘War’ Against COVID-19

Military-Inspired Political Charisma Doesn’t Work Anymore

When COVID-19 began its surge in March, politicians worldwide rushed to cast themselves in a familiar role. Donald Trump described himself as a “wartime president.” Emmanuel Macron of France solemnly …

Why California Should Mourn the Loss of Topgun | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why California Should Mourn the Loss of Topgun

The Navy's School for Elite Pilots, Once Based in San Diego, Taught Us to Deal With Technological Failure

Bring back Topgun!

By that, I do not mean Top Gun, the cliché-ridden, late-Cold War, Tom Cruise film about speed-crazy Naval fighter pilots that still defines San Diego in the public …

How Hawai‘i Inspired the Advance of Aviation

In the 1920s, the Contest to Cross the Ocean and Reach the Islands Was Deadly—and Transformational

Approximately 20 million airline passengers traveled through Hawaiian airports last year. That might seem like a lot of people on a couple of small Pacific islands, but Hawai‘i hardly broke …

Why Using Foreign Contractors Helps Prolong Foreign Wars

Farming Out Work to Non-U.S. Employees Fosters Corruption, Hampers Logistical Oversight, and Keeps the American Public Disengaged 

First it was sacks of rice. Then frozen chicken. Later, even a television. The goods were wrapped tightly in plastic bags and thrown in with the other trash in a …

How Long Can the Military Defend Camp Pendleton?

The Marine Base Sits at a Crossroads of an Urbanizing Southern California Starving for Open Land

The American military may be the finest fighting force in the history of the world. But how long can it defend Camp Pendleton?

Marine Base Camp Pendleton is best known as …