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Stacy Bare
Stacy Bare is a skier, climber, mountaineer, and sometimes surfer who served one tour of duty in Iraq as a Civil Affairs Team Leader after being recalled from the Individual Ready Reserve. He received his commission into the United States Army from the University of Mississippi and is currently Director of Sierra Club's Mission Outdoors program. Through direct programming, public education and advocacy, Mission Outdoors combats the growing divide between America and the outdoors by increasing opportunities for all to improve their overall well-being by exploring and enjoying the natural world.

Entries by Stacy Bare

Mission: Memorial Day, An Interview with Veteran Joshua Jespersen

(1) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 3:49 PM

This past March I had the opportunity to spend four days in the Beartooth Mountains with a group of fellow veterans and supporters examining the changing eco-system grizzly bears are trying to adapt to.


One of the veterans I met was Josh Jespersen,...

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Insulting Utah, the Public Lands Debate

(3) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 5:35 PM

On April 2nd, Utah legislators, Sen. David P. Hinkins and Rep. Keven J. Stratton -- co-chairs of the Commission for Stewardship of Public Lands -- Sen. Wayne Neiderhauser -- Senate President, and Rep. Greg Hughes -- Speaker of the House, wrote an ill informed, insulting, and demeaning OpEd in the...

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Joy & Sorrow On An Anniversary

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2016 | 3:29 PM

A few days ago was an anniversary that has taken me a long time to understand how to commemorate. Nine years ago a friend and compatriot, service member, dreamer, father, and husband was killed in Iraq. If you served, it is likely you knew someone, or several people, who were...

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Who Do Cities and Towns Exist for?

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 4:53 PM


Who do cities and towns exist for?

Is it the people who live there or those who come to visit?

Over the last few years this has been a central question in two very different locales for at least some of...

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Haunted by Hondros

(2) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 4:07 PM

I'm feeling particularly haunted by Chris Hondros tonight. Chris was an incredible photojournalist and I got to know him a bit, enough to call him a friend I think, when I was in Iraq. He knew I didn't want to be in that war. He knew I thought that war...

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Women in Combat

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 2:50 PM

Now that we've had three women graduate from Ranger School and are leading up to Veterans Day, I wanted to dig deeper into the issue of women in combat and the United States Military. I was privileged to be able to speak with Marine and former AH-1W 'Super...

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Running Across America for the Fallen

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 5:54 PM


From time to time you get to meet someone who you're surprised you've never heard of before. This last year I've had the pleasure of getting to know a retired US Postal Worker, veteran and likely one of the most impressive athletes you've...

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Responding to Internet Comments: "If Not Gun Control How About This?"

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 10:14 AM

Thursday night, October 1st, I got home from a long day at work to the horrifying news that there was another mass shooting in Oregon. I wanted to personally dig deeper into what I thought some of the potential solutions for what could minimize future violence in this country without...

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If Not Gun Control, How About This?

(1027) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 12:17 AM

A lot of gun owners will tell you that the solution to the number of mass shootings in this country is not any regulation of guns or gun ownership. The response has often been that if more people had guns there would be fewer casualties in a mass shooting because...

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What It's Like to Be a Woman in the Military

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 2:44 PM


A few days ago I had the opportunity to speak with Gayle Tzemach-Lemmon about her travels to Afghanistan and her latest book, Ashley's War, about the training and deployment of a group of women in the United States Army...

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Support Our Troops, Support Our Veterans

(4) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 12:08 PM

I've been home from the Iraq War for eight plus years.

The last six years I've spent a great deal of my personal and professional life trying to help America put meaningful action behind all the signs and stickers that say "support our troops". Without community action focused on...

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I Was Honest, So I Am Not Insured

(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 7:13 PM

At the age of 36 and looking at the balance sheets, it was clear I needed to do a few things to protect my long term financial future and that of my family. So, I called up my bank, a bank who only has as customers those who served and...

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A Late Review of The Evil Hours, A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by David J. Morris

(2) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 10:47 AM

David J. Morris' The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is excellently written and a must read for anyone interested in understanding what many have referred to as the 'signature wound' of my generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Miller creates a plot line around PTSD, almost as...

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Why Follow Russia's Folly?

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 7:38 AM

In a February 19th Special to Roll Call, Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.) penned a column about "Obama's War on Arctic Energy". Personally, I would like to thank President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for their decision to keep drilling out of the Arctic.

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On Hunting and Sacred Space

(1) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 9:39 AM

2015-02-17-IMG_20150214_175554_resized.jpg View from my tree stand

I went hog hunting last weekend. As a self-defined skier and climber, this is not my typical activity. Somewhere in adult hood, my brother and I, who grew up doing more or less the same kinds of...

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Anti-Clean Air Rally in Utah?

(17) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 9:09 AM


On Saturday at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, citizens rallied for the second year to challenge the government to do more to clean up the infamously dirty air -- not just in Salt Lake City, but all of...

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Health Care and the Outdoor Industry: Get together already

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 2:58 PM

I spent the last two days in Palm Springs, California at the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) as part of a group assembled by Spike TV and CHMI for Veterans Operation Wellness. Specifically, I was talking about the power of the outdoors to help heal -- not in some fluffy...

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Embracing Those Who Disagree -- Because They Embrace You

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 5:05 PM

2015 did not start off how any of us would have liked. No one or at least I hope no one that would read this blog would want to see anyone killed for speaking their mind, no matter what it was that was being said, even if they disagreed.


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Delisting the Grizzly Bear...or Not

(9) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 3:41 PM

Doug Peacock is considered by many veterans as the godfather of the modern movement to connect those who have been to war with the physical land they fought for when they come home. Outside, Doug argues, veterans can search for, "...a peril [experience] the equivalent of war but aimed in...

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TentEd in Iraq; Interviews and Winter Edition

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 8:38 AM

video made by Romina Penate

Earlier this year we told you about TentEd, an humanitarian project started by three Iraq War veterans delivering school supplies to Syrian Refugees in Kurdistan in partnership with EPIC, a non-profit working to support a peaceful Iraq. TentEd's co-founder, Zack Bazzi, recently produced a short video about the project and is now preparing a return trip to the region in December. Since the first TentEd visit to Kurdistan, a lot has changed in the region so I sat down with Zack recently to find out what he sees has been accomplished and what he thinks he can get done with another visit to the region.

Tell us about how much you were able to fundraise for your first trip this last summer and what you were able to accomplish? (Include metrics, numbers of backpacks delivered, schools helped, children served)

I landed in Erbil, Iraq on 7 June. Two days later, Mosul, Iraq's second city, fell to ISIS. Needless to say, it complicated the project. I assessed the situation with my teammates back in the U.S. and we decided that I would stick around and see the project through. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq where I was is pretty stable and secure, and it is defended by a wall of hardened Peshmerga warriors. I was pretty comfortable with that decision.

I ended up staying in the Kurdistan region for a little over a month. It turned out to be a pretty productive stint. In just a few weeks we:

1) Stocked the Afreen Elementary School (in Domiz Refugee Camp) Library with 300 Arabic books
2) Purchased teaching supplies, stationary and furniture for the Derek Secondary School (also in Camp Domiz).
3) Funded three months of bus transportation for children who could not afford it at Garanawa Elementary School in Erbil.
4) Provided school uniforms for 200 girls and boys and badly needed shoes for nearly 100 first and second graders.
5) Distributed 200 stationary kits.

I think that's pretty good impact for $17,000.


A lot of people would look at your work this last summer and I think be congratulatory for your efforts but with the headlines now discussing ISIS, why go back, are you afraid?

I'm going back because there continues to be a clear need for the sort of support that TentEd can provide. I also have many dear friends from all faiths and backgrounds in Kurdistan and so I'm going back to visit them. TentEd is not just a humanitarian project. It's also a personal initiative. Frankly, it's tough to figure out where the project part starts and the personal one begins.

The concern about danger is understandable, although, it is important for people to understand that the Kurdistan region in Iraq feels like a separate country all together. It has its own government, parliament and security forces. It's fairly secure and stable and I feel very safe traveling throughout that region. I ALWAYS present myself as a proud American veteran--never an issue. The people of Kurdistan love America. I think we should show them some love back.

Regarding risk, that's something I think about on a routine basis. One mantra that stuck with me from my Army days (also my favorite) is this: we don't avoid risk. We manage it. I think that's also a good way to live life. That's all the philosophy you'll get out of me!

You going back to Kurdistan, and you being in graduate school at Georgetown, brings up natural comparisons to Austin Tice, the Marine Combat Veteran who, while on summer break from law school went to cover events in Syria and has now been missing since 2012 ( Some have labeled his return as 'war nostalgia'. Does war nostalgia factor into your decision to go back to Iraq?


I've been out of the Army many many years now. I loved my time in uniform and if you ask me if I miss it sometimes, the answer is a definite yes. Most former soldiers will answer in the same way. I miss patrolling the mountains in Kosovo with 100 pounds of gear when I was deployed there with the 101st. And I miss the electric thrill of a firefight in Iraq and the extraordinary beauty of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan.

All that is normal and healthy. But I'm also very comfortable and content being a reintegrated citizen. When the uniform comes off, it's time to move forward. I certainly don't live in the past.


You don't take a salary for your work, so why not just send the funds raised here to do the same work and be administered by someone already in the region?

It's very important for me to maintain the trust with TentEd supporters and donors.
It frames every action and every decision. And crucial to maintaining that trust are two things: accountability and responsibly. As the person who oversees TentEd, I believe that it is my responsibility to personally implement the projects and ensure full accountability for each dollar invested. Our generous funders deserve nothing less.

Do you see any near term solution to the refugee crisis in Kurdistan? How long does TentEd need to continue?

Given the historic nature of what's happening throughout the broader Middle East, the demographic fracturing of Syria and Iraq and the intensity of the regional Shiite -Sunni rivalry, the refugee situation in Kurdistan is not likely to improve any time soon. Iraqi Kurdistan will continue grappling with wave after wave of refugees trying to escape the violence that's plaguing their communities. It's not a rosy predication, but that's the reality right now. This is why it's so vital now more than ever to support organizations that are trying to ease the situation.

To the second part of your question, I'm currently enrolled in an Emergency Management master's program at Georgetown University. The challenge is to balance school demands with the responsibilities of TentEd. So far, it's been a good balance. I plan to continue doing the occasional TentEd trip to (Iraqi) Kurdistan as long as I can maintain that balance.

What are your long-term goals professionally and with TentEd?

TentEd is a program within the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC). This provides the initiative a stable and very supportive home. For now it's one project at a time while I focus on grad school. After that, who knows!

What do you think the United States should be doing in the region to support a more stable Iraq and Syria?

That's a very complicated question. And if I had a good answer, chances are I would not be a student at the moment! What's really important is for those of us in a position to do something, whether through volunteer work or careful donations, to try and do what we can when we can.

As we close in on the American holiday season, why should people give to TentEd?

Because we're making direct impact on the ground in a place that urgently needs all the support possible. There is very little separating donated money from a school child who, to be frank, is not having the best winter.

I will be flying to Kurdistan in mid-December and I will spend my time there making sure that the $15,000 we raise is invested wisely and carefully. I can't think of a more appropriate and thrilling way to spend my holiday...

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