Join us for a not-to-be-missed episode of The Scuttlebutt. For years, The Pech was the most kinetic spot on the planet – so why would a college student risk his life by spending a semester abroad embedded with our military? To answer this question and many more is special guest, Wesley Morgan, author of THE HARDEST PLACE: THE AMERICAN MILITARY ADRIFT IN AFGHANISTAN’S PECH VALLEY. Also joining us is Army and Afghan War veteran, John Hawes. Both gentlemen bring a deep and personal knowledge of the military’s struggles and sparse successes in the Pech to The Scuttlebutt. Did we mention this isn’t to be missed?

To read more about the end of the Afghan War, you can visit the NYTimes, here, here, here, and here. Also check out A big thank you to D&D Metal Recycling and Auto Salvage for sponsoring the Scuttlebutt!

Links to further reading:

The Hardest Place:

Excerpt in the Atlantic:

Wesley Morgan’s Twitter Photo Thread:

Welcome to The Scuttlebutt: Understanding Military Culture, a weekly pre-recorded program presented by The Veterans Breakfast Club.
“Scuttlebutt” is a military term (specifically Navy) for talk or gossip around the watercooler below decks. The staff at VBC arrived at this title as a way of defining what our new program is about –  an informed conversation about the military experience, past and present. 



This week, The Scuttlebutt gets a jumpstart on PTSD Awareness Month. Co-host and Army veteran, Ryan Ahl, takes the reins in a special episode of The Scuttlebutt where we attempt to demystify PTSD by asking important questions and providing some answers on available research, symptoms, and types of treatment available. There’s plenty of information available online but recent articles in Task & Purpose,, and, are excellent resources for those looking to learn more about this very important topic. A big thank you to D&D Metal Recycling and Auto Salvage for sponsoring the Scuttlebutt!

Links to Further Reading

This week’s episode of the Scuttlebutt is a bonus episode! We’re talking with Army & Iraq War vets Ryan Ahl and Eric Smith about the new video game Six Days in Fallujah. There’s some controversy surrounding this game, as critics say it sensationalizes the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War—one that killed over 100 US and British trips and over 800 Iraqi civilians. Ryan, Eric, and Shaun talk: is this controversy deserved? What makes “Six Days” worse than other war games, like Call of Duty? Can video games tell the stories of veterans who served—or more importantly, should they? Tune in for this fascinating discussion! And a big thank you to D&D Metal Recycling and Auto Salvage for sponsoring the Scuttlebutt!

Links to Further Reading,or%20distributing%20Six%20Days%20in

We’re back this week with Part 2 of our discussion of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Once again joining us is Dr. Roksana Korchynsky, Phd, Clinical Psychologist, and MST Program Coordinator with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; Navy Veteran and MST Survivor Timothy Jones; and Army Veteran Ryan Ahl. We talk a bit more about what the VA is doing to treat MST survivors and help with their recovery. We also ask the tough questions: is there something about military culture that encourages or promotes sexual assault? A note that this episode contains subjects that may be triggering. For our audio listeners: head to to watch the video version of this week’s episode and read more. And a big thank you to D&D Metal Recycling and Auto Salvage for sponsoring the Scuttlebutt!

Further reading for this week’s episode:

Tune into The Scuttlebutt for part one of our two-part series on Military Sexual Trauma (MST) in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Joining us is Dr. Roksana Korchynsky, Phd, Clinical Psychologist, and MST Program Coordinator with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; Navy Veteran and MST Survivor Timothy Jones; and Army Veteran Ryan Ahl. We  break down terminology, recent headlines, reporting structure, myths and much more. A note that this episode contains subjects that may be triggering. And a big thank you to D&D Metal Recycling and Auto Salvage for sponsoring the Scuttlebutt!

Further reading and resources from this episode:én

The term “military brat” is a badge of pride worn by generations of kids who traveled the world with their parents, moving into adulthood with the knowledge that they have the strength to handle anything. Military children deal with separations, deployments, frequent moves and even their parents’ injuries as part of the life they were born into or entered with their families. Join us this week on The Scuttlebutt as we talk with two military brats (1 veteran and 1 non-veteran) about their early childhood and how they coped with life in the military. You can also read more about military families at and

Further info from this week’s episode:

This week’s episode of the Scuttlebutt is a bonus episode. We’re talking to Air Force vets Ben Wright and Larry Googins and getting their reactions to planes flying into the Star Wars Canyon out in Death Valley. They walk us through the air speeds and altitudes these guys must be flying at and why flying through the canyon is so challenging. Plus they teach us the “Grunt Maneuver,” in case you ever find yourself passing out while pulling G’s. Yeesh! Fasten your seatbelts for this one!

Watch the video clips from this episode here:

Attention dog-lovers! This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking all about MWDs. No, not WMDs. Military Working Dogs! Tune into our conversation with two Marines who have had experience training and working with military working dogs. Andrew Kowtko worked as a K-9 dog handler for 8 years and joins us from Okinawa, Japan, where he is currently stationed. Bill Jeffcoat talks to us about his nonprofit, Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans, as well as his experience as a dog handler in Vietnam. Kathryn and Shaun offer their perspectives as civilians and dog-lovers. And we all gasp in awe at some of the “ruff” training military dogs have to go through! Don’t miss this episode! For our audio listeners: head to to watch the video version of this week’s episode and read more about this service. To learn more about Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans, visit

More on the Episode

List of Military Dog Names: 

How Pearl Harbor launched Dogs for Defense and brought dogs into the military   

VA Study Shows Service Dogs help Veterans with PTSD

Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking all about an oft-forgotten service: the Merchant Marine. We talk to two Merchant Mariners, Sal Mercogliano and Bridget Cooney, about their work. We ask, how do the Merchant Marines differ from the US Marines (turns out—a lot!)? What does their day-to-day on ship look like? And why do we need them. We also go into the hiFurther Reading

Everything About the Merchant Marine

Sal Mercoglianos

The Jones Act

SS Cynthia Olson

The Way of the Sea by Alex Roland

Fourth Arm of Defense by Sal Mercoglianos

Lightning Round Maritime Dictionary

We’ve got a different kind of episode for you this week on the Scuttlebutt. We’re reacting to the infamous 10th Mountain Division shoothouse video. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a room-clearing fail. But what exactly is so horrifically wrong with it? Ryan Ahl walks us through the minute-long video and all of the mistakes that were made along the way. In his words, “somebody here has seen too much John Wayne. They need to ban it from the barracks.” For our audio listeners: head to to watch the video version of this week’s episode.

Video: John Valiukas on Facebook

Articles about the video:

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking about some of the most iconic Post-9/11 War Movies. Ryan, Kathryn, and Evan come to discuss some must-sees, some passes, and some of the most laughable scenes (looking at you, Hurt Locker). We also ask: Should war movies be accurate? Do we owe it to veterans to retell true stories as accurately as possible? And how could Jeremy Renner just start shooting a sniper like it’s no big deal? Plus, we chat about some headlines, our phrase-of-the-week, and a cadence call that’s popping up all over the internet. Tune in for our conversation! And head to our YouTube channel to find a playlist of trailers for nearly every movie we discuss.

More on this week’s episode:

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re revisiting the topic of the military-civilian divide and talking to active duty Air Force fighter pilot Mitch Fossum about his op-ed for the Military Times. We’re asking questions like: What does the military-civilian divide look like in our communities? Why should civilians care about it? Can the military help bridge this divide? Or is it something we, as a community, have to work to fix? Join us for this fascinating discussion!

Further reading for this week’s episode:

“Civ-mil relations are local” by Mitch Fossum:

“23 Terms Only Fighter Pilots Understand”

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking about the Vet Center and the role it plays in servicemen and women’s transition back to civilian life. We sit down with Army vet Ryan Ahl and Marines Eric Lundblom and Lee Wagner, who all work at the Vet Center, and discuss how the center came to be, the work they do for veterans who are reintegrating, and more. And of course, our usual segments: Where in the world is the US Military, recent headlines, phrase-of-the-week, and some Scuttlebutt. Stick around at the end for a bonus segment where we talk more about the military-civilian divide. Don’t miss it!

Further reading for this week’s episode:

US Military Involvement in Yemen:


The Vet Center


On this week’s episode of the Scuttlebutt, we ask the question: How do we bridge the military-civilian divide? Listen to our discussion of this topic with Marine Corps veteran Haya Eason, Army veteran Ryan Ahl, and Gold Star Wife Becky Nyren. We also look at US military involvement in Tunisia, talk about the latest military headlines, enjoy some scuttlebutt, and of course, discuss who we wanted to win Super Bowl LV (get ready for some unpopular opinions…).

Further reading for this week’s episode:

US Involvement in Tunisia:

Phrase of the Week:


Main Story:


The Scuttlebutt is back, and our boots are hitting the ground for our second season! This week, we talk about 9/11, 20 years later. Listen to our conversation with Army vet Ryan Ahl and Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Karen Sudkamp. We remember where we were that day, how US involvement in the Middle East has changed since, and how the military has changed since. Plus, our usual segments of headlines and scuttlebutt. We’re glad to be back, and we hope you’ll tune in!

Further Reading for This Week’s Episode,troops%20were%20stationed%20in%20Germany.&text=The%20treaty%20still%20regulates%20the,troops%20stationed%20in%20Germany%20today.

This week, we have for you our Season 1 Finale: Just the Scuttlebutt! We’ve had such a great time sharing military headlines, fascinating stories, and bits of scuttlebutt with you over the past few months that we figured, why not dedicate our last episode to just Scuttlebutt! We’re joined by the folks we’re calling our “All-Star Cast,” Marine Corps vet James Martin, Army vet Ryan Ahl, and Gold Star Wife Becky Nyren. Tune in as we check back on stories we’ve been following since Episode 1 and introduce new pieces of Scuttlebutt we just can’t help but share. Make sure to listen through the end, as we wrap up with our reflections on Season 1. We thank you for watching and listening to this season’s episodes, and we can’t wait to talk with you all again in Season 2!

Further reading for this week’s episode:

Navy Will Decommission Fire-Damaged Bonhomme Richard,, Nov 30, 2020

Trump Signs Bill Authorizing Alwyn Cashe to Receive Medal of Honor,, December 4, 2020

‘Gravely Disappointed’: 14 Fort Hood Leaders Fired, Suspended in Wake of Vanessa Guillen Murder,, Dec 8, 2020

Marine Corps to compete in Call of Duty tourney against other branches for the first time, Marine Corps Times, December 9, 2020

North Korea May Have Its Own Corps of Communist Killer Dolphins,, 2020

The Air Force Is Putting Laser Guns on Fighter Jets, IGN Southeast Asia, Nov 15, 2020

How the Army’s futuristic new goggles are changing the mechanics of shooting, according to soldiers, Task and Purpose, Nov 24, 2020

Hey, Wanna Buy a Cold War Fighter Jet? Popular Mechanics, Aug 18, 2020

Video: 1958 F-100 uses short “runway,” Jim Davis on YouTube, May 20, 2008

Blue Angels’ Classic F/A-18 Hornets Take Final Flights After 34 Years,, Nov 4, 2020

Chuck Yeager died on December 7th, The Economist, December 12th, 2020 Edition

Over 18, 000 Chinese Americans served in WWII. A long-awaited honor ceremony is delayed. NBC News, May 22, 2020

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking all about the Coast Guard! It may be less than one tenth of the size of the US Army, but it’s an important service with missions unlike those of any other branch. Listen to our conversation with Jacob Niehaus and Mike Evanish as we talk about their service with the Coast Guard, what makes this branch unique, and whether all Coasties are good swimmers. Plus, our weekly phrases-of-the-week, military headlines, and Scuttlebutt. You won’t want to miss it! If you’re listening to this week’s episode on a podcast platform, be sure to head to @veteransbreakfastclub on YouTube to see the video clips we discuss!


Video Release: Coast Guard releases more than 200 sea turtles off Florida coast (US Coast Guard, November 17, 2020)

Submarine carrying 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth $165M seized by Coast Guard (NBC News, September 24, 2019)

Serving Proudly and with Distinction: The U.S. Coast Guard in the Vietnam War by Robert E. Leggett, Ph.D. The VVA Veteran Online, November/December 2020

The Air Force is Putting Laser Guns on Fighter Jets by Matt Fowler, IGN Southeast Asia, November 15, 2020

This Junior Coastie Accidentally Bought Dinner for the Premier of Greenland—And Earned a Medal by Patricia Kime,, December 1, 2020

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking all about the Army. We’re joined by Army vets Ryan Ahl and Amber Spells, and Gold Star Army Wife Becky Nyren. Join us for a conversation about what makes the largest branch of service special. Tune in for our phrase of the week, headlines, and Scuttlebutt round!

The Army is considering changing the size of its infantry squads:

Senate clears the way fr Army Sgt Alwyn Cashe to receive the Medal of Honor:

Living the Army Values:

Duffel Blog Satirical Military Blog:

Here’s how much Windex it takes to make the Air Fore Thunderbirds look so shiny:

Military Community Support Project WWI Memorials Restoration:

This week we have a special episode for you— part two of our OORAH! Inside the Marine Corps conversation. We found that last week’s conversation with Josh, Haya, and James was filled with so many rich and interesting stories, that we couldn’t cram it all into one episode. So we’re back this week with a continuation of our discussion about what makes the Marine Corps special. First you’ll hear some memories from Josh and James about just how brutal it can get serving in the desert. Then we hear more from Haya about her experience being a woman in the Marine Corps and the racism she faced, especially down South. Finally we’ll wrap up with our Scuttlebutt segment this week, as James and Shaun take a look at a video of from Marines with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment firing the M777 155mm Howitzer. You won’t want to miss it! Video of Marines with Fox Battery: US Marines Firing the M777 155mm Howitzer, May 23, 2014, AiirSource Military,

On this week’s episode of the Scuttlebutt, we’re talking all about the Marine Corps! Join Marine Corps vets Haya Eason, Josh Cannon, and James Martin with host Shaun Hall for a discussion about why they chose the Marines, what makes the Marine Corps special, and what exactly is behind OORAH! And don’t miss our usual military headlines, phrase of the week, and bit of Scuttlebutt.


VBC’s tiktok with Ray Amelio 

Follow the VBC on tiktok:

The Military is Developing a ‘Close Combat Assault Ration’ Up to 40% Lighter than an MRE

SEAL Team 6 rescues American hostage in Nigeria

Marines Fire Their Biggest Gun

The 12 coolest and best jobs in the Marine Corps (according to Marines)

Register for Pittsburgh Vets Storytelling Project with Pittsburgh Public Theater and What a Veteran Looks Like:

Full Marine Corps Birthday Video:

On the Scuttlebutt this week, we’re talking all about the Navy. Whether you’re a Pollywog or a Centurion, tune in to listen to Navy vet Kim Mitchell and recruiter Ricky Hoechstetter discuss why they chose the Navy, what their service means to them, and their funny memories from their duty sections. Plus our weekly Mail Call, Phrase of the Week, headlines from around the military, and a Scuttlebutt you won’t want to miss.


Link to VBC Live with Kim Mitchell:

Watch new infantry recruits experience the Army’s replacement for drill sergeant “shark attacks”

Reacting to the Army Shark Attack replacement | Is it easier?

Army-Navy Game to be held at West Point for first time since World War II

The Navy Just Sent a Drone to Deliver cargo to One of its Ballistic Missile Submarines

The Royal Navy is testing jet pack assault teams

On this week’s episode of the Scuttlebutt, we’re going inside the Air Force. We talk to retired Air Force veteran Ben Wright about his service and his perspective on how the Air Force has changed over time. We’re also joined by Gold Star Wife Becky Nyren and Marine Corps vet James Martin, who offer their perspectives. Tune in for this week’s military headlines, our conversation about the Air Force, and some Scuttlebutt, including the upcoming 35 year anniversary of Top Gun and Iron Eagle!

Further Reading

Messerschmitt BF-109

POLISH WWII Bomb Detonated: 

USS Stout spends 215 days at sea:

The Candy Bomber turns 100!

University of Pittsburgh involved in Marine Corps study on gender integration in training

Air Force:

Why no apostrophe in Veterans Day?,

Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer made honorary Navy aviators ahead of Top Gun release.

You’ve most likely heard of Call of Duty or Halo, even if you’ve never played them. What’s behind these military style video games, and why do many veterans enjoy them? Today on the Scuttlebutt, we talk to Marine Corps veterans and gamers James Martin (@Ryuknights0848) and Gabriel Beltrez (@AnubisAbadabupi) about military video games. We’re also joined by Army veteran and CEO of Operation Strong Mind Tom Stokes, who offers his insight into the effect of games on mental health and the veteran community. Join us for a fascinating conversation about the uniting power of military style video games and just what they’re all about.

Additional reading for this week’s episode:

Operation Strong Mind:

Journey to Normal:

Combat Social Work:

Find James Martin @Ryuknights0848

Find Gabriel Beltrez @AnubisAbadabupi

What Happens when the joint chiefs go into quarantine? a.

End Strength Goal Met with Growth in Diversity This Year, Army Says,Lt.%20Gen.%20Gary%20Brito

New Parris Island Protection Act Would Prohibit Marines Closing East Coast Boot Camp

With “shark attacks” a thing of the past, soldiers recall these classic drill sergeant one-liners


(Video) The Debate Behind Video Game Violence

Realistic Military Video Games:

First Air Refueling:,Virgil%20Hine%20and%20Frank%20W.

Adaptive sports resources from

Wheelchair Games – A Department of Veterans Affairs athletic competition held in various regions around the United States for wounded service members and veterans.

Adaptive Sports Clinics – See for when and where these clinics in a variety of skills and sports take place around the United States.

Adaptive Sports Schedule – See for games, clinics, and camps on Adaptive Sports for 2016.

Adaptive Sports Facebook Page – Join and get inspired by our athletes and see how you can participate.

This week on the Scuttlebutt, we ask the question, “Should You Join the Military?” Shaun, James, Danny, and Ryan discuss the benefits to service, as well as some drawbacks. We also discuss the potential closing of Parris Island and San Diego, what “gedunk” is, and the age-old question: how many Ripits is too many Ripits? READ MORE in this week’s Scuttlebutt Blog!

Further Reading

Cappello, L. (2017). How are 9/11-era veterans faring in the modern economy? A quantitative study by sex, race and ethnicity 2005-2015. NY: Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

The Children of Kauai

This week on The Scuttlebutt, we challenge some of the most common assumptions made about veterans and examine the truth behind these stereotypes. Do all veterans know how to fire a weapon? Do all Navy vets know how to swim? Are all Marine veterans tattooed? Tune in as we debunk some common myths, as well as review this week’s military headlines and finish with some scuttlebutt. “Shark Attack” audio clip featured in this week’s episode via “Army Drill Sergeants Launch Shark Attack On New Recruits,” Gung Ho Videos,, October 26, 2016.


“What ‘Embrace the Suck’ Means to the Military,” by Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Peter Fretwell, Sept 22, 2020,,

“Infantry School ends traditional ‘shark attack,’ adopts new way of instilling warrior ethos in recruits,” by Franklin Fisher,, Sept 17, 2020 

Video: “Army Drill Sergeants Launch Shark Attack On New Recruits,” Gung Ho Vids,,

Video: “Warrior Corner: The First 100 Yards,” Fort Benning, “Altamonte Man Dies in Army Training,” by Amy C. Rippel and Sentinel Staff Writer, NY Daily News, Dec. 3, 2003

“Congress Questions Navy’s Plan to Phase Out Iconic Peacoat” by Sam LaGrone, USNI News, July 6, 2017

“Bipartisan bill would waive rules keeping iraq hero receiving medal of honor” by Daniel Villarreal, Newsweek, Sept 16, 2020

It is common nowadays to say to a veteran or service member, “thank you for your service”. This is a far cry from the way returning Vietnam vets were treated. Even so, some veterans bristle at this well-intended phrase.

I didn’t understand why a post-9/11 vet would feel uneasy about my show of gratitude but after spending time at Veterans Breakfast Club events and now working for the VBC, I’ve begun to understand the issue.

Imagine being a veteran in uniform and everywhere you go you hear the same thank you from numerous strangers. After a while, the repetition can lose its meaning. The service member may wonder, “What do they really know about my service?” “What do they know about the military?”

But if saying, “thank you” isn’t quite right, how should civilians show gratitude to veterans who sacrifice for our country?

I’ve asked some veterans what they would like to see civilians do to support them. Here’s what they suggest:

  • Ask questions about their service. Don’t say thank you and walk away.
  • Have a conversation about what’s going on in the military today. There are many different websites that provide good information.
  • Vote and choose your elected officials carefully. After all, that’s one of the freedoms our military protects.
  • Finally: serve others. Respect your fellow citizens and serve the community.
  • Make it so veterans can thank you for your service. That would help all of us be more worthy of their sacrifice.

Further reading:

Unstoppable Robot Dogs Join US Air Force

The main story in our first Scuttlebutt episode centers around: Who Serves? To answer that question, we narrow our focus through two lenses: Geographically and Demographically. I highly recommend listening to our findings or you can watching the episode on YouTube.

This week we are taking a closer look at the people who serve and asking the question: why would a civilian risk making the ultimate sacrifice by joining the military? As a non-veteran, I admit that the military was never a part of the conversation as I researched possible careers. I received calls from recruiters but my knowledge of the modern military was limited by the historical facts presented in my American History class and I never gave it a serious thought. It’s one of the reasons I am so enamored with the answers I get when asking a veteran why they chose to serve. 

Depending on the era in which a veteran served, you can get a range of insightful answers. From veterans who served before 1973, you may hear that they were drafted or conscripted into the military. I can’t imagine a more nerve wracking letter to receive. My government is ordering me to put my life on hold and risk life and limb by going to war. The lives of those brave enough to answer the call were never the same and amazingly enough, many of those draftees look back favorably on their service and the skills they acquired. 

Once the draft ended though, the decision to enlist fell to our brave young men and women. My thoughts on the current debate over our all-volunteer force aside, (one that I will come back to in a future blog post) I’ve noticed that this decision is an incredibly personal one and is life-altering to say the least. 

Some look at the military as a chance for adventure. A means to escape their hometowns and see the world. There are some who have a warrior mentality. They wanted to go to war and experience the battlefield. Family military history plays a huge role in one’s decision to enlist: an uncle who served in Korea, a grandfather who fought bravely in WWII. Some idolize the hero’s journey. Seeing themselves in the role of commander from a war film they experienced in their youth. Some have something to prove to themselves. Enlisting to tackle the ultimate physical, emotional, and mental challenge. Still others seek the specialized training of the military as a means to advance their careers and gain invaluable skills for a life in the civilian workforce. Many will “stay in” and make a career out of the military, gaining in rank and ability until they have the opportunity to retire. I am reminded of one amazing reason I heard from a Vietnam vet – The other guys from his neighborhood were joining and he was no better than them so he felt a responsibility to enlist. Astounding! Whatever the reason, our veterans have sworn to protect our rights and freedoms and their patriotism is inspiring! 

Do yourself a favor, the next time you speak with a veteran (or a member of our active duty force), ask them why they chose to serve and simply listen. It’s one of the most important things we can do.

Please be sure to like, share, and subscribe to help spread the scuttlebutt!


“Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are “Losers” and “Suckers”” by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, September 3, 2020. 

“Trump’s popularity slips in latest Military Times poll – and more troops say they’ll vote for Biden” by Leo Shane III, Military Times, August 31, 2020. 

“Despite scandals, Trump support grows stronger in latest poll of troops” by George R. Altman and Leo Shane III, Military Times, October 19, 2016.

“Trump reverses Defense Dept. order to shut down Stars and Stripes newspaper” by Oliver Darcy, CNN Business, September 4, 2020.

“The Top 5 Reasons Soldiers Really Join The Army, According to Junior Enlisted” by Jared Keller, Task and Purpose, May 14, 2018.

Studies tackle who joins the military and why, but their findings aren’t what many assume” by Meghann Myers, Military Times, April 27, 2020.

“Who Signs Up to Fight? makeup of U.S. Recruits Shows Glaring Disparity” by Dave Philipps and Tim Arango, The New York Times, January 10, 2020. 

“Marines get moldy sandwiches, drones crash over Syria, and uniforms get unwanted attention”, August 24, 2020.

“Double amputee canoes the entire Mississippi River to raise money for disabled veterans,” Fox News, September 7, 2020.

“Mail-in ballots were part of a plot to deny Lincoln reelection in 1864,” by Dustin Waters, The Washington Post, August 22, 2020.

Welcome to The Scuttlebutt: Understanding Military Culture, a weekly pre-recorded program presented by The Veterans Breakfast Club.

“Scuttlebutt” is a military term (specifically Navy) for talk or gossip around the watercooler below decks. The staff at VBC arrived at this title as a way of defining what our new program is about –  an informed conversation about the military experience, past and present. 

Unlike our very own, Lauren DelRicci (Navy), our other hosts, Todd, and I (Shaun) are not veterans. However, we all passionately serve the mission of The Veterans Breakfast Club by creating communities of listening around veterans’ stories to connect, educate, heal, and inspire. We conceived The Scuttlebutt to educate the average Joe and Jane about current affairs and issues facing not only the American military but all of us. We start from that premise: military matters, veterans affairs, are never simply military matters or veterans affairs. They’re the business of every citizen. Each week, we’ll develop discussions by asking big questions about our military and our veterans. Each episode will range from the topical to the historical and from the big picture to the everyday. 

We want The Scuttlebutt to bridge the divide between those who serve and those who don’t. Currently less than one-half of one percent of the American population serves in the military. A percentage that hasn’t been seen in nearly a century and is occurring during the longest sustained conflict in American history: The Global War on Terror. We believe this divide negatively affects our collective knowledge of military norms and culture. The Scuttlebutt is here to help. It is our job as United State citizens and voters to know about our military and think critically about the ways in which our military is being used in the world through an apolitical lens.

We’ll tackle military headlines from across the branches (including the newly formed Space Force) from a mostly civilian perspective. Joining us weekly will be special guests from VBC’s extensive veteran network to get behind these headlines and tell us why we should care about them.

We’ll ask questions like   Is the all-volunteer force model effective? Who serves in our military? Why do they enlist? Is it appropriate to say, “Thank you for your service”? How is the military a mirror of our society and culture? Does racism exist in the military? Is the military a meritocracy? Is the US an empire? How has the role of women in the military changed over the last century? Are MREs actually any good? And many more!

We examine these questions with engaging guests and entertaining conversation. Each week’s episode will be accompanied by a blog post with show notes, links, and reading and viewing recommendations. We welcome comments, questions, and informed ideas to help build our discussions in the future. So please join us on this journey and comment, like, share, and subscribe (on YouTube) to spread the scuttlebutt.


Further Reading:

“Sailor Investigated for Arson in U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard”:

“Navy Warship is Still Ablaze”

“Here’s what we know about 8 of the soldiers who have died this year at Fort Hood”:

“Murder, sexual harassment rates at Fort Hood among highest in the service, Army secretary says”:

“Too many stories” of murders, sexual assault and harassment at Fort Hood prompt outside investigation”:

“Fort Hood gets new acting commander; Army orders ‘in-depth investigation’ into the chain of command”:

“Two special ops soldiers killed, three injured in helicopter accident”:

“Remains of Sailor and 7 Marines Killed in Training Accident…”:

“Sergeant at Fort Bliss dies in vehicle collision during training”:

“Navy surveillance plane crashes in Virginia, crew bails out ‘OK’”:

Demographics of the U.S. Military:

DOD 2018 Demographics Profile: Active Duty Members:

“The changing profile of the U.S. military: Smaller in size, more diverse, more women in leadership”:,grown%20steadily%20in%20recent%20decades

“Meet the ‘deadliest recruit on Parris Island’”:

“Unsafe, unprofessional intercept of US bomber by Russian aircraft over the Black Sea”:

“The Coast Guard has launhed ‘Operation Bubba Gump.’ No, seriously”:

“Sound-powered telephone”: