"I’m sitting on the bumpy bare ice of the Kennicott Glacier while attaching steel crampons to my hiking boots. The inch-long metal spikes, now strapped to the bottom of my boots, will help me safely traverse miles of ancient ice. My pack is lying next to me, bulging with camping gear and a bear-proof canister crammed with enough food to feed six people. After tightening the straps that now crisscross my boots, I grab small cloth booties and put the protective footwear on Elu, my husky-mix service dog, who’s lean and stocky, weighing a little more than 50 pounds, with short blond-brindle fur and glacier-blue eyes rimmed in black..."
This collection of military essays about escapism was edited by Jennifer Corley, Justin Hudnall, Tenley Lozano, and Francisco Martínezcuello.
From the foreword by Justin Hudnall: "We title this collection of those stories [of waiting and longing], 'Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen,' after the three big categories we saw escapism falling into, with Copenhagen (the chewing tobacco so popular when staying awake on post, not the city in Denmark) representing The Suck, the unavoidable and inescapable periods of living waking purgatory where things just get weird..."
Less Than 1% of Military Divers are Women—I Was One of Them at Catapult Magazine, Illustration by Meryl Rowin for Catapult
"I tried to relax every muscle in my body as I breathed through my snorkel and peered down through my diving mask. The water was a vibrant blue shot through with rays of sunlight. A boat had taken our group of thirteen students and two instructors several miles off the coast of Florida, so we could dive in this deep water with gentle currents. I felt calm knowing I could never reach the sea bottom, thousands of feet below. I stared at a weight tied to the end of the rope hanging at a depth of twenty meters (sixty-six feet). Swimming down on one breath and touching that weight was my goal..."
Diving Shipwrecks of Future Past at The War Horse
"We jumped off the dive boat and descended through the water column, swimming down toward an American flag blown outstretched by the current. The star-spangled banner hung proudly by the bridge of the former USS Oriskany
aircraft carrier, now living another life as an artificial reef. The ship was 888 feet long, and roughly 2,600 people at a time had worked onboard while the vessel was at sea. The red stripes of the flag were muted by the depth of the water, rippling in varying shades of blue..."
Submerged winner of the 2017 John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize at Crab Orchard Review
"At the Mexican border, the rusty brown corrugated metal fence behind me, I pose for a picture with Elu, my dog. We stand in front of a simple statue of five wooden posts, painted white and rotting with age, marking the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. I plan to hike the Southern California portion of the trail in sections alone with my dog, starting with day trips and working our way up to backcountry camping and more miles per trip each weekend..."
"The Coast Guard Lieutenant handed me a pair of khaki shorts. Her blond hair hung in a tidy ponytail over the back of her blue t-shirt; yellow letters declared 'COAST GUARD DIVER.'
'If you make it through this week and get a billet as a Dive Officer, this is what you’ll wear for PT every day in Dive School. You’d better get used to running and swimming in them,' she said..."
Sailing the Atlantic Ocean at The War Horse
"Bundled in our parkas, hands in pockets, scratchy black wool caps pulled tight over our ears, we peered out over the ocean into the moonlight and wondered if anyone else was out there. That was our job: Lookout. Gazing out into the distance for other vessels on the water, or anyone in distress. Kirsten was peering through the small binoculars they let the cadets use, while the enlisted person on watch had the portable Big Eyes slung around his neck and propped up with one arm..."
at The War Horse
"The phrase was repeated over and over until it seemed more like a joke than advice. We were separated from the male cadets and told to look out for each other, that the enlisted men would try to make us their conquests. We’d heard rumors about female cadet 'sluts' caught sleeping around during their summer assignments. Whether the rumors were true or not didn’t matter. Perception is reality, they said..."
Service, Sexuality, and Stereotypes of A Female Veteran at The War Horse.
"If you look at closely at the woman standing by herself, you may catch a glimpse of ink etched into her skin, evidence of her years in the military—adventures and travels shown in colorful detail. Mountains rise from her left arm in watercolor patterns just below her shirtsleeve, symbolizing her first unit as a Coast Guard officer where she spent two and a half years on a ship stationed in the Pacific Northwest..."
Taking the Punches at Six Hens
"I don’t remember what his face looked like, but I remember the feeling of his gloved fists snapping my head back and rattling my teeth. The gym was crowded that night, at least twenty people were on the mat, and I happened to be the only woman. The other two regulars were absent. It was a dark and cold Seattle winter night, but the gym was bright and hot with sweat. The gym owner, Ivan, was a former Ultimate Fighter Championship competitor, and he was teaching the boxing class..."
Wind and Waves at O-Dark-Thirty
"My pack weighs in at fifty pounds when I load it into my dark green Subaru Outback the night before my backpacking trip with my husky mix, Elu. I’ll be carrying all of our water for the three-day, twenty-two-and-a-half mile trip, expecting all the streams shown on the map to be completely dry during this record-breaking California drought..."
Anthology of veteran essays edited by Justin Hudnall, Julia Dixon Evans, and Rolf Yngve