Soft Spots: A Marines Memoir of Combat and PTSD

click the book cover to link to a preview of Clint’s memoir

A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America.

Click the above image to read a preview of this book via Google Books

 By Clint Van Winkle

Brady Bill signed into law: 1993

James Brady (1940-2014) looks on as President Bill Clinton signs the so-called ‘Brady Bill’ into law into 1993. Brady died at the age of 73 this past August.

During a White House ceremony attended by James S. Brady, President Bill Clinton signs the Brady handgun-control bill into law. The law requires a prospective handgun buyer to wait five business days while the authorities check on his or her background, during which time the sale is approved or prohibited based on an established set of criteria. Read more

Chivalrous Sailor Always Lets Females Go Up Ladderwell First



YOKOSUKA, Japan — Wishing all men were half the man he is, steadfast sources aboard the USS George Washington CVN-73 confirmed today that Operations Specialist 1st Class Jeremy Leer is an unparalleled bastion of masculine gentility.

Proclaiming he is incontestably without equal, the Washington’s entire female compliment unanimously agreed that the debonair Leer is hands down the most gallant and chivalrous gentleman to ever cross their path, especially if that path happened to be in the restricted confines of a crowded passageway or in a small, dimly-lit space. Read more

Image of the Day: 30 November 2014



Although this image doesn’t represent my generation, it does represent a common practice my generation participated in. I remember looking forward to  the Pledge of Allegiance, which in some cases took place before roll call. I knew what it meant to be an American at a young age; and I was proud of it. We can never forget where and by what means we came from.

afghanistan1 feature


“Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War



This was created (for Thanksgiving) after I added some images, chose a theme with audio to @Magisto. After a minute of so, this is what they came up with. It’s only a few seconds long, but it was fun putting it together. You can find @Magisto in the Google Play Store for both desktop and cell phones and an upgrade is available which allows you to upload more images, videos and it increase the length of the finished product! . Enjoy!

A Soldier’s Mettle

Sgt. Matthew Bland and the Marines with Cpl Sean Leahy squad prepare to RTB (return to base) after completing their mission. The Marines are assigned to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines — Nelvin C. Cepeda
Sgt. Matthew Bland and the Marines with Cpl Sean Leahy squad prepare to RTB (return to base) after completing their mission. The Marines are assigned to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines — Nelvin C. Cepeda

“The true test of a soldier’s mettle is to see whether or not they will cling to what they believe in, even in the face of impending death.”
Matthew S. Williams

Rare WW II photos: A Prelude to the Japanese Surrender, 1945

A modeller shows us exactly what the Green Cross Betty would have looked like. One can only imagine the emotions running through the ground crews who were required to paint over their much-adored hinomaru markings and remove her defensive armament. This is the bomber variant of the G4M Betty, while the second aircraft to land was a transport variant. Photo, model by Terry aka braincells37

Rare photos of a fascinating piece of history.  This was overshadowed by the Tokyo Bay surrender ceremony a few weeks later.  

Interesting photos of the preparation of Surrender of Japan in August 1945 (Officially signed on the USS Missouri in the Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945) , A delegation of Japanese Representatives flew to an American Base close to Okinawa.

The Japanese planes were requested to be painted in white and have the”Meatballs” replaced by a Green Cross.

 I‘ve added over 30 images to my Google Drive account and left the link below. I wasn’t able to add the captions to each individual picture,[ I received these via email] so I copied them on a separate file in order of appearance. There was also a letter from an eyewitness Army Soldier to his parents recounting the event. These are  rare photos (and  personal descriptions) and should be shared so feel free to download anything you like and pass them along. Click the first file to launch the slide show.  Enjoy! 


Here are photographs of some of those Green Cross flights and Green Cross aircraft, starting with the most photographed of them all ? the Green Cross Bettys of Iejima

The two Bettys (ironically and deliberately given the call signs Bataan 1 and Bataan 2 by the Americans) fly low over the East China Sea, inbound for Iejima wearing their hastily painted white surrender scheme and green crosses. One can only imagine what is going on in the conflicted minds of the Japanese airmen as they fly over their own territory in the company of the hated enemy, headed for an event of profound humiliation in front of thousands of enemy soldiers. These two Bettys would become the most photographed Green Cross surrender aircraft of the end of the war. Photo: US Navy

Super Advanced Sniper Technology Full Documentary


F 16 Fighter Pilots over Afghanistan


Check out this video highlighting Airmen from the 100th Fighter Squadron showcasing what it means to be a F-16 fighter pilot over the skies of Afghanistan.

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When America stood together


May 27, 1945 The 6888th Postal Battalion was an all female, all black unit responsible for sorting every piece of mail sent to US troops in the European theater… Sorting the 90 billion pieces of mail sent to American troops in Europe required the women to keep track of the location of every US solider in Europe, including all 7,500 Robert Smiths. Yet thanks to their round the clock sorting, 65,000 letters went out three times a day to soldiers throughout Europe.”

Source: National Archives

Image of the Day: 29, November 2014

Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces

“I Got Your Six.”

Notice the survival bracelet the soldier facing us is wearing. I make and sent these to the troops; it’s good to see them wearing them.


US National Guard: On Duty

A California Army National Guard Soldier from the 1-140th Aviation Battalion supports the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE battling the Rim …

I’ve tried to cover all of the branches of our military here on Maiden on the Midway, but it seems I fell a little short. I’ve always said that each branch has their specialties that make them standout from the others but when they all work together, in tandem they’re nothing short of a fine oiled machine, everything and everyone doing what needs to be done WHEN it needs doing. I think this is just another quality that makes our armed forces a powerhouse, not to be reckoned with is. Read more

What It Takes To Serve In The Navy’s Elite Warfare Boat Crew

This is another great photo journal from Business Insider, (a lot of pictures). I’ve randomly chose a few of my favorites and shared them here. To view in full, follow the link below.

These Sailors are a different breed; as are all Special Forces warriors. I’m not quite sure where they find/hide the strength (physical, emotional) to get through the rigorous training they get themselves into. Granted, less than 50% pass the courses but the rest that DO pass, are animals!  Enjoy.

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen SWCC operators drive well-armed, fast boats in support of special ops missions including stealthy insertion and extraction of SEALs, clandestine reconnaissance, and combat gunfire support.

The Navy’s high-risk water mission experts, SWCCs must be physically fit, mentally tough, focused, and responsive in high stress situations — and getting to that point requires brutal mental and physical training. Read more

These Are America’s Secret Elite Warriors

The US Special Operations Command SOCOM oversees roughly 70,000 operators, support units, and civilians from each of the military’s sister service branches.

America’s elite soldiers, work under a shroud of secrecy to carry out high-risk missions with swift precision, laser focus and firm perseverance. Read more