The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

WELCOME TO THE SANDBOX |

April 30, 2014

Name: David Stanford, Duty Officer
Email: themanagement@doonesbury.com

Launched as a milblog (military blog) by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau in October 2006, for seven and a half years The Sandbox served as a forum for service members stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan (and a few other GWOT locations), and for veterans who had returned, their spouses and caregivers. Throughout its run The Sandbox was a combination of original writing sent directly to us and posts gathered from existing milblogs. Some contributors only wrote one piece, others contributed dozens through multiple deployments. Some continued to weigh in long after their return home, chronicling the transition back to civilian life, including in some cases dealing with their wounds and losses.

A major goal of this project was to help connect people on both sides of the gap described in this 2007 post:  THE CHASM.

The Sandbox contains over 800 posts by more than 150 contributors. It is a vast body of work -- the equivalent of three-and-a-half Lord of the Rings trilogies. You will be rewarded for roaming and exploring its depths.

DSC_0004

Some of the posts from the last few months were written by longtime contributors in response to our LAST CALL, and at the end of each of those are links to older posts by the same writers. These offer one way to begin exploring the site. You can also navigate around using the calendar links in the right margin. In future we hope to add the capability to search by author.

 

 

 * * *

Garry Trudeau announced the launch of The Sandbox with this Doonesbury strip:

Doonesbury Sandbox Sunday 10-8-06

 

A few months later, he followed up with another Sandbox strip:

 

Doonesbury Sandbox Sunday 1-7-07

 

In the fall of 2007, the publishing arm of Doonesbury's syndicate published this anthology of Sandbox writing, which contained posts from the first 42 contributors:

 

Framed SANDBOX COVER

 

BOOKS BY SANDBOX CONTRIBUTORS:

Welcome to Afghanistan: Send More Ammo; The Tragicomic Art of Making War as an Embedded Trainer in the Afghan National Army, by Benjamin Tupper

Kaboom! : Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, by Matt Gallagher

Fire and Forget: Short Stories, Edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher

Fire in the Night: Creative Essays from an Iraq War Vet, by Lee Kelley

When I Wished I Was Here: Dispatches from Fallujah, by Derek McGee

Here, Bullet, by Brian Turner

Northern Disclosure, by Toby James Nunn

 

(Please let me know if/when there are other titles to add to this list.)

 

 * * *

 

Lieutenant G gives it a shot. Hilarity ensues:

 

 

The Sandbox has been one of the most satisfying projects of my 35-year career as an editor. To all who contributed, thank you, for your service and your words. I am grateful for the friendships made here.

Onward!

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