The Libertarian – March Edition

Cover by Penguin.
0Team Leaders IntroductionOpeningFantasyYT + …Andrew…
1The History of St Patricks DayArticleArmando498
2The Friendly Skies: An Inside Look at the US Air ForceSpotlightSashosh
3OSEAC FeatureSpotlightFrumentari
4Irish HistoryArticle.Batman.
5Shamrock ShuffleGamePenguin.
6Woman’s History Month: Who is your most influential woman?Interviewnathare
7Short StoryStoryPromptis
8Saving the Planet: Earth Hour 2023ArticleTrixDoesMedia
9Top 10 ideas for your April Fools DayArticleMaxite
10Mental HealthArticle…Andrew…

 Team Leader Introduction

by FantasyYT and …Andrew…

Hello there!

My name is Casper aka FantasyYT and I am the Team Leader for this month’s Libertarian! This is my first project where I was the Team Leader. It was a great time leading this project, and I’m very excited about your opinion about the articles this amazing team wrote!

See you in the next edition,

Hello, USDF!

My name is Andrew, although most of you may know me as just CWO5 …Andrew…. I live in the EST + 5 (GMT + 0) Timezone, so when most of you are asleep, I’m awake, and vice versa.

I’m very proud and excited to have the opportunity to have been the Assistant Team Leader for this month’s edition of The Libertarian, having previously been an Assistant Team Leader a few months ago. Our team of volunteers have worked incredibly hard and with pride, ready to show you the best of what OPA does.

See you in the next edition!
CWO5 …Andrew…

 The History of St Patricks Day

by Armando498

by Anna.Marie97

St. Patrick’s Day is a widely celebrated holiday around the world, especially in Ireland and the United States. It is a day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, and the rich cultural heritage of the Irish people. This day has a long history, and its traditions have evolved over the years.

Saint Patrick’s Day originally began as a religious holiday in the early 17th century to honor Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. Saint Patrick was born in Britain in the fourth century and was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. After six years of captivity, he escaped and became a priest. He later returned to Ireland to spread Christianity and convert the people to Catholicism. Saint Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated on March 17th, which was the day Saint Patrick died.

As time went on, Saint Patrick’s Day became more of a cultural celebration of Irish heritage, rather than just a religious holiday. Irish immigrants who came to the United States in the 19th century brought the holiday with them, and it soon became popular among the Irish-American community. The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1762, and today, it is one of the largest parades in the world, with millions of spectators and participants.

One of the most recognizable symbols of Saint Patrick’s Day is the color green. The color green has long been associated with Ireland, and it is said to represent the lush green landscape of the country. The shamrock, a three-leaf clover, is also a symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland. Today, many people wear green clothing and accessories, and cities around the world light up famous landmarks in green to celebrate the holiday.

Another tradition of Saint Patrick’s Day is the consumption of traditional Irish foods and drinks. Corned beef and cabbage is a popular dish, and it is said to have been brought to the United States by Irish immigrants. Irish whiskey and Guinness, a dark stout beer, are also popular drinks on the holiday.

Saint Patrick’s Day is not only celebrated in Ireland and the United States, but also in many other countries around the world. In fact, it is a public holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In other countries, such as Argentina, Australia, and Japan, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades, concerts, and other cultural events.

One of the most famous Saint Patrick’s Day parades is held in Dublin, Ireland. This parade dates back to 1931 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The parade features floats, marching bands, and colorful costumes, and it winds its way through the streets of Dublin to the cheers of the crowds.

Another tradition of Saint Patrick’s Day is the wearing of the green. Many people, both Irish and non-Irish, wear green clothing, hats, and accessories on this day. Some even dye their hair or paint their faces green. The tradition of wearing green dates back to the 17th century, when it was considered lucky to wear green clothing on Saint Patrick’s Day.

In conclusion, Saint Patrick’s Day has a rich history and tradition that has evolved over the years. From its religious roots to its cultural celebration of Irish heritage, this holiday is widely celebrated around the world. Its symbols, such as the color green and the shamrock, and its traditions, such as parades and traditional Irish food and drink, make it a beloved holiday for people of all ages and backgrounds.

here are some fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • St. Patrick was not actually Irish. He was born in Britain around 385 AD and was captured by Irish raiders at the age of 16. He spent several years in captivity in Ireland before escaping and returning to Britain. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland, but in New York City in 1762.
  • The color originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue, not green. However, over time green became the dominant color associated with the holiday, particularly after it was adopted by Irish nationalists in the 19th century.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated not just in Ireland and the United States, but in many other countries around the world, including Canada, Australia, Japan, and Brazil.
  • The Chicago River is dyed green every year on St. Patrick’s Day. The tradition began in 1962, when city officials used 100 pounds of green vegetable dye to turn the river green for the first time.
  • Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish in the United States, but it is not actually a traditional Irish dish. In Ireland, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal is typically boiled bacon and cabbage.
  • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in New York City, with more than 2 million people in attendance each year.
  • In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was a religious holiday for many years and pubs were closed. However, in 1970 the government began to promote the holiday as a way to boost tourism, and it has since become a more secular celebration in Ireland as well.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is also known as the Feast of St. Patrick, and it is a national holiday in Ireland.
  • Legend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes in exchange for his release. So if you happen to see one on St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to catch him!

 The Friendly Skies: An Inside Look at the US Air Force

by Sasosh

by Andrealphus

Every branch has its own qualities and is extremely unique. Today we will be talking with those who fly high in the sky: The Air Force. I have the honor to present to you a flight through the Air Force and the lovely personnel of this branch.

First up is LadyVoldie. She has only good words for the Air Force! Our CWO5 Maya has been a really loyal member of the Air Force since 22nd January 2021 when she became CMSAF. Maya had dreamt about being the CMSAF numerous times, and her dream came true. I asked her about her time as CMSAF and she told me reviewing, that she was in charge of the mentorship program and worked a lot on the council too. She learned in this position during two months, a lot about leadership, communication while interacting with people, and how to work in a team. These are all skills which are necessary to progress here in USDF. So yes, she did a great job!
The leader of the Air Force also has an interesting backstory! The CSAF sugarnoah joined the Air Force back in 2020. He appreciates this branch not only because of the close community but also because they are always welcoming new friends and helpful to those who need it. Noah states that he was always looking up to whoever was in this role and now he knows how much responsibility this position takes within. He is our 22th CSAF, which shows how much time has passed since our first CSAF Basilone left the role. Noah truly influences people with the determination and love he holds for the branch. A great man who loves his job and also the blue uniform!
CWO4 SkyBucks is not a name forgotten in the USDF community. Carter is very well known amongst the community and more specifically his branch! He joined USDF on 16th November 2022 where he originally entered the branch that he never knew would be his home! Carter told me that he joined the Air Force because of an old good friend but in the end, he fell in love with his branch and the amazing people he met there. To this day he remains in his original branch and believes that he will not be making a change anytime soon! He is nothing but grateful for the friendships he has made and appreciates the special time he had with the whole command and his team. For Carter, the Air Force is perfect the way it is!
His story shows us that USDF is a place where you can really find new and awesome friends, a place where you are always welcome.
One of the personnel who keeps us safe in USDF as a SOCOM member has also found some kind words for his branch.
Lieutenant Colonel Bechete is a member of the Air Force since he joined USDF in 2020 and he never changed his branch. If that isn’t loyalty then I don’t know what is! I was told that the Air Force is special for him, because he always received the support he needed. He got a good preparation to get into OCS and working with the council allowed him to gain some experience. So his branch helped him out to get so far how he became! People are nice in his branch and they welcome every new member. The only thing Bechete Sir would change is the blue uniform – “it’s a weird blue that makes me dizzy“. Let’s see if a suggestion is coming soon…

Last but not least I also wanted to talk with the new CCM Hartlam!
It was such a great surprise, after asking her for an interview to see that she has been chosen for this position. She was so happy and told me how excited she is to prove herself on this brand new journey. This is a stepping stone for her being more involved with the command and stepping forwards to further opportunities. She can only say the same: The Air Force feels like a family.
She won a lot of support in her branch by the command and they love to see progress within their branch community. The CSAF is also called someone inspiring. The only thing Miss Hartlam would like to change is making the family even closer with some sort of social events on Discord.

In the end, all these interviews have shown me how much USDF in general can mean to someone and how lovely people in USDF are!

In the end, all the words shared have shown that Air Force is just one of the great branches that USDF has to offer! A place filled with warm welcomes and exciting experiences. Dream high and reach for the skies! HUAH!

 OSEAC Feature

by Frumentari

By Andrealphus

The Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (OSEAC) plays a critical role in the training and development of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Warrant Officers (WOs) within the United States Defense Force (USDF). Members of OSEAC are appointed to positions of significant authority and responsibility, not only within individual offices but also within entire branches. The chain of command is outlined below:

SEAC – ML1 (reports to the CJCS)
BHNCO – ML2 (reports to the SEAC)

The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) holds the authority over all Branch Head Non-Commissioned Officers (BHNCOs) in the United States Defense Force (USDF). This historical position has served as a springboard for many successful members of the senior command, including FiftyMiles, Atropureus (recently reinstated!), Kruxion, and NefariousZ. The SEAC oversees numerous projects and initiatives and provides a vital communication link between individuals and the Office of the Secretary of Defense/National Security Council on a daily basis.

Each BHNCO is responsible for overseeing the training and development of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) within their respective branches, including the SgtMajMC, SMA, CMSAF, and MCPON. Having personally served in this capacity, I can attest to the exceptional leadership experience and skills that can be gained through the role. If you meet the eligibility requirements and have not yet applied, I highly encourage you to do so.

In an effort to shed more light on this critical leadership office, I had the privilege of conducting interviews with our BHNCOs. Please see below for their insights:

  1. As an active NCO, what motivated you to apply for BHNCO?

SMA ItsNeji.: When I was an SNCO I was very active and I also was doing a good job in my office so I got motivated to apply to SMA because I was sure that I could get the position and do good in it. I also love to help everyone that needs my help to progress and grow more in USDF so SMA is a really suitable position for this!

SgtMajMC HOLLYig: It was definitely my strong desire for personal and professional growth. At the time, I felt like I was stuck in a routine and becoming increasingly demotivated. I knew I needed to do something different and challenging to reignite my passion and drive for success. I was confident that I was ready for a bigger challenge and wanted to take on a leadership role where I could make a significant impact. I had many little ideas for improvement and development, it didn’t feel like enough but I recognized that every little idea could be a step towards progress. I knew that the SgtMajMC position would help me refine my ideas, break out of my routine and challenge myself to grow.

CMSAF :Pepper: As an NCO, the hardest thing is getting a command position. I had some experience from being a former command member, however when I first applied I had no experience at all. What got me through it, is being attentive to your surroundings and really understanding each NCO struggles in their own ways and it’s your job to help them the best you can. After having a chance to become an office command, it inspired me to want to keep going to something bigger. I took my shot and applied. It’s funny because I applied for 3 BHNCO positions, and I finally got it so it was actually a learning curve for me that if you have the determination and drive to go for something, in the end you’ll have that chance to get it. I learnt that being denied a position can help you grow and realise how badly you want something. Really, it was my passion to help others and make a difference that led me to where I am today.

MCPON ,Wormee: I actually didn’t apply for it. VNCO (at the time) Camastrr reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in taking up the role. Mainly because the MCPON role was vacant after zekandevan was offered the SEAC position. It therefore needed to be filled urgently. I was eager to accept it though. It’s extremely important to me that everyone has fun and that everyone feels seen. Being in a position that may be perceived as a role model or just a person in authority, I imagined it would allow me to have a big impact on my NCOs and I wanted to provide that for my sailors. Everyone deserves to be seen.

  1. What challenges do you expect to face entering a leadership role?

SMA ItsNeji.: I will face some challenges for sure and one of them is the challenge of getting back up when you make a mistake because everyone makes mistakes and it’s very important to learn from your mistakes and not getting demotivated. I will also face some challenges because it’s still a new experience for me but I am sure that I will overcome those!

SgtMajMC HOLLYig: The biggest challenge I expect to face is the shift from being an individual contributor to a team leader. Initially, I was used to solely being responsible for my own work, but as a leader, I have to take responsibility for the success of the branch as a whole. This requires me to develop new skills such as delegating tasks, providing feedback, motivating and inspiring, managing conflicts, and communicating effectively with the other members.

CMSAF :Pepper: I think the biggest challenge for me was understanding how much responsibility I now have. As an NCO, I was talkative and was what people call a troll. However, once you transition into a leadership role, you start to watch how you act and what you say because you now represent the entirety of your command leadership. It’s a lot of face, especially if you’re new, and going into a role like BHNCO as you represent your entire branch. You are what people look up to, and you hold a role that’s prestigious. I look to challenges as something to work on; to shape myself into a better leader, make little to no mistakes moving forward and learning from the mistakes you’ve made in the past.

MCPON ,Wormee: My main challenge was the amount of duties. It seemed quite nerve-racking from afar and I assumed it would be a lot to handle – that was what had put me off applying for it previously when it was open beforehand. But I quite underestimated the support of my branch command and my actual skills! I feel as though if you have never actually been in a leadership role before, you may just not know how to handle the amount of NCOs you are required to look over, and the additional duties that come with it. I have a little notepad ‘To Do List’ on my laptop and whenever someone comes to me with something, I pop it on there (or deal with it in real time if it’s urgent!) and I go down in order of priority when I start my tasks for the day. I take it one step at a time, first looking at the new E4s to pair up with a mentor and processing those, and then move onto JNCO Mentorship updates, and so on. It all flows into one another so perfectly and it’s not as scary as I once thought it to be. It becomes second nature honestly.

  1. What is your favourite aspect about your branch?

SMA ItsNeji.: My favourite aspect about the Army is that everyone there, from command until the last NCO, are very good and nice. They all welcomed me to the Army very well when I first came then helped me to advance and become what I am now. The Army support is a huge reason why I am the SMA today.

SgtMajMC HOLLYig: I highly appreciate the Marine Corps’ emphasis on fun and engaging conversations among its members. By encouraging fun and lighthearted conversations, they create a positive and supportive environment where everyone can relax and form friendships. They have regular QOTD pings which encourages friendly banter and helps to foster a sense of camaraderie and friendship that is unique to the branch. For example, as soon as you join you are spammed with a funny wall of text to break the ice, it’s very welcoming.

CMSAF :Pepper: My favourite thing about the Air Force is the willingness each person has to help others. I really like that people can just jump in and assist, or freely express their opinions and be heard. We are a small branch, but we are all a big family. As command, we aim to maintain motivation and positivity by sending cute dms, or general messages to everything which helps to boost the overall morale of the branch. We want everyone to feel part of the family, and stay well connected. That’s what I love about the Air Force.

MCPON ,Wormee: I feel as though I know basically everyone in the Navy. Even if I don’t know them well, they all stick out to me in different ways with how they work, how they joke around and just how they generally banter and chat with each other. It’s just so tight-knit and it really is. It’s evident to me on days such as Navy Wavy Wednesday, how unreal it actually is. It’s not an obligation to wear khaki ballcaps, yet basically every sailor I see in HQ on Wednesdays has one on. There’s a high standard of teamwork and aspect of loyalty to each other that you just don’t see everywhere that they themselves created. They gracefully stick out and proudly show that they are in the Navy as a whole team, as they should, just for the fun of presenting their branch.

It is important to emphasise the significance of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) when discussing the OSEAC office. I had the privilege of conducting an insightful interview with our current SEAC, zekandevan, which offered valuable perspectives on this essential leadership role:

  1. What was your initial motivation for applying for SEAC? What brought you to the role?

SEAC zekandevan: Initially I didn’t plan on applying for SEAC, I had plans and a lot of things I wanted to do as MCPON but after the support and conversation with a lot of friends they convinced me to apply.

  1. When managing BHNCOs, what is something you want them to remember about your leadership?

SEAC zekandevan: Organization, I like to keep things very clean and organised as I believe it is one of the best ways to make things efficient.

  1. The role of SEAC requires correspondence with OSD/NSC members on a regular basis. How have you gotten used to this?

SEAC zekandevan: It’s nothing unusual, the same way as any NCO should go to their HNCO or BHNCO then I go to them to inform or ask for anything that’s needed. Nothing really special to it tbh, but it’s a good experience since they’re very friendly and helpful no matter what’s needed.

  1. What challenges have you faced/expect to face? How do you plan to overcome them?

SEAC zekandevan: The most challenging thing is definitely keeping track of everything at the same time and most probably the lengthy term. There is a lot to cover and oversee within the rank which keeps you busy but is definitely not an easy task.

  1. What is your favourite aspect of being the SEAC?

SEAC zekandevan: The interactions, being able to work with and communicate with everybody is the most fun part. It’s nice to see each branch work differently and how their thought process is.

Thank you for reading about OSEAC! If you haven’t already considered it, I would highly encourage you to apply when any of these positions open in the future. And remember, when in need of guidance, feel free to contact your respective branch BHNCO so they can assist you!

  Irish History

by .Batman.

by Anna.Marie97

Around 300 BCE, Celtic warriors landed on an island 910 miles off of mainland Europe. These people would have a profound impact on the culture of the people who would come to be known as the Irish. Over the next millennia, Ireland would slowly begin to morph into a series of kingdoms, similar to much of Europe. According to tradition, in 432 CE, St. Patrick Arrived on the island, and over the following years, converted the Irish people to Christianity. Much of Ireland’s history at the time, and its preservation is accredited to St. Patrick. Patrick introduced the Roman alphabet to Ireland, which allowed oral tradition and history to be written down. He is also credited with preserving and codifying Ireland’s laws. Over the coming centuries, Irish scholars would become very familiar with Latin teachings and Christian theology. They would also deal with numerous invasions from the vikings of modern day Norway.

The next big invasion of Ireland was due to the Normans. In the 12th Century, Ireland was a bunch of small kingdoms. Power had been held by the heads of numerous dynasties. One such man was King Diarmait Mac Murchada of Leinster. He was forcefully exiled and fled to Aquitaine, a region in southern France, where King Henry II allowed him to recruit Norman knights to retake his territory. Through Norman conquest, Diarmait was able to take multiple of Ireland’s counties. Diarmait named his son-in-law Richard de Clare as the heir to his kingdom, which troubled Henry II. In response, Henry landed a fleet at Waterford in 1171. In 1177, Henry would make Prince John Lackland Lord of Ireland. Once John succeeded Henry as King of England, Ireland was officially under the English Crown. English control of Ireland would last until the end of the 15th Century, where England was caught up in the War of the Roses.

The 17th Century would be one the bloodiest in Ireland’s history, courtesy mostly to two warring periods; 1641-1653 and 1689-1691. These 11 years of warring caused a tremendous loss of life in the country. Most of the land that was taken in these wars belonged to Irish Catholics, which would begin a common theme in the country: Catholics versus Protestants. Near and throughout the 18th Century, most Irish Catholics were poor, and were peasants. This was mainly due to most of Ireland’s leaders converting to Protestantism to avoid political and economic penalties due to the state of Europe at the time. Despite making up only about 5% of the Irish population, all of Ireland’s power was in the hands of these Protestants. They controlled the economic sectors, the banks, most of the farmland. However the country still could not govern itself, as the government in London had superior authority, and treated Ireland as a backward colony. More resentment for the British would follow in the coming years, especially during the famine of 1740-1741, which killed an estimated 400,000 people, and caused over 150,000 people to leave the country altogether. Eventually, in 1798, the Irish would rebel against the British.

Following said revolution, in 1800, the Irish and British parliaments signed the Acts of Union, combining the two countries under one banner: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The first major test was the repeal of the Test Act, which would remove any remaining discrimination to Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists and other dissenter religions in the newly United Kingdom. However King George III would simply ban any attempts by the Prime Minister to do so. Throughout the years of the British-Irish union, legislation would be passed to make life more difficult for Catholics in Ireland.

In September of 1914, just as the First World War was starting, the British parliament had the Government of Ireland Act, which would allow Ireland to self govern, but it was put on hold due to the war. The Irish did aid the Allies in World War I. For five years, starting in 1916, political violence skyrocketed, leading to a partition of Ireland’s counties in 1920. In 1919, the Irish Republican Army, unwilling to negotiate any further with Britain, waged guerilla warfare against the British for the next two years, in an attempt at Irish independence. Eventually, the sides would come to the splitting of Ireland and Northern Ireland as we have it today.

Shamrock Shuffle

by Penguin.

Woman’s History Month: Who is your month’s influential woman?

by nathare

By nathare

March 1978 marked the beginning of Women History Month in Santa Rosa, California. This event was arranged to raise public awareness of the contributions women have made to society. In 1980, National Women’s History Week was established during the week of March 8 by President Jimmy Carter. Since 1987, when Congress enacted a resolution designating March as Women’s History Month, the once-weekly celebration has been observed for the entire month. Still to this day we are celebrating Women History Month for the month of March every year.

“Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” Jimmy Carter

It’s important that we also increase awareness within USDF, as a US Military agency. Today, the USDF has primarily male-dominated roles for the higher ups despite the high number of female personnels. How can we encourage more women to seek higher leadership positions within USDF?
I decided to investigate this further by interviewing some of USDF’s foremost female leaders. The answers we are reaching is how leadership experiences have benefited them both in USDF and in real life, what motivated them to aim higher? How can other women maintain a continuously growth for their career? Are there parables and differences alongside the USDF and the equality of the rest of society? We are meeting Valorana a Major General with position “Under Secretary of Defense for Education”. .Smashley a General with position “Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Engagement” and Midgetbella a Major General with position as Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Valorana – .Smashley – midgetbella

  • Thank you for participating in this interview for Women History Month! Tell me a little bit about yourself!
  • Midgetbella – I’m Beth the CMC within USDF. I really find joy in helping people which is at the core of what I do within USDF. Outside of that I also have a huge love for graphic design which is what I am studying at university.
  • Valorana – Hello! My name’s Ana and I live in the Philippines with the EST +13 timezone. I have been in USDF for two years now. I worked my way up from OJFD until I became a member of senior command. In real life, I work full time in an international tech company and part time in a university. I’m always passionate about travelling and making videos out of it, as I love exploring and seeing new places with my family and friends.
  • .Smashley – My name is Ashley! I am the current USD P&E, and I have been in USDF since 2016 (with a 2.5 year break in the middle for school!). I have held multiple positions in JSD, OSD, and NSC over my career. Personally, I work in healthcare and spend time am considering going back to school (again?!) to receive certification in education to become a clinical instructor within hospitals. My favorite color is pink (duh!) and I have a mild caffeine addiction. I also love knock knock jokes!
  • What motivated you to step up and become a leader in USDF?
  • Midgetbella – I was motivated to become a leader because I had a deep desire to create positive change here. While you can influence change at any rank, being in Senior Command is a unique opportunity to get involved and make those final decisions that have a huge impact on the military.
  • Valorana – I am motivated to step up as a leader because of the people who mentored, supported, and believed in me. I initially joined USDF just to have fun and meet new people – I didn’t expect to come this far in my career here, but I wouldn’t have done this without those people who helped bring out the best in me. Leadership comes out naturally when you have a mindset that strives to pay forward, give back, and help people see and realize their full potential.
  • .Smashley – I never fully planned to move up and move forward the way I have. My leadership career started as CMDT OCS and then DOT&E, and my goal was just to make USDF a better place and our future leaders and officer’s better leaders. I have forever lived by the belief that I’m not just leading, I’m mentoring my replacements, and I’m a friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone to vent to, and their biggest advocate. My goal has always been to leave USDF and the personnel under me in a better place than when I joined, and that is the belief I carry almost 7 years later.
  • What has been the most significant barrier in your career? And how did you overcome it?
  • Midgetbella – My most significant barrier always has been and probably still currently is self-confidence. While this is a much less prominent problem now, it is still something I’m not afraid to admit that I haven’t fully overcome. I still doubt my own abilities a lot, but I’ve begun to overcome this by not letting it get the better of me and just taking risks even if I am afraid. After all, mistakes and ‘failures’ aren’t final, and we can always try again.
  • Valorana – The significant barrier for me is my schedule. I used to manage everything easily back then when I was working from home, but now that I am back reporting in the office, my availability to be online has reduced. However, in order for me to work this out, I always communicate with my team on how my schedule is on a regular basis so we can set expectations.
  • .Smashley – There are two major barriers I have faced in USDF. The first came when I joined. I transferred in as an OFF/SEL from another military where I had been in leadership for almost two years. I entered a system I was unfamiliar with and was watched closely by everyone around me to the point where I felt a need to overperform and overextend myself to prove my worth. The second barrier came shortly before going R2 and leaving USDF in 2020. Confidence in my decisions as a leader and the direction I was taken hit rock bottom. It wasn’t obvious to many, but I struggled daily with simple things such as giving direction, logging in to client, or even giving feedback. Both of these barriers were solved in the same way – I focused on myself. I took a deep breath. I looked at what was best for both myself and for USDF. I worked on my mental health and my happiness and became as mindful as I could be about my situation. And in the end, I used that mindfulness to make decisions that were right for me.
  • What benefits have you received from your leadership experiences?
  • Midgetbella – Leadership has broadened my skill sets in many aspects from communication, being interpersonal, innovative thinking, problem solving, time management and many more which are all skills which formulate into being a good leader. As well as this, being in leadership allows me to talk to a range of people and overtime I’ve become much more understanding and do believe has made me an even kinder person which is always something I thrive to be better in.
  • Valorana – I cannot give what I don’t have. Because of my leadership experience, I gained the confidence to take charge and imparting to my subordinates what I learned from my former and current superiors. I’m able to believe in myself because others have done so too, so this time my goal is to pay forward by doing the same to others, raising leaders better than me.
  • .Smashley – We always joke that Habbo > Real Life, and it clearly isn’t but I have learned so much from being a leader within USDF that I have shown leadership qualities outside of USDF. I have benefitted in many ways. I have learned how to talk to people and how to be aware that people’s viewpoints and opinions may be different from mine. I have learned to look at both the tiny details and big picture of all situations. All of this has helped me excel in my personal and professional life and has taught me how to be more patient and understanding as I grow. Also, I really enjoy not having to wear a uniform in HQ. Civ life 4 ever. xD
  • Why aren’t there more female leaders?
  • Midgetbella – This is quite a tough question, in the context of USDF I do believe it’s always been reasonably balanced, and people are given equal opportunities. However, in the real world, there is still a large problem surrounding discrimination against women. We have come a very long way since years ago, but we still have a way to go in ensuring women are looked at the same way as men are in a general sense.
  • Valorana – I think in this generation, more women are stepping up in leadership. It was the culture that made people think that women can’t be like men in terms of leadership, but it has changed then. More and more women are now confident in taking the lead as this generation pushes for equality and women empowerment.
  • .Smashley – USDF actually has TONS of female leaders. Cece and Kim are so inspiring within USDF. I look up to both of them and aspire to be just like them. It’s refreshing to see such a strong leadership. Compared to the leadership that was around when I was here previously, this leadership is much more engaging. Same with Beth and Ana – we may be the same level rank-wise, but they are such great role models both for me and for USDF as a whole. In reality, female leaders are few and far between, but this is changing (slowly). Often we get told that we cannot do certain things, but this is untrue. It’s up to us to break barriers, move forward, and continue being examples for future generations.

By analyzing all the responses, we can notice many parallels regarding how beneficial it has been for our female leaders in USDF to pursue leadership roles both in their personal lives and in their careers. We can also identify a common barrier between conquering mental health disorders and low self-esteem. This is a typical obstacle that many women face in their daily lives as they balance tasks like caring for their home, making ends meet, possibly raising a family, and pursuing a career.
All of our three personnels can agree that USDF has a lead in being more “gender mixed” in leadership positions compared to the outside world. Our generation is changing the old ways in our community and it’s clear to see that if we look at USDF. Improvements can always be done and it’s our job together to maintain an equal redistribution.

Short Story

by Promptis

By .:Illustrate:.

Mark likes to take pride in the belief that he thinks with his brain and not with his heart.

After all, the brain is placed above the heart for a reason—being the superior of the two organs.

Brain above the heart—Mark’s feelings and emotions would never ever cloud his judgment.

Mark is rational, no-nonsense, standing by principles and values and facts and by what he knows and by what he believes in. Passionate in what he does. Ambitious and driven. Not impulsive, never impulsive.

Mark is not one known to be reckless. Not one to be careless. Careful—that’s what Mark is.

Careful is what Mark is—always the one to have medicine stored in his bag, always the one careful enough to pay his taxes and credit cards on time, always the one with the perfectly ironed suit and the perfectly styled hair.

Careful—so careful—he brings an umbrella with him on that fateful day years ago.

The rain has just started pouring, drenching everything in its wake and turning the quiet city into complete silence with everyone holed up indoors to keep warm.

Not a single soul can be seen out in the streets.

Empty and desolate, a kind of peace that’s so unnatural it’s almost sad.

Summer showers, that’s what they call them during these months.

Cold, damp, and gray—like everything is still and suspended in time.

Everything is still and suspended in time and Mark couldn’t help but hear the small sob interrupting his hand from pushing the door open to the coffee shop he frequents for a dose of something warm.

Sad, watery eyes meet his surprised ones from a man sitting on the bench just right next to the door, completely soaked from head to toe, shivering from the cold and from something else entirely and Mark’s world seems to stop—everything is still and suspended in time.

Heartbreakingly beautiful.

Everything is still and suspended in time and Mark’s brain tells him to go and push open that door and not get tangled in a mess he knows he won’t ever untangle himself from—but his heart, his traitorous heart, is pounding loudly in his chest and in the next minute, Mark is standing over the heartbreakingly beautiful crying mess with his umbrella above his head.

Cold, it was cold, and Mark subtly shivers from the rain as it trickles down his perfectly ironed suit and perfectly styled hair—seeping into his skin from the absence of the cover of his umbrella.

Brain above the heart—Mark takes a seat next to the man.

An umbrella closing, discarded to the sides.

Mark finds no use for it anymore, both him and the stranger are completely soaked now.

Brain above the heart—Mark notices the time ticking.

He’s gonna be late for work now.

For the first time in his life, Mark is going to be late.

For the first time in his life, Mark didn’t care.

Brain above the heart—Mark looks at the man who looks right back at him with his tear-streaked face and opens his mouth.

Sam, his name.

Aching, his heart.

That day, his birthday.

Enthralled, enticed, enamored by this stranger—Mark.

Brain above the heart—Mark listens to Sam talk and pour his heart out to a stranger.

Sam speaks and speaks and speaks some more and Mark has never started knowing a person this way—raw and unbridled, broken and crestfallen, beautiful and miserable.

Ah, Mark thinks.

This is what they write about, what those movies are for, what the songs they sing meant, what myths are made of.

Brain above the heart—Mark thinks there is no love at first sights, only empty minds and stolen hearts.

“I’m sorry, I think I ruined your day and your suit by forcing you to listen to me”, Sam’s voice says, laughing without humor.

Sam sighs, looking undeniably sad and Mark wonders how can someone break his heart like this.

“I hope you will get to meet someone happier, someone more pleasant and they will not have broken hearts on birthdays or a tendency to cry outside in the rain”, Sam continues, eyes staring up at the sky.

Sam is staring up at the sky that’s just as sad as him—pouring wet tears, just like him.

“You will meet them and you will be glad you did instead of meeting someone like me who will just go back to being sad and spending weekends with boys—assholes—who will never even bother to remember my name and get my heartbroken again like it’s a cycle”, Sam finishes, closing his eyes, letting the rain wash away his tears.

No, Mark thinks. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I will meet anyone like you.

Brain above the heart—Mark stands and offers Sam his hand, who ponders about it all of one second and accepts it the next.

The bells of the coffee shop ring as they both find their way inside with Mark’s hand still linked with Sam’s.

Soaked and dripping wet, all eyes are on them as Mark points towards a cake displayed on the counter, waiting for Sam’s approval of it, and pays the confused girl manning it.

Brain above the heart—Mark finds himself saying my apartment is just around the corner with a box of cake on one hand and Sam’s hand on the other.

A gentle squeeze on his hand and Mark slowly drags Sam with him past the lingering stares, past the door, past the empty streets, past the pouring rain and into the comfort of his home.

The door was closed.

A warm towel was offered.

A candle was lit.

A song was sung.

A wish was made as a pair of cold, shivering lips blew the fire away.

And Mark was never the same.

Days of opening the door to Sam’s face and closing the door to his retreating back.

Saving the Planet: Earth Hour 2023

by TrixDoesMedia

By Aqualuvsyou

Earth Hour is an annual event on the last Saturday of March. It is a global initiative that encourages people to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time, to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainability. This year, Earth Hour 2023 falls on March 25th, and it is more important than ever before.

Climate change is a real and pressing threat to our planet. The effects of global warming can be seen all around us, from the melting of polar ice caps to the increase in extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires. The need to take action to mitigate climate change has never been more urgent.

Earth Hour is an opportunity for individuals, communities, and organisations to come together and take a small but significant step towards reducing our carbon footprint. Turning off our lights for just one hour can make a tangible difference in reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Many countries and cities worldwide have wholeheartedly embraced Earth Hour, showcasing the power of unity in addressing climate change. Iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera house, and the Empire State Building, participate in this event by going dark for an hour. The collective effort of millions of people switching off their lights servers as a potent reminder that, when united, we can make a significant difference in our world’s sustainability efforts.

But Earth Hour is more than just turning off the lights for a brief period. It also servers as a powerful platform for raising awareness and promoting sustainable practices that can have a long-lasting impact on the environment. This can include reducing single-use plastics, conserving water, and choosing renewable energy sources.

In 2023, Earth Hour takes on even greater significance as we strive to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of sustainability and resilience, and Earth Hour provides an opportunity to continue this momentum towards a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, Earth Hour 2023 is a call to action for all of us to come together to protect our planet. By participating in this global initiative, we can show our commitment to sustainability and make a difference in the fight against climate change. Let us use this opportunity to reflect on our environmental impact and take steps towards a more sustainable future. Together, we can save the planet.

Top 10 ideas for your April Fools Day

by Maxite

By -Eils

The best unofficial holiday is upon us once again; where we celebrate wit and cleverness, and enjoy seeing how our friends and colleagues respond to the unexpected. If you’re feeling a bit lost on what you can do on April Fools Day, here is just a small example of the things you can do to celebrate.

  • Volunteer for a local cause or charity

The best prank one can pull isn’t a prank on another person, but to prank misfortune itself. There are many causes you can find to help raise your fellow citizens up, like giving meals to the needy, listening and chatting with seniors at retirement homes, taking care of animals at a local animal shelter, and more. Just look up what volunteer options exist in your area, and do some good even if it is just for one day.

  • Make a cheesecake

Cheesecake is delicious, and with this recipe you will be the absolute delight of the party. You will need three ingredients: Sliced cheese (preferably American singles, but any sliced cheese will do), mayonnaise, and whipped topping.

Arrange the sliced cheese into a 3×3 grid, applying a thin layer of mayo on each layer to help hold them together. Once the cake is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) tall, cover the entire cake in whipped topping. You may choose to apply whatever fresh fruit you desire.

This cake is certain to displease anyone. Great for pranking a friend or roommate, but it is not advised to bring this to work.

  • Stick Googly Eyes on things

Googly Eyes are just funny, and come in a variety of sizes. Just stick them wherever you feel will be the most hilarious, such as on signs, appliances, and pictures. Be mindful of what you are sticking them on, so as to not cause damage to the surface. Best to stick them to sturdy materials, and not anything fragile like paper or paintings.

  • Tag @USDFHabbo on twitter memes

Social media engagement is all the rage these days, so why not help out your favorite Habbo military roleplay by tagging it in every meme you like that day? Help support content creators, and boost the signal of the USDF in one fell swoop. Plus, what social media manager doesn’t like looking at a feed full of memes and art?

Simple reminder to create a Habbo twitter account, and not to use your personal twitter account. Your online safety is important.

  • Officers, host a seminar called FEAT {C}

Officers are allowed to host educational seminars. They also get to name their seminar. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if an officer named their seminar as ‘FEAT {C}’? It’s time that officers take the plunge and create this missing FEAT by utilizing the tools set out before them.

  • Take #spamlarking to the top

Spamlarking in the USDF Discord server is accessible to pretty much everyone on the server, but despite that it isn’t one of the top chats. For one day, we can take spamlarking to be the #1 channel on the Discord by all chatting in there. It will be absolutely chaotic, but we can engage with our peers from other branches and our VIP friends all at the same time for a great cause.

  • Hold a vigil in R&R, but don’t explain who or what the vigil is for

Get some friends and come on down to HQ, and then spend some time in R&R holding a vigil for… something. What it’s about isn’t important, what is important is that everyone who isn’t participating simply has more questions about what is going on than ever get answered. In your heart, you could be mourning the loss of your favorite Habbo pet, an old veteran friend who left the military a while back, or the fact that you don’t have leftovers from last night’s dinner to make lunch with.

  • Use an artificial intelligence to write an EOI for the fictitious position of “Military Electronic Media Engineering Specialist,” and share it in #deptgag

What is a Military Electronic Media Engineering Specialist? Why, that’d be someone who makes MEMES. And what better way to show off how good you are at engineering memes than by making an entire EOI using artificial intelligence. Depending on which platform you use to generate it, you could have something pretty sophisticated and professional sounding, or have something that is wacky and random. So dare to get creative, and show the USDF why you’d be the best MEMES there ever was.

  • If you’re an artist, share your art.

There are a lot of talented artists in the USDF community. Some of them do visible work making graphics for meetings, newsletters, and more. Others however are more in the background. April Fools is a great holiday with which to celebrate artists, with it being a holiday dedicated to many of the same whims and muses that creatives would be familiar with. So dare to share your creations with the community; be it old pieces or something new you are working on.

  • Delay the Libertarian for a second year in a row

Finally, if you are someone who wants a challenge: Delay the publishing of the Libertarian until after April 1st. We made it happen last year, and with the community’s dedication and support we can do it again. All that needs to happen is everyone needs to join OPA, ask to join the Libertarian, and make the issue so incredibly large that it requires extra time to edit and get posted on the USDF website.

Talking Mental Health

by …Andrew…

By Penguin.

Maintaining a positive mental health is vital. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you do. One’s mental stability is what keeps one going.

Devastatingly, the number of those diagnosed with a mental condition continues to rise daily. There are a wide variety of conditions. However, the most common conditions are Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, or Autism (I’d like to note that some medical professionals may see ADHD as a form of a neurodivergent condition or a mental illness in its own right.)

Speaking freely from the heart, and knowing that 500+ people may be reading this, I’d like to share some of my own experiences.

I suffer from Depression, Anxiety and ADHD. I was officially diagnosed with the former two a year ago, and I’m still on a waiting list to see an ADHD specialist.

Why is it important that I mention my own experiences? In my eyes, you cannot tell what happens behind closed doors until you open them. A bright, smiling happy face may secretly be one filled with tears when they’re in bed. Or a sad, frowning face may be ecstatic when they arrive home and see their dog. The fact is – no one knows. Not until you tell people.

At USDF, one of the most valuable resources we have that beats the other militaries and agencies on the Habbo platform is the ROP (or Reach Out Program). If you don’t know what it is, let me explain to you.

On the forums, head to “Official Programs” and then “[USDF] Reach Out Program”. This is the perfect way to vent, let your mind go at ease, and talk about your problems to anyone in a JSD+ position. The best thing, however, is you can specify what level of position, or portfolio you want to talk to so you can iron out any problems. For example, if you want to talk to someone from the Intelligence portfolio, but don’t want to talk to the DIRSA, you can specify and someone else will reach out to you.

The Reach Out Program form will reiterate, but the ROP form is not a substitute for contacting mental health professionals, used to bypass the Chain of Command, or filing an ARF. Reach out to your Chain of Command first before going to the ROP form, unless you have an issue that isn’t Office/Branch related. Please also note that all JSD+ will be notified once your form has been submitted, meaning there will be no delay.

Special Thanks to