I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of anything like this DIY project.
Two veterans are traveling across the country helping other former service members find a therapeutic way to store or display their uniforms.
The Combat Paper Project was started by the two soldiers who were at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, at the same time (although they didn’t formally meet each other until much later).
They came together several states away several years later.
Click play below to hear that story and how the The Combat Paper Project works.
I showed up at the event in Tulsa and was horrified to see the lack of attendance.
Fortunately, Cassidy (who was an F-16 machine gunner) was willing to talk to me.
She brought the only uniform she had left to The Combat Paper Project.
Cassidy says, “We take the uniform and cut it into about one inch squares. And then they put it in a mixer and beat it into pulp and then we use basically a screen and get the water out and press it. They use their van to get the water out.”
The van actually runs over the uniforms!
Now that is proof of how a soldier can improvise.
The veteran talks about the process like a soldier, even though you know she’s been through hell.
This process will one day give Cassidy (who wouldn’t give me her first name) a creative outlet… when she’s ready.
“Eventually I’m sure I’ll write down some of my military story on it. And go from there because I think it’s about.. this gives me a chance to keep the uniform in a way that I can still honor the uniform and still write some stuff about what it was like to be there.”
I was excited about the idea of The Combat Paper Project.
However, when I shared the details with some veterans, and family members who lost a loved one overseas, they were horrified.
“I know some people had a hard time with it in terms of, that’s disrespectful to the uniform. But, they way they did it, because we’re all vets, it wasn’t disrespectful. It was very careful and thought out.”
I don’t have an opinion here. I’ve never been in their shoes and don’t even begin to pretend to understand.
My father, a Vietnam Veteran, threw his uniform away on the trip home.
“Changing something that we wore in a combat situation into something that isn’t quite as hard to look at,” Cassidy says is what she needs.
The workshop is open to veterans from all eras, families, friends and other members.
You don’t even need a uniform. Some veterans donate their uniforms.
Click here for more information on the project and a schedule on the FREE interactive workshop.