Intro to the new project. It’s a working draft.

Three weeks. Three weeks changed everyone’s lives.

There’s no way I could ever explain what happened without the help of the men involved. The time between late July and August 2006 would impact all of us. Being recalled to war after returning home was…was…I don’t quite know. Some fled, others were “grounded” for medical reasons, most of us returned when the time came.

When it was all said and done, we were different. There were those who came home in silver military caskets strapped to the floor of cargo planes.

Those days were the wildest of my life. It was a blur of chaos, violence, sex and alcohol. Some of the memories are fuzzy. I recall some of the highlights. The good and bad. I’m not going to hide from my Each of us involved has a piece of the story locked away in the depths of our mind, waiting to be shared with the world.

This book is dedicated to the dead, wounded and broken soldiers of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team who spent 16 months of their young lives in a desert warzone.

Our Mission

The Veterans Art Foundation’s small and doesn’t have much in the way of space/money/equipment.  However, we have something just as good, reach.  While we may not have until we have sponsorship or a businessperson in charge (not me).  We can provide opportunities.

We’ll continue to open doors for Vets or act as a go between.  Please utilize the opportunities to further yourself and your art (if that’s what you’re trying to do).  It will benefit us by lending credibility and expose us to a greater audience.

By this I mean art shows, film festivals, poetry collections, gallery openings, music  promotion, dance and sculpture to name a few.

I can understand struggle and failure.  In the beginning I tried to publish a memoir with the funds helping the VAF.  I was rejected soundly and gave up.  It’s a bit different now.  With the VAF we can breach the wall.  There are days I doubt my own skills or ability to run the program.  There are plenty of more talented people out in the veterans world who can benefit with our help.  All it takes is an opening to make a mark on the world.


I am going to try a new tack and publish some of my memoir, which is a work in progress.  I’ll put up chapters here and there, in hopes of getting feedback.  I’ll start right now.

The memoir in question deals with my life from stepping foot in Alaska ’til now.  Army life, war, and readjustment are all covered.  The posts may not be in order.


Mike Hawley

Executive Director