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To whom it may concern,

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my departure from the Navy. I have noticed a strong desire from the VA for transitional feedback. I feel that if you want to know what it is truly like to transition in the worst possible way I will share my story. Thanks for your time.

I would like to begin by telling you about my experience during service.

I joined the Navy in 2010 at age 27 to better support my growing family and wife of 5 years. To make this happen we had to put all our things in storage and rent out our house in Denver to convince the recruiters that we could financially support the shift into military life. Doing this was extremely difficult. The recruiters at the Aurora, Colorado office did very little to prepare me for joining. I lost my job shortly before gaining a contract at MEPS. Word had gotten around at work after months of me trying to join the Navy and my employer replaced me.

While taking care of a newborn and two year old son I broke my index toe and was delayed another 3 months before going to boot camp in August, even though it healed before I was originally supposed to leave in May. This forced us to move to Florida to stay with family until I could leave. This also was a huge stressor given that I was unemployed for almost 6 months. We sold our cars and cashed out our retirement funds to live with my in-laws. The recruiters at the Hollywood, Florida office were very helpful and made me feel much more ready. They took me to medical to ensure my toe was healed and trained me both physically and on the basics of military knowledge, which helped me, gain the rank of E-2 after boot camp. Boot camp was possibly the best part of my entire time in the Navy.

I attended sub training and eventually landed orders for Bremerton, Washington in March of 2011. This was great because most of our family was in NW Oregon. Adjusting to the crew of the USS Connecticut was very hard. I felt at age 28 that I was dealing with a bunch of boyish men who never learned how to be professional or kind. There were some exceptions but the culture was not healthy. I was assaulted and exposed to people’s violence and ****** aggression. I felt I had no voice and it was much like becoming a prisoner. As we settled into dry dock for the last 3 years of my first tour, I was glad to be home more.

I made efforts to be useful during this time; I did volunteer work, and aided the process of the ship’s overhaul. I was promoted to the rank of E-5 by three years in service. My career was going well but unfortunately going to dry dock is a career killer. I lacked many opportunities for training and felt fairly incapable of doing my job. This seemed to be the culture of most of the crew as well. My first E-7 was much different in the way he handled things than his replacement. The methods I used to complete tasks fell under scrutiny and my new E-7 took me to two NJP’s in 2014 and 2015, the last year I was on board. I felt singled out as many others had been doing things in the same ways. This was hard enough as I lost rank and had to go to shore duty with much less pay than expected. My wife had also had our third son by this time.

Each of our children were given a blanket diagnosis of autism by the child development specialist at Bremerton Naval Hospital, a TRICARE wonder. This sounded great to my wife who became more and more dependent on being a dependent, it opened the gates for a lot of free assistance. My wife did not have to work for ten years and this made her depressed and overweight, which trickled down to me and my morale at home or work.
Eventually my wife became more and more convinced of the need for the extra care of the ABA therapy and respite care provided by the Navy. She swore that she would leave me if I ever left the Navy. I figured she was just being dramatic. As she let herself go, we both fell into poor shape. I had a hard time with my weight and she became more mentally unstable. This home life greatly affected me in all aspects and did not help my work situation. The more appointments that my wife or boys had that I needed to help with, the more grief I got from my superiors. I feel this contributed to the ‘lesson’ I was taught, getting two NJP’s.

The doctors at the Naval Hospital also tried to treat my wife’s periodic depression with Prozac and other anti-anxiety medicine with little investigation. This only seemed to worsen her behavior in years to come. By 2018, we finally got a second opinion and found out that she has been Bipolar for years. The Prozac only made her even more manic and did little to help. She even left our Christian church and became Jewish, dragging our boys along into it. This unstable home situation greatly affected my work life in a negative way.

Shore duty in Bremerton was not much different as I was working on subs. The main difference was working with older retired Navy folks who were even more crass and horrible than the current enlisted co-workers I had worked with previously. I had a difficult time balancing the civilian work environment with the military pomp and circumstance that floated in the foreground. I gained the rank of E-5 back and left shore duty on great terms.
I was dreading going back to a sub as a Machinist Mate so I put in the work during shore duty to change jobs. I gained orders as a Logistics Specialist on subs, once again in Bremerton. I was to attend school in Mississippi for 6 weeks in 2018. At 35, I had just purchased a second home as we had lost our first home in Denver to a short sale because we could not afford to cover the rent and mortgage on military pay. My wife was also spending more than we could afford.

While in Mississippi, I gave a ride to my fellow/junior students and some of them later were caught with alcohol in the barracks. Because I had given them a ride earlier in the day, my name was brought into the story. Instead of taking my gesture of giving them a ride as a good deed, I was blamed for their choices that were made independently of me. I did not purchase alcohol or consume it. The NTTC command seemed to want a scandal and I went to a third NJP. This time I was not worried because I felt I had done nothing wrong. Things for me changed forever by the weeks and months I spent at NTTC in Meridian, Mississippi. I was treated like a monster and second class citizen and held captive from my family in Washington for 6 months.

I kept trying to fight the NJP but to no avail. Eventually I was recommended for a separation from service, as my appeals were denied. Looking back, I should have asked for a court martial because no proof is needed to punish someone during an NJP at the command level. This was even stated to me by one of the officers who sat at my separation board. It is all about what the O-6 feels like doing. Because I now had three NJP’s they could easily send me home but I opted to challenge this, but it only kept me there longer.

Gaining a JAG lawyer, I presented my case and was exonerated of the charges against me at NTTC. This unfortunately did not eliminate the third NJP from my record; it was just to make me feel better apparently because in the end they decided to separate me from service.

By this time, my family was in shambles. My wife who had just been diagnosed as Bipolar was not doing well and there was nothing I could do from so far away. I had no answer as to when I would even come home. Six months is a long time to be away for little or no reason. She could not understand the situation and felt I must have done something worse. It is as if she forgot who I was all of a sudden after 13 years of marriage. I could not wait to get home to start putting my life back together but I could not leave.
I was told I could not do TAPS or GPS in my home state of Washington. I had to take it all online with JKO as NTTC is limited on most things including GPS classes. JKO training for TAPS and GPS was a joke and it did not even work properly some of the time. I just wanted to get home.

I would have much rather transitioned in the place I would eventually be living and working. I was fine with getting out of the Navy by this time but my wife was not. Before I left Mississippi, I was struggling with money so bad that I had to borrow money from my father and take out a loan from Navy Federal just to stay afloat.

Unexpectedly, USAA insurance called me to ask about transitions and to my surprise, they were talking about divorce. My wife had called them and said we were separated. As I looked into her activities, I discovered she had been sleeping with some other sailor, ITS1 Jason Colbert at NCTAMS, Bangor Washington. I confronted him and his command but nothing was done about it. She now is still with him a year later and ITSCS Shinn apparently did not feel he should be given an NJP but that is not my problem anymore. I assumed my wife cheated and blew our money because of all the stress and that it was her condition that made her act out but even giving her the benefit of the doubt, she continued to stab me in the back by ignoring me and refusing to talk about things.
To make matters worse she filed for divorce and a restraining order on July 11th, so I had no place to return to once I left. I had to start gearing up for another legal battle right after another. The stress of this time caused me to lose 50lbs in only a couple months. I took up smoking as I was not allowed to leave base and fantasized about storming the gate to achieve suicide by police. Amazingly, I survived this difficult time away. I left NTTC on 27 July 2018 and had nothing to show for my eight years in service but regret.
I returned to a flurry of legal matters and had to sell my home and my ex-wife was able to gain primary custody of our boys as the court system is very biased towards women. I never once hit her or tried to hurt her but was treated like ****. I never wanted any of this and it makes me sick. Thankfully, friends from my old church took me in and let me stay for 6 months, close to rent free. Another church friend got me a job with a DOD contractor by September 1st. Even though I was taken care of, I felt the military did not one thing to aid in the process. In fact, they hindered my success. I did it all myself or with the help of my friends.

I now am happy to say that I met a neighbor of my church friends and we are now living together. She has taken care of me since most of my income now goes towards spousal support and child support. There is no way another person could have gone through this type of situation and come out of it as well as I did. This speaks to my character and probably all of the horrible situations I had to deal with in the military. I completely understand why vets become homeless and despondent. There has to be better ways to help vets. Family legal services would be a huge help to name one.

I would love to speak in more detail to another human being about what I can do to improve this from happening to someone else. I do not want to see more vague surveys and emails from the VA.

Thank You.
This felt like poetry when I read it to myself. Life can be so **** but I am here to tell you that it will get better.
A Myspace friend at first.
Then you jumped on the Facebook wagon.
And then you became my dear friend.
Just found out you passed on.
My tears betray me.
My hurt sways me onward.
I refuse to....
Maybe someday I will finish that last sentence.
Now the sadness fills me up like a full glass of bitter tasting wine.
Can't help how I feel.
To know that I will never hear from you, and chat with you
again.
A loss of time...
Our friendship times.
Gonna cry a lot.
My grief is going to be on the morning, afternoon and evening shifts for a while.
I love you my departed friend.
Never had a chance to say goodbye.
O I can finish that sentence now.
How are you doing?
Send me a heavenly...'Hi there!' from time to time.
Missing you. You are my veteran friend.
I send a heavenly salute to you and....
lots and lots of forever "AMENS!'
The loss of a dear friend.
annh Jun 10
They wear their bodies inside-out, some are ashes but few are dust. Vacant orbits, oblivious to the incoming tide and the percussive artillery from the heavily fortified positions on Rue de la Mort, view the world with equanimity. Their bloodied stillness at odds with the surrounding tumult.

It’s at times like these - pinned down behind a burnt-out vehicle, the sand skipping around me with the phut-phut-phut of spent rounds - that I envy them their final freedom. Not that all deaths are as elegant and instantaneous as a well aimed bullet to the head.

It is a fleeting thought, hardly even that, a whispering somewhere in the background of my consciousness, like listening to a low-tuned wireless. And with victory as with defeat - with the ear-ringing silence - the whisperings become louder and more persistent.

Right, left; up, down; stop, wait; walk, run; sink, swim; live, die. Some pray to survive, other’s yearn for the sweetspot, the one shot ****. Regardless, there is no doubt that we who remain will fight on for weeks, for years, for decades and continue to live the uncertainty of the living - sweating bullets until kingdom ****** come.
‘They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.‘
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ken Pepiton Jun 6
Axt would I, I sed yah soyam

Signing a song played in the white noise that surrounds me

nights like these past 7043,

Who chounted en chant em, enchantemgood

So no we are at what is a befinning place.
beginning (90's too ****, U2 too Northern Euro,
Green Day, Coolio,
Noise to a message dying to be heard
welcome to another
imaginary garden in an ever expanding mind

field of unthinkable things,
back then

we have whiteout but it doesn't work here

My culture had near simultaneous eruptions of supermarkets

and Fords.

This guy, his culture had near simultaneus disruptions of progress and
interruptions of information
some os were lost in the middle synchrony
instance if I cationic plus or minus
simaltan

Oh, I get it. You, dear reader, have been
out of it.
We went public with the entire plan for public
key distribution,
through six palanced stacks of energy stores

Chakra, chi, science make ya think eh. Polarize, see

everything groovy --no
[contemprayery idle intense ify AI keep us current]

lie, good, no lie is always safe. Don't wanna stumble any souls.

I was mentioned, my being a speaker in a story, I was said
to have said something, upon a time,
on the cover of the Rolling Stone,

I witnessed a lie being told and said my ears weren't garbage cans,
like a brainwashed culty.

no, **** I was a cultivated follower of a confessed
follower cultivator.

I bloom when I imagine being treated as a mushroom,
I never paid much attention,
I never felt
insane
but
I can imagine
wee whatifs crept in… aha

The Olde Deluder, Satan, Act

that, a tiny gleam, a single ATP gone ADP

but there was light. A story I lived is now being told
without me,
oy vey Jah knowaddamean.

There was a wiseman, who,
by his wis-dom saved a city, and no one knew
that same wiseman's name,

proverbs are intentional games, the rules,
hiding a thing, done by God, glory ifies him
seeking out a matter, done by a being translated king,
transmutes that seeking into honor

Honor is hard to compare to the war flavored twists,
knots and tangles where woof and warp held

long long long before war was imagined, honor was.

A medal of honor for valor, what does it mean?

Leonard Wood got one. For his part in solving
the Apache problem.
He also,

Flash I had my wires crossed, in a way, it may
enlighten.
You see, I had thought that I had read Leonard Wood,
be cause I had imagined he was in New Jersey, but that
was Lord Amherst, Jeff

He tweerted ( wrote in a letter on paper we've a fact simile):
"to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race."

From <https://www.umass.edu/legal/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html>

Could be the source of the whole shores of triple ease retirement lure/trap/moneymoneymoney makeit fakit

I asked once, who's to blame and whose to blame,
samesame came an answer, I sware, quick as

next, twixt being and being possible,

realize

we do change things, in time, which,

if we can agree, is limited for us,
to now, no thens behind

mere, mere, mere ifs and whens ahead

be

--so there's been music all along
life's the song

skip a decade, like skippin' a grade

grad Harvard at a prepubescent 12

If I had a Hammer time, one message

one valiant try to be will smith,

Live and Learn, old man, say the dude on the radio
in he's hammaheadphones, cain't touch

Bomb. Jesus lent me Jael's hammer,
radioman nailed it.

If I had a hammer was the prayer,

MC, he was the Godsmacked nail in the coffin

Dark inside gothish messages hurgle and gurgle
guts twisted in freak pride love hate list lust

dichotomies of choice in ever learning
good citizenship worth honor and glory

of the sort men dare to die for, facing darkness,
the NULL set ***** and ***** and *****

This ain't gravity tuggin me,
this is that monster who lives forever in top forty radio

When/then Radioman emerges, Like the Mighty Quinn from

deep beneath Gibson's darkest ever imagined ICE wall…

What's on? (ellipses, do those mean POV shift or selah?)

I forget, s still all alchemistry t'me, if allyagots ahammass,

realize, if it matters, t'me, bubble bustin' need no nail.

I gotti'd a hamma, gonna hamma in the moan

O.G., mighty man of valor, where'dyew arise from?

We, the integrated us, non autonomous, inarrogant
We were dancin' to that I'm a Loser, Baby

so why don't cha killme, knowwad i'msayin

This old man been wandern in the desert far far far
side the madding crowd
making minced
meet
broken spirit. we goin together to a re-pair place

at the center of you'n'all you know, your bubble but

--- everlearning everclear outlawed, good lawed
--- moon shine spiritment lauded out loud
--- the world all ways works when a garden is

beyond the pale,
Irish
rye whiskey, wheat bread liqui
if I were an
old *** ninties guy drinking ***** laudnum
singin'

on the corner with the hourus girl's

Making the Con Next Ion, watchathank,
is it The Nineties A to Z , ending wit, it’s a hard
knawks life, or

a Bohr-TED talk or
a video of Schrödinger's  
verdamte dead cat?

Or am I surrounded by so great acloud of witnesses that some times I spend

simply hummin' along, life's beat me to the ground,

which gladly,
I'm so glad, I'm glad, I'm glad which

loses its meaning if you never experienced such a fall
ending in absorption of it all.
****** Baker, slam that cymbal, CRASH!

Life, in every key, there's a clue. Some where,
there's a lock on a true thing we need

to, eventually, know all things.

Keywords lost givitawaygivitawaygit it back tenfo'

Black spirit-filled tongue talkin' grandpa friend of
Johnny Walker, Red not Black,

He challenged me ye see. I recall what was on TV.
Nixon sayin' he,
honest he,
anti-****** he,
bombin' invadin; he, was Notacrook, the super hero
he imagined

Bio is building energy, all the time does is
test the effort.

Is life lived this way worth the effort?
if/then/else

Who chose, integrated me, all the masks and voices I have accepted as ideas that can have apiece of me.

BTW, kids, even if an angel of light asks you to take a little piece of my heart, don't

yer killin me and I know where the next story started,

you are lost without me, fretnot, I'm the way

I heard that, that's no claim I mist'tok as my response.

Deeper, are we absobbing any thing, deeper tincture
of time, t'me see

POV
SameYesTodayForever (SYTF) protocols have been in place,
as far as we know,

since words made sense naturally, eons ago, at least.

If you want my future, then forget my past
musing medium messages sayin

what the hell? A game, you sayin' life's a game?

Ja, was oder vice nicks versus universal soldier godlet

Jump when I jump, remember… don't cry

I woulda danced with wolves to have changed
one mind that followed me

beyond that point,
no return, is such a mortal POV, you see
as far as you cansee

Deep. the gem. all the meaning ever was was
in that gem.

Dare me for no reason? Is that reasonable,
ration my tears to test my mettle

I went mad in 1995, have I made that plain?
Things crumbled around me for ten years,

I was helped by hoping I knew a truth about those
manifested imaginary gems
given kings and potentates
said to possess great powers and
the meaning of every mystery unknown to man

eh, say again
gems
given kings and potentates
said to possess great powers and the meaning OhGEE
the every mystery unknown to man

lies lies lies they all were lies lies lies lies

I told you so, and it is still sweet to say
you know

You heard it all before, greatest test story ever told.
That was no test.
this is.

Jump when I jump, remember… don't cry

Epic stories deserve more than mere words,
but, you know, click,

words are what we make things from.

Tell me your stories,
she woulda seemed to whisper, woulda drained me, drownd me
in just if I'd love linked

to the money machine of your dreams

had I not rode the grey dog outa Nashville,
back in '82,

I'da missed seein' flyover country that feels like mine,
when I take this POV.
I wandered into a sattelite radio 90's A-Z, kinda like those histories of philosophies old people listen to when they're ******. Oh, the moonshine experiment worked, FYI
jcl Mar 16
i am tired of fighting, i am too old, i’ve seen too much

i am throwing down my weapon, i surrender, **** me if you must have blood

i don’t care anymore, i don’t remember what i am fighting for, i just want to go home.

put this war behind me, live to love, not to ****, not to die, for what purpose, for what god.

who will commemorate our battles, and those who have died just yesterday

who will remember our names, aspiration, dreams once we are dead

we are disposable, born to ****, then die, who cares, why care, we served your purpose

we are the pawns, expected to die for the greater good that we can not have

look at your lives, was it worth it, how do you honor Them, those who died, so you can live
Tears gently spill out of my mountain top eyes.
Witnessing you becoming a daddy again.
capturing in this precious moment.
The love between a father and this tiny human being.
A gift from God's living dreams.
To give you this angelic blessing.
A beautiful baby girl.
Your beautiful baby girl.
Your beautiful and rare diamond baby girl ring.
A sparkling diamond ring SOUL forged in divinity.
A healing love.
An anointed testament to those great things yet to come.
Welcome to the world.
My precious little baby girl.
A precious little girl,
who has stolen
my heart before
she was even born.
And I promise you that from this day forth.
I will protect you with my
Brave Veteran Soldier Heart.
And when you start dating.
I promise you this.
If your boyfriend treats you wrong;
He will be sleeping with the fishes.
Cause you got my heart forever!
It is getting hard for me to continue to talk.
So, let me speak instead through my tears and giving love.
As you sleep near my soldier heart;
Remember, you got 'My Forever Veteran Daddy Heart.'

(C) copyrighted
A soldier father meets his daughter for the first time.
Ken Pepiton Mar 19
Playing sax in the
entry way to
hospital-calming-green-ceramic tiled public showers at Venice Beach
With truest imaginable singin'-in-the-showers acoustic response

You're there. Explore. You can't break nothing. Jus' do
Be do be do sings the sax you can
Imagine
The rest.

Questive, eh? Holy separate day. Live and learn.
Here a little there a little first step here first step there
Right right right don't get up tight
Jesus it's that cab fare with Fred Newton telling it
Never mind. You had to be there, then.

Cell-splitting, we mentioned that right? That is real where I am. Is it real where you are?

Fine-tuning, yes,
fine squared like one extremely fine frequency at the speed of
Light squared
By birth, nat-ive-ure-hol-y-istic tuned
In you
Forever

Can you hear me now? God is. That is all now. Listen.

Still.
Still? How long?
That long.
How far?
From here to where? Or
When, one may suppose, I suppose, so any one may.
To the first position, past first, turn and go the other way
an other way.

Who knows? If one is lost, here every one begins finding and finding forever.
We never stop,
But we rest. True rest. I think that is the idea trust is built on.
True rest. The Platonic Ideal upon which trust among men is formed.
"there remains a rest for the people of light and substance"

Start here.
This can't be the beginning. Ohkeh?
Here then, at the period.
Starting over too late is common, fret not.
Ye know what? I t makes no difference who you are when you wish upon a star.
That is alluding, right? All lude and no work, in sin you wait.

Wake up. Look around. You remember getting into this book.
And now, this book is is all there ever is.
Summertime and the livin' is
Ease-ie.

I found my page, oh
my chapter, oh, more,

my volume in life's book. Fancy meeting you.
Syl Primous, wounded 101st, homeless, lost his VA bene. He set the first scene. Maybe the best tenor sax in Phoenix, when he's got his chops.
Desire Jan 9
I was a minor who grew up as part of the majority of minorities. Then I embraced a misfit lifestyle, believing Christ, the Messiah, holds all authority. I became a Marine and a married man receiving  more responsibility.  I'm becoming a medic, treating trauma and those who's lives need monitoring.  In the midst of it all, my entire life has been molded by this common theme: ministry.

Not the religious type, but the genuinely authentic, legitimate kind; full of humble and authentic servants and leaders through community;  Imperfect people pursuing positive change and holiness; its more than self-prosperity.  I call this community of people, Church, and these members I call my family.

My life ain't perfect, but its been a blessing to live life despite dark days, receiving unearned and undeserving forgiveness, mercy, and grace. My hope can't be "proven" real or fake, its why its called faith. So  may those who obey  through faith bring  peace, placing  hope on display. I am nothing without God.  My  love  for you comes from Love He sacrificially gave.  My heart, mind, and soul are transformed and influenced by His perfect ways. May the One whose might cannot be matched receive glory and praise, for His ways have given me, a newly-shaped life, that is, the least to say... Im ever thankful.  Amen [YAWEH]!

This is me. The  medic-in-the-making, former Marine, Messiah's misfit from the mass of minorities - ministry molding my life, even in the midst of where I'm moved to next. I  just want to obey, do, and be better for me, you, and future generations.  There's really no harm in this. You could disarm the hostile hits. There's good news (the gospel message) and my past, present, and future are moved by it! Be blessed!
[MAKE YOUR MOVES]

9 Jan 19
0103hrs
XLIV. New Year Reflection and Resolution [Testimony]
Desire Dec 2018
I grew out my beard.
I grew out my stomach.
My ears ring randomly.  
My eyes see things differently.
I speak or say less.  I move in silence.
I sleep in when I want.
I haven't touched razors since my return
nor rifles since the field ops.
I've grown in maturity mentally.
I've grown insensitive verbally.
I've grown to miss the uniform
and pride of belonging in a brotherhood;
I miss my extended family.
I miss the people, not the troubles.
I miss the gym, where others alike
flexed invisible muscles.
My days once had routine,
pattern, structure and rhythm.
Weekends full of workouts, worship, and beer.
Weeks full of work, blood, sweat, and tears.
I've grown in experience.
I've regained freedom as a civilian.
But the transition has been a grueling process.
Yet, I've grown to be grateful nonetheless,
as not everyone gets to go back "home" ...
(remember the fallen) ...
However, if I'm honest, I don't think there's ever
an actual adjustment...
[I'm growing]
XLIII. Adapt and Overcome
-
The life of a Veteran
-
Random reflection
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