The Libertarian – July 2021

Cover by IceBear0
1Team Leader IntroductionIntroductionpikasyu
2The ReopeningCreativehumania
3Are You Vaccinated?Office Spotlightpikasyu
4Real Winners Celebrate LossesInterviewchiari.cord
5Branch Wars Highlights Part 1HighlightsNavy, Air Force
6The Goals I Made as a Soccer BallCreativechiari.cord
7USDF, A Game I Call HomeInterviewMaxite
8The Tetralogy: Return of The ProgramSpecialAneha
9Drag Queens in ActionCreativeChristianM.0498
104th of July HighlightsGraphicsOPA Artworks
11National Celebrations for Non-AmericansInterviewclaryboy2109
13To The One I Love The MostPersonal Letterclaryboy2109
14We Fight, We Win, We CelebrateEvent Coveragepikasyu
15Branch Wars Highlights Part 2HighlightsMarines, Army
16Working for SuccessHow Toinl4rrywetrust
17My Officer Journey: From Start Till NowInterview,-Spell
18A Note To All Future LeadersExclusiveMaxite
19SUDOKULibertarian Gamepikasyu & Jayceei

Team Leader Introduction

by pikasyu

Cover by pikasyu

We’ve all been through some tough times the past year but things are definitely looking better ahead. So, why not take this time to just enjoy the small joys and celebrate the progress that we have made? In this month’s rendition of The Libertarian, we’d like to pay tribute to some of the little achievements that happened to us over the past day, week, month or even year!

We hope that this month’s theme, Celebrations, will take you on a journey to not only appreciate but commemorate and recognise the little efforts that you have put in towards the Covid-19 environment, towards your time in USDF, towards your friends and family and towards your future. Our writers and artists have tirelessly created a compilation of happiness and joys in articles and pictures for all of you to enjoy.

I would like to thank all our contributors, whether you are still in OPA or have left to pursue your goals and dreams, for giving your all into this edition of The Libertarian. Now, it is your time to celebrate yet another accomplishment to your name.

It has been a fulfilling journey, and on behalf of The Libertarian team, let’s celebrate!!!

The Reopening

by humania

Cover by Takahashi

Back then, we went into it blindly, never thinking that friendship can overcome anything, that it can change our perception of all things. But, there is no denying it. At one point in your life, something big is going to change. It changed into something that nobody would ever expect. And for me, that’s about where it all started.

During high school, I had decided to do whatever I could in order to be successful. People around me say that it brings negative things to my career. They said that I should have one absolute goal. Then I said to myself, “it’s not easy to do for those who have no other choice”. However, there was still a fear in me that their advice might be right.

After graduating from high school, it turned out that my guess was right, I didn’t go to college. I had never spoken to my parents in the past, so I never knew whether I would go to college or not. It’s a bit sad indeed, but I knew that I’m ready for this, in fact, this is what I look forward to the most. To be able to work without anyone’s help, especially my parents.

Not wanting to waste much time, I immediately looked for a job. However, not many jobs are willing to accept workers who are only limited to high school graduates. I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find any. Once I found one, it got rejected. Then it turns out that there is a friend of mine named Michael who works as a coffee shop keeper. Because I was already half-given up looking for a job, I immediately submitted a request to work there. Finally, it was accepted.

During my time working at this coffee shop, I experienced failure, but I learned many things from those failures. The owner of the little shop, Sebastian, taught me all sorts of things. Starting from how to serve, managing a shop, sometimes even about life. He is a good person. If I could choose someone to be my co-worker, I would choose him. I called him a good person because since this shop first opened, we always incur losses. We all don’t know what went wrong, what was the main reason of our failure. We have done everything well, but why is it still failing?

After the failure, personally, I was probably at an all-time low. There was one night, I ended up vomiting and I thought about every loss. And every time I thought about a loss, I felt even worse. What if I fail here? Will the promise I made and my purpose in life fade and eventually disappear? But then, Sebastian started to talk with us, about learning, searching for answers, and making it through together again. So we decided to do something new.  

During high school, I had a friend who was very good at online advertising. Her name is Caitlyn. She has many followers on Instagram. And in my opinion, she is what we needed. Then I called her to help promote this shop in any way. However, after being promoted, only a small number of people came. This is not worth the money that has been spent to pay for this promotion. Then, Adam, one of the people who saw the promotion who is also friends with Caitlyn came and explained why the shop was still empty of visitors. This is all due to the decoration that does not follow current trends. “Supposedly, this coffee shop can be a place for young people to gather, but after seeing the place, they will definitely be discouraged, or even embarrassed,” he explained.

So, somehow the five of us, Sebastian, Michael, Caitlyn, Adam, and myself ended up together, decorating the shop, and constantly promoting it. As for Sebastian, Michael and me, we just did what we did all this time, like usual. Then, we suddenly found ourselves on the peak of success. So many people came each day. And the total income is also increasing. We get to know each other better, and we work happily without any burden. I knew that this is at least something, just from the way that everyone is talking about the shop, you could tell. It wasn’t just passion, it was life for them. At that point, I realized that we had the team, we just felt ourselves and it was incredible.

Then it suddenly happened. The Covid-19 pandemic. At first, we thought that this pandemic surely would go away so quickly, it wouldn’t even affect the shop. So we persisted. But day by day, we learned that instead of the pandemic cases getting lower, they are increasing. After so long we endured, we were forced to close the shop temporarily. It’s almost funny because we came so far and tried so hard. But just from a single blow from it, it all fell apart. Just like that. Your whole life is about that shop. So when it ends, I don’t think you can quite accept it. The brain just doesn’t process the fact that it is over.

We can only take so much. When you lose a lot, you also lose trust. That’s what happened to us back then. Things get hectic. You can have a conversation then it suddenly becomes an argument, and that argument creates distrust. Caitlyn and Adam, they were talking more with each other, they’re talking about some of the problems we were having in the team and what we could have done better. So the team was starting to get a bit dysfunctional. Evidence is there, nobody really wanted to acknowledge it. All of a sudden, we are falling apart. It was raining, it was thunder outside, we were at the shop still waiting for a customer. And well, we just talked about some things, and I learned that two of my friends are leaving. Sebastian and Adam are going to look for a better job. Adam leaving? Sure, we could understand that. But Sebastian leaving the shop? He’s not just the person with the most experience, he owns part of the shop. It would tear the team apart if he would leave. He was like a father to me. We spent 2 years together and now it’s over. I was ready to give up. Sadness and anger, it’s not the healthiest emotions. But Michael snapped me out of it.

Everyone is making a face saying “So what now?” It was almost as if each of us were looking at the other waiting for that person to crack, and say “I can’t, I’m out.” So I was like “Hey guys, I think it’s a really bad idea that we go our separate ways, so from now on, why don’t we be there for each other and talk about what we should do next.”

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I did have one idea. This was pretty crazy, but I just had to get it out of my head. The reopening. But can we do it? Just the three of us? I was like “Yes we can.” We did what we could. We somehow upgraded the shop, adapting to this pandemic. The three of us turned out to have ideas that we had been hiding all this time. These ideas can also keep us going and keep this shop open. After we endured for so long during this pandemic, finally the strictness of the health procedures can be loosened for a bit. Because of that, even though just a few of our customers came back, our shop can start running again. Accompanied by improving the quality of our shop, more people came than before. We even had a delivery. All that you can think of, we have it. Because we don’t want this pandemic to be the thing that hinders the success of our shop and even our friendship like before.

I don’t understand. I thought I’ve given up. It’s unreal. What we achieved together, through something bigger than ourselves, is something that some people pursue for a lifetime. I think we built something really great, and I think it’s a good friendship. More people are applying for a job at our shop, customers are feeling happy and we feel great welcoming them. Michael’s and Caitlyn’s family were there when we officially reopened, they were there for each other. But who was there for me? Both Michael and Caitlyn. They are both there for me. All our little shop needs to be a big one is friendship. That’s how simple that is.  

Are You Vaccinated?

by pikasyu

Cover by IceBear0

Covid-19 has been a part of our lives for almost a year now. Some nations are celebrating and phasing out of pandemic-protocols while others are still battling an increase in the number of cases each day. We’ve interviewed a few personnel to get their thoughts on the progress their country/state has made in order to curb infections as well as celebrating the creation of a vaccine, which has been steadily rolled out to those in need.

Q1. Where are you from and how was your life before this pandemic?

CSM Takahashi: I am from America and my life was pretty similar! Other than going to school in person, nothing has really changed! I’m sort of an at- home loner anyway.

CWO4 eyeFad: I am from the Philippines. Before this pandemic, I liked to travel from town to town. I don’t stay for the whole day but I just like checking out random things from the place. I also enjoy going out with my friends, especially on the weekends!

MCPO 0nGod: I am from New York! Before the pandemic, I was pursuing a Masters degree.

Q2. Covid-19 has been around for almost two years. What has been different in your life ever since the restrictions due to the pandemic occur?

CSM Takahashi: Now that you mentioned it, it has been almost 2 years! There are some changes. I usually get the flu every year at some point. However, with everyone wearing masks, I have not gotten sick at all this year! Plus, my grades in school are better because lessons are pushed online and there are “open book” #quizlets. But, I do agree… It’s really hard to plan an overseas trip. I really want to travel but everything is difficult. I also find that places close earlier than what they say online so it’s kind of annoying not being able to trust Google.

CWO4 eyeFad: When the pandemic hit the whole world, there was a huge change in my routine – I can’t go out. There is this travelling ban to even the next town that you wish to go to. This means I can’t go back to visit my parents in the early pandemic. Now, I am still wary of travelling or even being with people I don’t know. So, you could say that I haven’t seen my parents, face to face, for like, 6 months now? Actually 8!

MCPO 0nGod: During the pandemic, I found a job as a Clinical Trials Coordinator and I was on the front lines of testing these vaccines on most people. Sadly, I lost my grandmother to Covid-19, which is why I even decided to work on the front lines to combat the virus. I hope the good practices we have picked up like washing our hands and mask-wearing continue even after all is done. This is because infectious diseases such as the influenza virus’ (common cold and so on) transmission hasve been down almost 90%! It has been the hardest on my mother, but every once in a while I do remember her. Also, it was her birthday a few weeks back and needless to say, that was a particularly difficult day for us.

Q3. Are you aware of the measures put in place to curb the virus from spreading? Could you list some of them?

CSM Takahashi: Well there’s the masks for starters, and a lot of hand sanitizers. Having to clean everything every couple of hours, and to check our temperature before entering any store or public malls. Also, having to quarantine after travelling to a different state. Oh, and obviously the 6feet rule!

CWO4 eyeFad: Well, first, there are the amazing social distancing measures! We also have to wear a face mask and face shield whenever we go out. No social gathering, but if you are inviting people to your house, you can only have a maximum of 10 people!

MCPO 0nGod: The good news is, the mask works both ways and so does washing your hands. So, as long as you do your part, you’re already lowering the chance for those you interact with and yourself! Regardless of political climate and ideologies, I think it just comes down to individual responsibility.

Q4. What are your thoughts on vaccinations?

CSM Takahashi: I actually am happy about them!

CWO4 eyeFad: Well, I couldn’t wait for them! It’s our only hope of getting back to what we used to do before this pandemic. I know there are a lot of people who don’t believe in vaccines and they even have these crazy stories, which, to be honest, is just funny.

MCPO 0nGod: For those who don’t know anything about the vaccination, it’s like the flu shots – completely optional but they literally only benefit you and those around you. Having worked with countless patients who I personally administered the shots to and tracked during the testing phase, I can only advise you to get it. And this goes double for individuals who are in HIGHER RISK GROUPS: obese, diabetic, elderly and so on. If you don’t get it for yourself, get it for your loved ones.

Q5. Are you vaccinated? If yes, what made you want to take the shot? If not, what’s stopping you from getting the shot?

CSM Takahashi: I’ve already gotten both of them. It is the same ideology of wearing masks for me. Even if they don’t work, I’ve been told that it will protect me and others. It makes you a good person to get them. You are consciously making the choice to protect others by being vaccinated. Also, I got Pfizer!

CWO4 eyeFad: I just… can’t wait! I am having my first shot this July! To me, I see it as my way of not being scared of the virus. I recalled that during the pandemic, when everyone was at home, I kind of got used to being at home. Meeting or seeing people I don’t know scared me a lot. I’ve locked myself for a whole 8 months and had my food and groceries delivered to me. While it’s true that it is not a real solution to this entire problem and that vaccines would not make the virus go away, it lowers the risk of getting Covid-19 and the scary effects it brings such as death, serious illness, etc.

MCPO 0nGod: The government in America has already paid for several doses and many of the sites offering vaccines are giving them to you for free. I don’t really see a downside! And for what it’s worth, I had my second vaccine as far back as January and I’m still alive and breathing!

Q6. What about the people around you (friends, family)? What are their thoughts on vaccinations?

CSM Takahashi: Actually, everyone close to me has been vaccinated and agrees with getting them! My mom works at a hospital so it was easy for her to convince everyone in my family!

CWO4 eyeFad: We pretty much have the same thoughts about this. We can’t wait to get back to normal. As much as I like this new normal, it’s not really good for my or others’ mental health.

Q7. When do you think the pandemic will be over?

CSM Takahashi: I want to positively say that the pandemic is in it’s end- stage! Maybe we can all go back to normal in a few months. Plus, I heard that scientists and the Government are working together to come out with a booster shot that we can take in 6 months. So, maybe we’ll have to get a corona shot and the flu shot every year.

CWO4 eyeFad: Can’t really say. I remember having a conversation with friends about this and we pretty much agreed that we’re going to be stuck like this for at least another 5 more years.

MCPO 0nGod: If you look at the US Legislation, we will be at the end of it by August. If you look at after effects and safety protocols the pandemic has had us adopt, we’re at least a few years out. For example, mask-wearing and convincing the general populace to get vaccinated, as well as making new yearly vaccines to combat the mutated strains of covid will take a long time. On a Global Scale, we have to be more careful though. Recent outbreaks in other countries have shown us that, just because the US may start to feel safe, all of this isn’t over.

Q8. Lastly, is there anything you would like to say for anyone who will be reading this?

CSM Takahashi: Keep your head up, it’s almost over! Then we can all gather again and enjoy a beer together!

CWO4 eyeFad: I know everyone is tired of hearing and reading this, but please… Wear your masks, stay at home and if you can’t maintain social distance between you and any other person!

MCPO 0nGod: Follow the guidelines, educate yourselves, and make informed decisions! Everything boils down to individual responsibility at the end of it, so do your part!

We all have a part to play. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Only then we can celebrate! And till then, let’s give it up to all our healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly, day and night, to provide the safest environment for all of us. Celebrate them, their time and their efforts for bringing us the best days out of these sad situations.

Real Winners Celebrate Losses

by chiari.cord

Cover by DaesungLover

How many times have you been in a situation where things just didn’t go your way? You’ve probably encountered this many times, or will do so at some point in your life. These scenarios where we see ourselves not getting what we want can lead to us feeling a lot of different things. Whether it’s sadness, disappointment, regret, or whatever you feel, these things can bring us down. However, it is important for us to keep our heads up. Finding a setback on our way to a certain goal doesn’t mean we should give up. Instead, take this setback and use it to get yourself even nearer to the end!

We can see examples of these types of situations all over our daily life. When you don’t pass the test you thought you would ace, or compete in sports against other teams, and even when the recipe you tried following doesn’t turn out as good as the picture. Apart from that, you can also have this in USDF. Some examples could be not getting the position you wanted, you might have not gotten the promotion you wanted, etc. Apart from that, we’ve recently gone through Branch Wars, which means these situations appear more often! With all the games that got hosted, there will constantly be winning and losing teams.

But, how do we overcome these rocks in our path? Well, there are lots of ways for you to go past the things that are difficult. As a first example, one of the most important can arguably be to seek help from others, or simply look for their support. Depending on the situation, this may not come to you as expected from others. That’s why, in my opinion, it is important to choose carefully who you will reach out to for help. Choose someone you know will be there for you, have your back and give advice if you need it.

On the other hand, apart from looking for other’s help, you might also want to look into the problem on your own. Try to be as positive as you can, convince yourself that it will all be okay. Of course you can’t be happy and positive all the time, but it doesn’t hurt to try! You’ll get to your desired goal faster if you focus on the good things and leave the negative points aside. Remember it’s important for you to believe in yourself, and not give up on what you are trying to achieve. This way, you’ll be able to beat that problem, and be your best self.

Lastly, I wanted to mention how important it is for you to understand that what you are going through has probably happened to a lot of other people. You aren’t alone, and it’s perfectly fine for you to find these troubles in your way which stop you from getting what you want. No matter how big or small the problem can be, there will always be someone out there willing to help you. So, with all that we’ve seen in this article, you now know how to become a step closer to your dreams, and kick the rocks in your way as far away from you as possible. Have problems, make mistakes, acknowledge these, and then solve them. We’re all constantly learning, so give yourself some space to take the obstacles in your life as a learning opportunity from which you can get benefitted!

Branch Wars Highlights Part 1

By Navy and Air Force

The Goals I Made as a Soccer Ball

by chiari.cord

Cover by chiari.cord

That moment of the year has come. I don’t have much to do, and it makes me very bored. It’s a cold winter day, and the windows are foggy. I’m not in the mood to leave my house, so I decided to do something special today. As I sit back down, I grab a cup of tea and my book. I tell my family to gather around me, as I know they love hearing these stories. Especially my kids, as my wife has heard them a million times already, but still enjoys joining in to listen.

This is not a normal book. What makes it stand out from others is that I was its writer. I don’t really know if you can even call it a “book”, or else it should be labeled as “My personal diary from back then when I was famous”. This diary is full of my memories and stories from when I was part of the Titans football team. Photos, best and worst moments, old teammates, all here. It is my most valuable treasure, and I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost it. Without it, I’m just an old meaningless Soccer Ball. This diary right here in my hands tells me I’m not just any soccer ball, I am THE soccer ball, who made my team get to glory.

I tell my kids about all the moments I’ve been through, hoping they will tell them to their own successors. They listen carefully, picturing every scene in their heads. Sometimes I wonder if they like the version of the stories better than the one they see in real life. On these memories, I was a shiny, strong ball. They all couldn’t wait for me to be in the field to start the match and screamed gladly when I entered. All the eyes were on me, and the cameras flashed everywhere I went. Despite having my highs and lows (I may one or twice have caused some trouble among the players, with them trying to figure out what I had done), to this day I’m the best the team has ever had. These newbies nowadays aren’t as qualified as I was.

But now, I am not even slightly near to being as great as before. I’m old now, deflated, the materials I was made with are all worn out, and I can’t keep up with a match anymore, as I am no longer able to fly high across the field. Apart from all the flaws I now have, this book is what’s keeping me motivated. I may not be able to do it anymore, but it happened once, and I couldn’t be happier and prouder of myself.

Going back to reality, I see my kids looking at me. They are amazing, new, and full of potential. I wonder if I will ever infuriate them to follow my steps, as it would make me extremely happy. I take a glance at my trophy wall. It’s full of shiny gold medals, and big cups from different matches I’ve been in. Honestly, I am impressed by how much I have been able to achieve in my entire life. And for once, I don’t feel sad and nostalgic while reading my diary. Instead, I realise how even if I’m not as great anymore, that doesn’t take away from me that it did happen. I won’t disappear without this book, I am still myself even if I don’t have it.

USDF, a Game I Call Home

By Maxite

Cover by koleq

“Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did you come from CTO?” There’s a song that goes sorta like that, and I was curious to find out the history and wisdom that CTO LostPrayer could offer. Please join us for a special chat with a man of many missions, and of many talents.

LT Maxite: What’s your history in the USDF? What brought you here, and what are some highlights in your career to where you are now?

GOA LostPrayer: History in USDF. That’s a long one. Well I came in as a transfer to SNCO/SEL. I completed my SEL term and not long after that applied for SEAC. My term as SEAC was quite good I think, I implemented the common branch head NCOs as well as branch councils. I not only completed OCS during my SEAC term but also aided in it’s creation with -Rob? and TekD. 

After my SEAC term I was promoted to O-1 and became VCJCS AA – furthermore assisting TekD. with various activities and -Rob? with OCS. While VCJCS AA, two major projects I had a hand in was creating and implementing Officer reviews and creating and implementing what’s now known today as OOT&E. Creating OOT&E was a task I did by myself, I brought in L and W exams as well as workshops/seminars to help people get ready for them, and redid the OCS process entirely. 

After completion of the OOT&E task and with approval from Sycron it was signed in and I was made Director of it for some time. Bolstering the team with people was rather tricky at the time because you really only wanted Officers to work on the OCS and W side while WOs could work on the L side. I believe at some point I handed it off to Vosology and became ACJCS 

The next few months was actually quite wild, I did ACJCS for a little bit, went back to leading OOT&E, I did a stint of DMP for a month or so, just really making sure things stayed the same and found a suitable DMP. After that, went and applied for branch chief and became CSA, did that for a little bit. Got moved to CSAF, which turned into SECAF for some time. 

After CSAF and SECAF I believe I went on to USD P for some time, dabbled in a little ExecSecDef and then eventually worked my way up to DepSecDef. And then basically retired as CTO where I just help out and give my strategic vision whenever necessary and log on so I don’t get fired. I’d say I had a hand in just about every core part of USDF. One of the more memorable ones was operating and commanding the Death Star, if you know you know.

LT Maxite: Is there any particular success in your career that you believe stands out above the others?

GOA LostPrayer: In terms of progression; I’d say creating OOT&E and completely reworking our OCS system would be a success that stands out above the others. Almost everything I’ve worked on and implemented is still many years later. Now in terms of my own personal enjoyment; Commanding the Death Star.

LT Maxite: Is there any mistake or failure in your career that stands out to you as helping make you the leader you are today?

GOA LostPrayer: Yeah when I was creating and implementing Officer reviews I called an Officer in their review “complete dead weight”. Sycron didn’t like it very much and had to yell at me. Think that shaped how I would lead in the future.

LT Maxite: So you’d say that you learned to address your peers and subordinates with more tact afterwards?

GOA LostPrayer: Oh yeah, I learned the compliment sandwich 

  • Compliment 
  • Things to work on in a very nice way 
  • Compliment

LT Maxite: Do you have any goals for the future? Things you’d like to accomplish still?

GOA LostPrayer: That’s a tough one, being here as long as I have I feel I’ve accomplished everything I have wanted. The only thing I would like to keep seeing is a strong Officer core with even stronger leadership coming from the top down

LT Maxite: Are there any goals or accomplishments you’d like to see today’s Officers take up, then?

GOA LostPrayer: I’d like for all Officers to really look at who’s ahead of them, their CO or Deputy Director, or Director, whoever it is and just watch them, watch how they handle situations, how they talk to their peers and subordinates. Just watch, learn, and adapt

LT Maxite: Is there any advice or insight you have for the NCOs and WOs?

GOA LostPrayer: For any NCOs and WOs that happen to glance at this; I came in this joint as an SNCO and rose as far as possible at the time. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your leaders. Even if you think it’s silly, approach someone. Get their opinion/feedback. You never know, you could be the one that just rockets ahead of your peers because you developed strategic vision instead of hiding it.

The Tetralogy: Return of The Program

by Aneha

Cover by cagliore

The Office of Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities is well known as the office that maintains and updates our military’s Regulations and Procedures. It is a small office with four command members who work directly with NSC and Senior Command to ensure each office and USDF processes are working in alignment with our regulations and confirming they make sense and are realistic.

 OSP&C also runs two prominent programs:

  • Problem Solvers Calculus.
  • Future Officer Leadership Program (FOLP). 

What is The Future Officer Leadership Program?

“FOLP is a program that helps sharpen leadership skills as a Warrant Officer who wants to step forward into becoming a Commissioned Officer within USDF. To the veterans, FOLP is an upgraded version of the Officer Shadowing Program (OSP) with slight, but very important modification.”

– LT .Melioo. MDASD SP&C.

It is a training and support program that targets W3-W5 personnel to help better prepare, teach and equip them with the necessary knowledge, experience and skills to pursue the next step in their career advancement. It is a 2 week initiative that pairs an eligible Warrant Officer mentee with a Commissioned Officer as their mentor to help guide them through each stage of the FOLP to help them attain the perspective of what it’s like to be a Commissioned Officer.

“Skilled Commissioned Officers are hand-picked as mentors by the DASD SP&C and MDASD SP&C. This is to make certain that participants are dedicated and able to commit the time and energy that their mentee deserves in order to give them the best that USDF has to offer. This allows both parties to get the most out of the experience as possible.”

– LT .Melioo. MDASD SP&C.

After the pairing, the mentee and mentor have the chance to get to know each other, and discuss the roles and responsibilities of an officer including promoting, activity, engagement and personal development.

Phase 1: HQ Shadow Session.
This is a 30  minute session where the mentee will shadow and take note of how their mentor manages and handles situations in HQ. This will include HQ functions, position filling, assisting personnel in their duties and engaging in problem solving if applicable. 

Phase 2: Activity.
This is an interactive activity that promotes critical thinking, adaptability, communication and responsiveness to others. 

Phase 3: HQ Shadow Session and Q&A.
The mentee will take on the OC position and assist in HQ management. They will also be able to ask questions and request feedback regarding their performance.

Phase 4: Seminar.
All mentees in the program will be able to attend an informative seminar that aids in their development and education.

“When mentees graduate the FOLP, they receive a certificate which can be include in your EOI as a proof of your commitment to extend your skills and a positive step towards being ready for future career hurdles. A little side note, I had to create the certificate design myself, although I have no art skills, but it turned out to be very nice!”

– LT .Melioo. MDASD SP&C.

Why did OSP&C feel that the old Officer Shadow Program needed an upgrade?

“OSP was outdated and needed some fresh ideas. If I am not mistaken, the OSP as it stood, was around 1 or 2 years old and hadn’t been revised for a while, so we thought it was the best time to invest in making it more enjoyable, interactive and informative. An addition of more professional games, development in communication skills, attention to detail and experience in resolving conflict has all been added. The old OSP no longer met the expectations that we or Senior Command had for the progression and support of personnel.”

– LT .Melioo. MDASD SP&C.

What sort of changes did OSP&C make?

“Firstly, we extended each phase. OSP previously had 3 sessions, but all the phases did not have the spark we imagined they should have. Currently, FOLP has a total amount of 4 phases, but in comparison to the OSP they are packed with more things to do. We introduced bi-weekly Seminars open to all Warrant Officers, though it is a phase for enrolled FOLP mentees.

On a side note, there are many surprises and amazing things that await you in the program, so go and apply now if you are eligible. If you are a Commissioned Officer, you can apply to become a mentor too! Do you want to be a part of shaping someone’s development?”

– LT .Melioo. MDASD SP&C.

Drag Queens in Action

by ChristianM.0498

Cover by Takahashi

Sometimes in life, we forget to celebrate what makes humans so unique and special in the animal kingdom, the fact that each and every one of us is different from one another. Pride month is more than just a parade, and it’s more than just LGBTQ+ awareness, it’s about celebrating each other for how diverse we are and having fun while doing it. You might watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, or had the privilege of going to a show yourself, but one thing is for certain – Drag Queens are one of the most devoted, hardworking, and fashionable people on this planet. 

*alarm buzzes at 6am sharp* “Please, just five more minutes…”, I plead to myself as I am now half-awake and trying my best to not hit the snooze. I head out of my room and into the kitchen, trying not to wake up my partner, Tyler, as he probably just fell asleep himself. “It’s insane people are expected to get up this early….”, I think to myself as I am jumping into the shower. I work at Starcups, a barista shop. Half-asleep, I am trying to get my bearings and wipe the sleepiness off my eyes as I hear my phone buzz about 5 or 6 times. 

The message on my phone says: “Adam, the venue is closed tonight, what are we going to do?!?!?!”. I cannot believe this! We’ve waited so long for this night, and they are trying to cancel on us? I have to wipe my frustration as I’m clocking into work, most of my coworkers wouldn’t understand anyways. My manager approached me today and handed me an appreciation letter for my hard work – it must be from where I worked overtime last week to cover a friend of mine who was out sick. 

By the time 4pm rolls around, it’s time for me to clock out for the day and head out. As I’m leaving, I’m approached by my partner Tyler who hands me a flyer that is bright, pink, and with big bold lettering: “MAIN PERFORMER – Avery Alexander”, along with other performers names right below. “I’m the main event?”, I say to Tyler. “Yes, I just spoke with James from the venue, and he said you are the big show tonight – so break a leg tonight honey.” Tyler rushes back into his car, to not be late for his evening shift. 

“Didn’t they close the venue?” I asked myself as I got into my car and started driving home. I start to get ready for the big event tonight, and I get into my second shower as I hear my friend Watsky come in with their spare key. Watsky makes themselves known to me immediately by yelling: “BESTIE, ARE YOU READY FOR TONIGHT?”. I responded from the bathroom: “Yes! I am getting in the shower now.” As soon as I got out of the shower, Watsky had a whole new outfit sitting on the bed for me. “What’s this?” I ask quickly. “Tyler texted me saying you got moved to the main event, so I found my favorite outfit just for you.”, Watsky responds.

“I thought the venue was closed tonight?”, I ask. “I don’t know where you heard that, because James said it was still open.” The time flies by and we’re pulling up to the venue, and we’re struck with a big sign that says: “CLOSED.” How could they be closed? How could I be the main event and the venue be closed tonight? I am so confused. I am staring at Watsky in disbelief as they are staring back with the same energy. “What are we going to do?”, I ask. Watsky respond without missing a beat: “ I have an idea..”. Before I know it, he drives us a few blocks down the road to a bar and he heads inside first. “You’re booked. You’re up in 20 minutes.” I quickly head into the backstage of the bar and start getting dressed. It was my time for the show, and I put on my wig from the stand and headed onto the stage. 

My favorite song is Superbass by Nicki Minaj so the song starts playing and I start strutting through the aisle that was cleared, and people are just handing me money. I don’t want to ruin my performance so I take their tips while still dancing and lip-syncing to the beat, and oh boy do I work that aisle. The song ends, and the DJ of the bar quickly says without missing a beat: “Oh my lord, that was some amazing moves and performance by the one and only – Avery Alexander!”. It’s not always as crazy as today was, but I know that performing on stage is what makes me happy, gives other people’s joy, and provides me with a little extra income. I couldn’t be happier with what I do, and I hope I never have to stop. 

4th of July Highlights

OPA Artworks

Credits to bretty!
Credits to Takahashi
Credits to chiari.cord
Credits to cagliore
Credits to koleq

National Celebrations for Non-Americans

by claryboy2109

Cover by bretty!

Everyone at USDF comes from different countries and cultures, and each of these countries has its way of celebrating as well as doing different activities during the celebrations. Today, we have ten personnel from around the world to give us a little bit of what their country celebrates and their favourite holiday!

We’ll start with something simple! Where are you from?

CW4 Valorana: Philippines.
CW5 -Stephan!e-: Malaysia, one of the most diverse countries in Asia.
CWO4 IvyCharleston: I am from England.
CWO3 itz_Lama: I’m from Qatar.
MCPON Femae.: I am from the Netherlands (Europe).
1st Lt Konfess: Canada!
CWO5 Willow1010: Australia!
CWO5 ThedueIist: I’m from Scandinavia which is in Northern EU and is actually 3 different county but that is as much as I’m going to say!
1SG humania: I’m from Indonesia!
SFC KreepKap: Pakistan.

Everyone around the world celebrates New Years’ on the 1st of Jan, does your country celebrate New Years’ on a different day?

CW4 Valorana: Only on the 1st of January

CW5 -Stephan!e-: For Chinese, we celebrate Chinese New Year not on a fixed date like New Years, it is the lunisolar Chinese calendar that determines the date. Usually, it will be around February and March. We do celebrate New Years too, the difference could be that CNY is more like a Chinese tradition for families to gather around for a reunion dinner.

CWO4 IvyCharleston: No we also celebrate it then.

CWO3 itz_Lama: Nope, we only celebrate it on the 1st of Jan.

MCPON Femae.: Yes actually, we usually just celebrate on new year eve. So 31st December. So we celebrate until late in the night.

1st Lt Konfess: No, we celebrate on the 1st of January as well!

CWO5 Willow1010: We celebrate New Year’s Eve and stay away for as long as we can on the 1st so we celebrate into the next year. We party all night and at 12 we hug and yell Happy New Year.

CWO5 ThedueIist: the celebrations start on the 31 Dec and usually end the 2nd of Jan.

1SG humania: nope! it’s the same here for us! but we also celebrate the Chinese new year which is like in February I think!

SFC KreepKap: Nope, However, it is celebrated a bit differently, there are a few landmarks and all of the people gather there and celebrate. And people pray for a good new year a lot.

4th of July is a big celebration in the US, it is also known as Independence Day. Do you celebrate Independence day where you’re from?

CW4 Valorana: Yes! We celebrate our Independence Day every 12th of June

CW5 -Stephan!e-: We do celebrate Independence day in Malaysia which in the Malay language is known as “Hari Merdeka”. The yearly celebration is on the 31st of August, the day when Malaya (former name of Malaysia) gained independence from British rule.

CWO4 IvyCharleston: No we don’t.

CWO3 itz_Lama: Yes we do! We have parades every Independence Day as well as different programs. C: We celebrate it on the 18th of December

MCPON Femae.: Nope, not at all! Wouldn’t even know it existed if the school didn’t teach me. 

1st Lt Konfess: No, we don’t celebrate Independence Day here in Canada

CWO5 Willow1010: I’m not sure what everyone else does in Australia as we are taking some American holidays but we celebrate Australia Day in January

CWO5 ThedueIist: My country does not have an Independence day since never were owned by another country, however, we do celebrate the day our constitution was written (5th of June which is also Fathers day here).

1SG humania: Of course!! It’s on the 17th of august for us!

SFC KreepKap: Well, I personally celebrate it, but the country doesn’t officially celebrate it. However, they celebrate the Independence Day of their country on 14 August. People spray paint their cars green and there are huge flags on almost every building. Every house in the neighborhood is decorated. There is also a grand show on the border between Pakistan & India

Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the US, in which families will reunite. Which holidays do you celebrate with your family as a family reunion?

CW4 Valorana: In my country, family reunions always happen during the Christmas season.

CW5 -Stephan!e-: As mentioned above, the reunion dinner held on Chinese New Year’s Eve is the most important day on which family members gather together to celebrate. Traditionally, our menu must include dumplings, chicken, pork, and fish. For my family, because we love steamboats/hotpot so much, we made it like a family tradition as a must-eat during the reunion dinner. For those who don’t know about steamboats, the setup would be with a hot boiling broth at the center, and the raw foods arranged around the hot broth. The main ingredients can be anything depending on your preference, meat, mushrooms, seafood, vegetables, basically, everything you can think of, you can also put into the hotpot. For the soup base, it can be tom yum, Sichuan mala or just a simple chicken broth and more.

CWO4 IvyCharleston: Christmas and Easter

CWO3 itz_Lama: We don’t celebrate thanksgiving, the only reunion we have is on Eid. Eid is an Islamic holiday, the date changes with the Islamic calendar every year and it is also celebrated twice a year!

MCPON Femae.: We usually celebrate Christmas Eve/Christmas day with each other as a family! Same thing for New years eve

1st Lt Konfess: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Family Day, and Easter!

CWO5 Willow1010: We don’t do thanksgiving, we do Easter, Christmas, New Years, Australia Day, and Good Friday where we don’t eat meat

CWO5 ThedueIist: Good question, I think Christmas and maybe Easter

1SG humania: We Indonesians celebrate so many holidays because of our ethnicity, religion, and much more. but the one thing that I celebrate is the Chinese new year because I’m half-Chinese myself. The Chinese New year is more like a family gathering in my opinion because I usually even visit my cousins too!

SFC KreepKap: In the current country I am living in, families unite mostly on Eid. There are two Eids in a year. On the first Eid, children are given money as a gift. It’s a payday for children. On the second Eid, People celebrate with their families by sacrificing goats, sheep, cows, and camels. There is a huge feast on Breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the whole family is there.

What is your favourite holiday celebration? What do you normally do?

CW4 Valorana: Christmas and New Years! I usually spend time with my family, watching Netflix, and eat meals together. What I love the most during Christmas and New Years is that it’s my break from work and school, and I get to relax with my loved ones.

CW5 -Stephan!e-: My favourite one is gonna be CNY lol. During the whole week of the celebration, we can eat and play, like a LOT. We will have a BBQ, playing fireworks, stay up until late at night to watch the live TV New Year shows, play games and generally spend time with families & relatives who only came back home to visit on this occasion. And of course, receiving ang pao will definitely be my own personal favourite hahaha. I also will send wishes and have a video call with my cousins who live further away in the US and Canada to see how they are doing there and how they’re gonna be celebrating CNY on the other side of the world.

CWO4 IvyCharleston: Probably Christmas because it means I get to see lots of different family members over several days that I wouldn’t normally see

CWO3 itz_Lama: Haha that’s also eid it’s the only holiday we celebrate, my family members gather together and they spend 3 days with each other playing cards and board games or going out c:

MCPON Femae.: My favourite would be New Years eve as we always celebrate it with our neighbours, friends and/or family and we always have a themed party where we all dress up. We all work together on making decorations and setting everything up which is so fun

1st Lt Konfess: My favourite holiday is thanksgiving. Mostly because I get to spend time with family and reflecting on how life is for us all. But partly because we have HUGE dinners. I don’t have to cook for days after!

CWO5 Willow1010: Ooohh that’s a toughie I love it all because it’s when the fam gets together. Maybe New Years cause it’s a new start with your family and friends

CWO5 ThedueIist: I don’t know honestly, I just like when my family and I get together and eat food xd

1SG humania: It’s the new year! because I get to see fireworks at night! Beautiful! I always like to spend my holidays bonding with my friends and playing Habbo! yes! Habbo for me is like the best thing for me to just be happy around people I love!

SFC KreepKap: Even though I’m not from this country, I still like a lot of the holidays. But I have to say that the best holidays I like are Independence day and Eids because I get the most days off from work and there is a lot of celebration and there are a lot of interesting things to see.


by ChristianM.0498

Cover by DaesungLover

A brief story of the Habbo White House and the United Defense Force, highlighting our greatness and accomplishments over the time of our great alliance. Sit back and relax, and learn a little about our friends at the Habbo White House and how we have gone through so much in the interest of making our two organizations inclusive, fun, and meaningful for everyone involved. 

If you were to ask 5 years ago if the United States Defense Force was willing to ally with a non-military organization, you might get mixed responses from our personnel. Two different organizations with two completely different operations, yet we share something so common with one another. We have partnered with so many different organizations in the past, however one has always been the starlight of the show, at least to those who know who they are. The White House has been an organization for a very long time, firstly owned by Financier, and then its power was transferred to the WhiteHouse-RC account. There is a very important reason behind this change.

Organizations have always had their different operations. However, one thing that sticks out above the rest is how people are given power in the White House. You see, they actually elect their leadership through a democracy event they host every couple months. Of course there are rules on who can be a candidate, but there’s nothing better than being able to elect your leaders who have to give immediate change for the better in order to land re-election. 

The United States Defense Force follows a military type strategy, where we usually start from the lowest rank and move towards successful milestones like becoming a SNCO, CWO, and even an Officer. By doing this, we ensure that our brightest and best are the ones who are calling the shots and have supreme power over our rules, procedures, and training. By demonstrating your capability to achieve great things and your ability to lead, it’s entirely possible to enlist as an E1 and make your way to Senior Command in record time if you’re capable of doing so. 

In the Habbo White House, you enlist as a “Secret Service” member and your sole duty is to recruit and receive advanced training. After reaching a certain rank and demonstrating your capability, you can become eligible to apply to one of the four major “branches” of government, similar to how our offices work. You can join the Secret Service (Training), Legislative (Makes Laws), Judicial (Court and Review Laws), or the Executive Branch (Leadership). Each of these branches offer different positions and experiences, all while moving up in the “iC (In Command)” chain. The higher the iC you are, the higher rank you hold with different benefits and responsibilities as you climb in ranks. 

Although this seems drastically different from what USDF does, we share a lot of common ground with our friends in the White House. For starters, we both work to offer a simulation on Habbo whether it be in the US Military or the US Government. Another similarity is our drive to offer Habbo a safe, inclusive, and rewarding place for people to spend their time and even earn coins while doing it. You could easily earn coins in our HQ games in USDF, or be entered into a lottery at the Habbo White House for a chance of coins or HC. Both organizations reward their personnel for hard work, which is what motivates our members to achieve great things. 

Although you can keep listing similarities and differences between the two organizations all day long, there’s something they both have assisted in developing that has shaped Habbo for years in the past and for the future to come. If you are aware of the Foreign Policy, you might have heard of the Illegal Warfare Operators Condemnation List. If you have no idea what that is, the nature of its existence is meant to protect you, me, and everyone else in our large organizations. You see, the people added to the list are those who are a danger to our personnel because of evidence brought against them in any of our partnered organizations that have demonstrated illegal behavior. An example would be DOXXING, extortion, or the collecting and distributing of personal identifiable information. In this alliance we have built with our White House friends, we have ensured the legacy of our two organizations will not participate or allow that type of behavior in any capacity, keeping everyone safe as possible. 

Overall, both USDF and the White House have been allies for a long time, and there is no end in sight, only more opportunities for our organizations to flourish. They are both similar when it comes to their values, like our goals to better the working floor and our intentions to do better for the future generations to play on this game. Being allies with the Habbo White House brings smiles and happiness to our organization, whenever we partner an event with them or either of our foreign affairs teams visit each other – it’s always a pleasant and fun experience. Cheers to anyone from the Habbo White House reading this – thank you for everything you’ve done for us. Cheers to more great memories to come and more innovation across the working floor with one another.

To The One I Love The Most

by claryboy2109

Cover by chiari.cord

To the one I love the most, 

First of all, hello! It was an extremely hard decision to choose just one person, but I regard you as one of my closest friends here. It is crazy to think we met seven months ago when I was just a JNCO. I believe we met like how I met most people, by whispering to you a simple “Hello”. We’ve both come a long way since then. You’ve been there for me from the very beginning, whether it is about USDF or me ranting to you about real-life things. 

We went from acquaintances in the same office of OJFD to now close friends, still in the same office of OPA, and even JDT command together (honestly, I do not know how we got here). I remember asking you if I should apply for OJFD HNCO, and you were very encouraging. I also recall our first ever discord message was me sending you a video on YouTube (and no, I am not saying what it is because you already know). From that moment on, we slowly but surely became friends. If I remember correctly, it was only about less than a month later when we started to become close. You were one of the first people I had asked to help with my EOIs when I was applying for BHNCO, which I honestly believe contributed to me getting SMA.

You have encouraged me whenever I feel down and you are always there to support me. You are always one message away no matter what it is. I remember there was once where I was feeling really anxious one evening and you were watching a movie, and I decided to message you. You took the time, even though you were busy, to make sure I was okay. When it got to the point of it being really bad, you took the time to have a conversation with me *cheese among many things*, and we even played a couple of rounds of chess! I think that was the moment I knew that I don’t have to pretend to be okay whenever I talk to you, and you would be someone that I can advise or even be there as a friend. I think I’ve told you things that I have never told anyone that is not my real-life friend.

You know who you are, and I tell you this all the time, but I appreciate you so much. Thank you for being my friend, and for always being there. You’ll always have a friend in me.

We Fight, We Win, We Celebrate

by pikasyu

Cover by IceBear0

Game: Battle Banzai
Participants: Aztec and Airlyssia
Date/Time: Friday, 18 June 2021 / 12PM EDT

A game of Battle Banzai between Aztec and Airlyssia is about to happen… Neptune had just called the fall out announcement towards the Genesis HQ. There the brave warriors of Aztec and Airlyssia sit as they await the battle ahead of them.

Aztec enters the room, followed by Airlyssia. They wait patiently as they see random pyramids appear from the battlefield below them. The warriors are briefed on the rules and ways to battle it out. And there happened to be a sacred secret from the Gods… “Fully fill the perimeter of a shape first.”

The game consists of 5 rounds, and scoring will be on the basis of best of 5.

Let the Battle (Banzai) begin!

The first round consisted of Warriors tanyary, mesoldier, Creta, coolchick1313 and 1998Hailey1998 from Aztec and Warriors william.qwewy, WalkingBootz, Infernova, lROGEl and vogue70 from Airlyssia.

Oh wait! We have an intruder! A naval sailor decided to join the game, but unfortunately, this game isn’t for him! He will need to wait for a game to happen!

The game begins and Airlyssia takes a huge lead from the start! They had secured two big areas the moment they began! That was a good strategy! They saw the chance and they took it! Aztec was also playing hard! They, however, fell short by a hundred tiles! Maybe they can snatch Airlyssia’s tactic for the next round.

It is also quite hilarious that a player glitched upon trying to exit the battlefield. Was it her doing? Or was it a game glitch? Either, it was hilarious but it also took out some time from the entire event.

The second round consisted of Warriors MissionFailure, bretty!, Exdr, humania and Spangled from Aztec and Warriors davidhif2, CheesyFlurry, nick1x, Nabe and vogue70 from Airlyssia. But before the round commenced, there was some fixing needed! Oh I wonder what that boulder is doing blocking the gate and why the counter sat there so lonely.

And so the round begins after a few minutes of deliberation!

The winners of the first round held the fort right from the start of the game. They decided to target the “easy” and “bigger” areas so they can take up more surface area. They coloured the room in pink and swiftly moved in teams, tailing behind one another to ensure that the area gets locked three times! And that was the sacred message the Gods delivered. They listened.

The third (and potentially last) round consisted of Warriors MissionFailure, bretty!, tanyary, 1998Hailey1998 and Creta from Aztec and Warriors william.qwewy, WalkingBootz, Infernova, rajvi8042 and vogue70 from Airlyssia. This will be the last round if Airlyssia manages to colour the whole battlefield in pink again!

It was a tough fight as the scores were coming close to each other. Airlyssia kept with the same tactic of taking up the easy and bigger field options. They decided to do squares and triangles to take up more spots. However, that didn’t do them too good and Aztec clinched their first win! It was a super close match with the third round scoring to scores 284 – 285, to Aztec!

The fourth round consisted of Warriors coolchick1313, bretty!, tanyary, 1998Hailey1998 and Creta from Aztec and Warriors william.qwewy, WalkingBootz, amandablanco12, nick1x and Nabe from Airlyssia. Airylssia would need to get this one to get their win!

And they won with that 1 point again! Aztec is really pulling the clutch in these games! The score for this game was extremely close too. Aztec was tailing Airlyssia, ensuring that their opponent did not get the tiles locked!

And so now, the score stands at 2-2. One more game and the winner will be crowned! This was a great match between the two civilisations to say the least.

The last round consisted of Warriors coolchick1313, bretty!, Exdr, missionfailure and Creta from Aztec and Warriors Infernova, WalkingBootz, william.qwewy, nick1x and CheesyFlurry from Airlyssia. This is the last round.

What a comeback of the century! With super close scores, and Aztec leading by only 2 points by the end of the game… It is of no surprise that Aztec takes it home! 

Branch Wars Highlights Part 2

By Marines and Army

Working for Success

by inl4rrywetrust

Cover by koleq

To begin this article, it is important that we discuss the definition of success; your basic Google definition is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”, however, many people combine success with having money when it’s as simple as the definition. Being successful is not an easy goal to achieve, it comes with many ups and downs but when you’re there, you harvest the best fruits possible. I will explain to you a few steps that will guide you on the right path of working for success!

Steps & Explanation

  • Visualize Your Goal 

First of all, you must visualize what you’re aiming for. If you do not know what you want, how will you work for it? What plans will you create and how can you ensure that those plans will help you achieve your goal? Once you have set your goal and see yourself working hard for it in the future, you can move on to the next step.

  • Develop Yourself

How would you develop yourself? You may ask, and it’s a very valid question, what does developing yourself means? When you have visualized your goal, you can not stay in the same mental space that you started in, we learn new things every single day and must apply them to our everyday life. If anything is holding you back from being successful, work on it and improve.

  • Be Persistent & Committed

You can not only plan but you must also keep your word and be committed, you have to be willing to sacrifice a few things in life to be successful, make commitments with yourself and try to fulfill them, if you have trouble in this part, then you already know what must be fixed before we try to commit to other people and persist, keep moving on.

  • Wake Up Early

Even though it could be a difficult task to do, you must wake up early. It is said that the most successful people wake up bright and early. When you practice this, you notice a change in how you produce work, you become more focused and productive while also being able to complete more prep-work before your actual assignments, you gain mental toughness and discipline.

  • Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure

It is very common to come across failure on your road to being successful, however, you can not give up! You have come all the way up to here and you have chosen to give in to failure? No! You must push through this hard stage, surround yourself with friends and loved ones who will allow you to express yourself, don’t be alone, listen to advice. Success isn’t easy but the rewards are enjoyable. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

  • Be Productive

Produce. Learn how to prioritize each task that you have to complete, you can’t wait for things to happen and instead make them happen! Every sweat and tears that you put in your projects must come with your share of achievement, take pride after being productive, you deserve it.

  • Succeed

Finally, you have done it! You’ve accomplished the task that you proposed a long time ago! How does it feel to be successful? Are you happy? I’m sure you are, I would be too! Every task that you meticulously did to ensure that it would take you to where you are right now has been triumphant. Celebrate with your friends as this was not an easy road, don’t be too hard on yourself, and make sure that you keep working towards being even more successful.

Thank you for reading this short article, I hope it has been of great help to anyone out there and good luck on working for success!

My Officer Journey: From Start Till Now

by ,-Spell

Cover by cagliore

What made you know you were ready to take the next step in your USDF career and apply for OCS?

Sec Def xStarlight11 – I didn’t, my friends told me I’d be a good fit and it might be worth the shot of trying to do what I always dreamed of doing for everyone else. I didn’t get in the first time but eventually, I did. I felt ready when it started because this was all something I learned about at an early stage. It was challenging but I got through it and when I graduated, I knew this would be an exciting time and I felt confident.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I spent lots of my times reading up on regulations during my free time manning the transfer desk and whenever HQ was busy, it struck to me that I just knew how to handle the situation and take charge, believing in my own leadership skills so I decided to apply for OCS believing that if I was ready, I’d get accepted if not I’d gladly take feedback and improve on my shortcomings.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Honestly, friends. A lot of my friends in USDF became officers, and pushed me into wanting to excel further in my career here. Many looked up to me as a leader in the warrant officer ranks already with how active I am all the time, and live in HQ. Also, senior officer friends along with the officer shadowing program pushed me to say okay, your time is here to rip off the bandaid.

What, in your opinion, was the hardest part of going through OCS?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Time. During OCS, we had an emergency in the family and I was in the hospital for a long time. I asked for an extension because I desperately needed one and had to do my exams through mobile and a hotspot connection. It was really difficult because it sounds silly that I put Habbo on my mind in the hospital but who doesn’t try to distract themselves with it? For many, Habbo is an escape from the real world and I think it helped me not be severely upset at the time.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I think it’s the commitment and dedication required, there’s a lot of teaching within OCS and it really pushes you for improvements and highlights your weak areas so it’s up to you to really reflect upon that, seeking improvement within yourself while still meeting expectations in other aspects like office work, HQ activity.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Honestly the exams, and just retaining the knowledge. I did two months of OCS, and as demotivated as I was, I was eager to progress because I know my worth here at USDF, and I wanted to be that change to help pave the way for future leaders.

How did you feel throughout the month/those months?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Challenged, excited and worried. What if I didn’t do well enough on a certain exam? If I dropped out, would I still feel confident to try again? There’s no shame in that because you can always try again and do better. It’s a learning curve and experience but each person deals with things differently and my worry was my performance and activity. I know I wasn’t very active in HQ that month because of these personal reasons but after that, I made up for it.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I felt really tired of everything but OCS really opened my mind, I used to always think I had the best solution to everything but OCS really changed that mindset of mine and made me very open to ideas, criticism and overall being a better leader. Because of that I felt eager to constantly learn more and had this determination to complete the course.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – So the first month was crazy because there were 8 of us. I felt very anxious, and I wanted to make sure I was pulling my own weight while balancing everything else such as command work, HQ performance, and OC. I had to find better time management to make it all work which it did and I was thankful for. My second month I thought I was going to hit rock bottom in my career, and I had that pit in my stomach despite having to do another month senior command shedded light on me because they saw potential. Honestly, I use my second month as a career curve for those demotivated or fall in that boat. Because I can share the experience, and let them know they are not alone. I had also been appointed OCS AO so I could help shape the leaders after my class, and push them to not give up because I was in their shoes.

How did you feel when you graduated?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Relieved and confident. It was my time to shine and I had all the time in the world to do it.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I felt a huge sense of accomplishment but at the same time I felt excited because it was just the beginning of my officer journey and I know that this just meant that the path to achieving my goals had just begun

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Very excited!!! Made it seem like dreams do come true, and it was like a pat on the back after all the stress I went through the last couple of months!! I’m happy to be where I am, and I love being surrounded by such great people ❤️

What recommendations would you give to future OCS candidates?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Be active, engaged and hard-working. It’s generic and I know so many people have heard it, but becoming an officer is not just a promotion. It’s a responsibility to lead others and you’re also part of a future generation that will one day take over in senior command. If you can’t be active enough to dedicate time to yourself and others as a leader then it’s doing yourself and everyone involved a disservice. We want to see everyone thrive, and my message is do your part.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – If you are planning to apply for OCS, don’t just use your EOI to represent you, action speaks more than words and you can claim to be the most active in your EOI but if we don’t see you in HQ at all, it speaks a lot about the credibility you’re showing. Also go in with an open mind, be prepared to self reflect a lot and learn new things, adapt and constantly look for ways to improve yourself and you’ll turn out fine.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Never give up, honestly. You will never know the outcome if you don’t try. I always push the CWOs to take that lateral change and apply to be an officer. Get the experience. I will also say if you’re not successful, pick yourself back up and keep going.

Can you walk us through your journey through junior officership?

SecDef xStarlight11 – I think it was a mix of trying to learn and a mix of knowing I can now make some changes in specific roles. It started off with me trying to learn the ropes and discover what I could and couldn’t do. Over time, I got better and got different roles and kept learning new things about different offices until I was eligible for SODC and SOAB.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I was appointed as XO SP&C while I was an OCS candidate and I was never really one who changed offices a lot so I stayed and worked my way up within OSP&C, introducing programs like the Officer Shadowing Program now known as the FOLP but sadly I had to retire as O3 in 2017 due to real life commitments. Upon my return in 2020, I set some goals for myself to achieve and took up my first command position as OCS AO, slowly working my way up and setting goals on what I wish to work on before applying to be a Senior Officer, etc.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – My journey as a Junior officer has been a roller coaster! Leaving from OJFD command at OC2, and shifting over  into a new role and office opened up so many doors and careers. I managed to lock in two command roles as an officer, and dreams do come true; becoming an OCS AO was something I wanted since W3-W4. I was anxious honestly because I was wondering how well my mind would adjust and adapt to the changes in becoming an officer. Over time after commissioning I’ve been getting the hang of things, and it’s becoming second nature to me. Surround yourself with good people who are there to guide you like they guided me and there is success at the end of the tunnel!

How did you prepare/are you preparing for SODC?

SecDef xStarlight11 – You have to gain a lot of experience as a junior officer and try to be prepared. It’s not impossible, but the best you can do is engage with everyone around you and brush up on your policies and what strategic leadership is, how it can be utilized at USDF.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I looked through my past officer reviews, identifying all the pointers given for me to improve and work on it from there. After that I was reaching out to my branch chief and directors to ask if there was anything else I could be improving on, once I felt satisfied and ready, I applied.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Yes – I’ve been preparing for SODC; a little overwhelming but I keep telling myself to take small steps and you will achieve great things here. I want to be that role model for others and show them that if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything. How am I prepared to become an officer? Honestly, kudos to the Officer shadowing program and just great officer friends that I looked up to as support to show me the ways. As soon as I became eligible I ripped the band aid off.

If you could describe your experience as an officer in three words, what would they be?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Challenging, exciting, busy.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – Dedication, leadership, exciting.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Passion, drive, support.

What is your favorite part about being an officer?

SecDef xStarlight11 – Being able to lead and make big decisions. It helps a lot when I’m in control so I can defer to my own judgement.

MajGen LMaoZeDonny – I really enjoy seeing my past subordinates develop into fine leaders themselves, it makes me feel really good knowing that I’ve played a part in impacting their career here within USDF. It also really gives you a nice satisfaction seeing how you’ve developed good leaders who you know will lead their subordinates well.

CPT 1998Hailey1998 – Helping others progress, and helping pave the way of USDF.

A Note To All Future Leaders

by Maxite

Cover by koleq

To the future leaders of the USDF,

There are many lessons that I could give you on what it means to be a leader. I could lecture you on the finer points of etiquette and professionalism. Frankly though, any of that would be a disservice when that is all a quick Google search away if you are so inclined. The actual reality is that there is one topic that is often overlooked, and that is that leadership is not special. You are already a leader.

My ability to draw a picture is terrible not because I can’t draw, but because I never cared to practice and develop that skill. Likewise, anyone can lead, but great leaders will take the time to practice and study and improve. One does not become competent on their first or even second outing as a leader, so wipe from your mind that leadership is something that only a few people can do. Anyone can be a leader. Everyone has the potential. It’s just that few will take the time to develop that skill.

So go out and practice, and develop the skills of a leader. You will make mistakes; you will fail. Embrace them all, and as you practice the actions also practice thinking like a leader as well. Relish in those mistakes and failures, for they give you vital insights on how to improve. This is all about learning, so don’t turn down a good opportunity to learn. You should also take the time to study and observe the leaders in your life and within the USDF. Ask them how they do things if you aren’t certain of it yourself by just watching. More than that, also learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.

I said earlier that you are already a leader. That is because the simplest of tasks and actions you face can be approached with leadership tools; even something as simple as taking out the trash. You can develop a plan of action, set goals on when those actions are to be taken, and then execute upon them. Our parents or guardians are leaders, because they had to exercise time management, discipline, scheduling, budgeting, and so much more. Everyone has the tools; it’s just recognizing that the tools are leadership tools, and learning how to apply them more generally rather than specifically. So take some time to quietly reflect on your areas of strength, and how the processes and actions there might be useful in other areas of your life. You may find you are well practiced in some areas of leadership already.

Leadership is genuinely mundane and boring. It surrounds us and permeates nearly every corner of our lives. But it is because leadership is so normal that practicing it can come so easily. You don’t need a special rank or appointment to start being a leader, because that started as soon as you walked into the door of the USDF the first time. The true difference between a common soldier and a commander isn’t some innate talent; it’s just practice and experience. So long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you can reap the rewards.


by Jayceei and pikasyu

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