Vets are vets. Period.

| November 25, 2012

My war, the first war against Saddam Hussein, was probably the easiest war to have taken part in, but mostly because we’d spent fifteen years training for it. I remarked at the time that it was exactly like a Table VIII run at Graffenwoer without the trees. We didn’t have to kick doors in or any of that stuff that the folks in the recent war had to do, well, except that COB6 and his platoon briefly did some door-kicking in Iraq a few days before the ground war portion began. But all we had to do was drive and shoot the occasional Iraqi BTR-50, BMP or T55 which popped up like targets on the range.

But I write all of that to segue into this NBC article sent to us by one of the folks at The Duffel Blog about the dick-measuring some veterans are doing comparing their service in combat to others. Personally, I think the article was written to divide us, but I think it’s off-base.

It is, quite likely, a tradition that hearkens back to the Civil War or possibly the Revolutionary War, according to some ex-service members. But many post-9/11 veterans who have chatted with older veterans revealed the sentiment they’ve often heard carry the same note: “We just came home, put our heads down and got to work — without any whining.”

Buried, not so subtly, in that message is that the current crop is a tad less tough and lot more needy. Some of that cultural gap may have to do with how aging veterans were taught not to talk about combat stress whereas today’s military members are constantly urged to open up about any symptoms of anxiety they’re feeling. It’s a battle of Macho circa 1945 or 1970 versus Macho 2012.

I recognize that veterans of previous wars had it tougher than I did. I got to call my son on his birthday, that was probably not something previous war vets would have had the chance to do. But then, this generation emailed home often, however, I recognize that was more a function of the technology than the nature of war. In any case, folks were trying to kill us. I huddled with my troops in our Bradley during an Iraqi artillery barrage for a night. It wasn’t like sitting through an NVA mortar attack, or a Taliban rocket attack for days, but I share the feeling and experience with those who have.

Many of the casualties of my war were friendly fire, but they are no less casualties than anyone else in any other war. My battalion had the highest casualty rate of any other infantry unit in that war, but that’s because both sides were shooting at us since we led the whole rest of the Army into Iraq and then Kuwait.

After my war, I sought solace with those who shared my experiences. first with those with whom I served, and later, when our unit was broken up, in the books of Civil War veterans. That’s when I learned that many of our experiences are shared across generations. Despite the nature of our wars, and although my war could be measured in hours rather than years, much of what I experienced was experienced a hundred years before.

I’m pretty sure that Civil War veterans poked fun at the Spanish-American War veterans for their brief skirmishes which won the war in Cuba. But war is war.

I made a trip to the Yorktown battlefield when I was at school at Fort Monroe once. It amazed me that the whole US Army was crammed into an area the today a single infantry platoon could defend today. Huge siege cannons were pointed at the British lines a mere 25 meters away. The horror of all of that must have been great. I stood on Redoubts 9 and 10 that American Rangers had seized at night on October 14, 1781, and even two hundred years later they still looked imposing without a single gun pointed at the opposing lines.

I know the Vietnam veterans had trouble joining the American legion and VFW during their war because of the dick-measuring that went on between generations of veterans. But we can all understand how inappropriate that was. In fact much credit can be given to Vietnam veterans for the way the current crop of veterans have been treated at home. Because they wanted to insure that what happened to them wouldn’t happen to this generation. Large numbers of Vietnam veterans reached across the generations to offer a hand up, so this article is way off base by looking at a few incidents instead of looking at the entire picture.

We’re all veterans, we all answered the call when so many other Americans never even considered it. We all share that moment.

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (97)

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Amen, amen, AMEN!

    Sometimes even now I get sick of hearing the, “You ain’t/weren’t a grunt, WTF do you know?” line. I offer to trade experiences with them. I have yet to find a taker.

  2. Biermann says:

    Thanks Jonn.

  3. HM2 FMF/SW USN Ret. says:

    Here Here, Jonn! We all made our individual contributions and we all share a common bond and common burden. Well said, brother.

  4. Fibroid says:

    I work with soldiers every day and as much as I hate to admit it, I kinda feel embarrassed admitting I was a Desert Storm vet. I know I shouldn’t but still I do.

  5. MPCOA says:

    BS article, I have had Marines from the Pacific, the Chosin Few, and Vietnam grunts all thank me for my service. Ask how we do it in the heat or wearing all the gear. There is no pissing contest except in the minds of the liberals at NBC.

  6. SJ says:

    I think you young guys have/had it much worse than I/we did in VN (and I was in the 82nd and 101st). Except for helo pilots, even lifers did one or 2 tours and that was it (in most cases). You folks have had back to back deployments for a decade. When you’re not deployed, you’re at NTC getting spun up for the next deployment. That’s tough and I salute you all.

    Also, your ROE is/was much more bizarre than ours was. I know someone will wave the BS flag because in his AO in VN, it was just as bad…I’m speaking generally just like most/many of us did not have to deal with urban issues. I do envy your access to EMail rather than MARS, but you earned it being deployed so much.

  7. Well said Jonn!

    And Welcome Home.

  8. PFDRbrendan says:

    I never really thought of it like that. I had met quite a few veterans before I joined the Army in ’07. They were docents at the museum I worked at. One, a ball-turret gunner named Wilbur would discuss his 30 some odd missions which, even though he flew and I have been doing the Infantry thing, I can relate to; 90% boredom and 10% fear.

  9. melle1228 says:

    I believe that each generation had its challenges. This generation more than anything have to watch their step in war, because the media is ever watching and waiting to crucify them.

    I also think the immediate access to family member via the internet and phone can also be detrimental. I am ashamed to say that I know many wives who forgot that their hubby was being shot at on a daily basis, and bitched to him about bills, kids etc.

  10. CI says:

    The changing paradigm of warfare for modern nations is a strange dichotomy. In Baghdad, we experienced moments of sheer terror, went off the FOB or COP daily to patrol neighborhoods where every resident wanted you dead, and where many worked toward that end.

    But at the end of the day, or a couple of days….it’s back in your rack with internet and the DFAC. I had no doubt that I had it made compared to a lot of the guys in AFG.

    Modern conveniences don’t mitigate the danger of combat…but the toughest of door kickers can still be humbled when compared to the guy who spent three months living in various holes on Guadalcanal.

  11. BCousins says:

    Very well done Jonn. I called my son on his birthday from Viet Nam during my second tour and my WWII uncle laughed about it, in a friendly way. I also went home from Desert Storm just in time to make my son’s 5th jump with him at Benning. Now he just returned from Afghasnistan and his 5th deployment. We all served when we could serve and none of it was easy. The liberals wouldn’t know about it because they haven’t served. Oh, except for John Kerry, ha!

  12. Hondo says:

    There are some jerks from every war that seem to think their service was the “roughest ever”. For an example, see Wittgenfeld, Dallas. But, thankfully, they are a tiny minority.

    Jonn is right. Vets of all conflicts have a shared bond. The threats and conditions were different for different conflicts – but that’s not the point. The point is that, whatever the threat, you served anyway and did your duty when called.

    Anyone who’s actually disrespectful of another vet’s combat service (vice good-natured ribbing) because “I had it tougher” is only showing themselves to be an abject fool. For an example, see Wittgenfeld, Dallas.

  13. RunPatRun says:

    Great post, Jonn.

    The article is a fluff piece based on sound bites the author found to support his point of view. I could just as easily offer an experience at a recent VFW meeting where a new member who referred to himself as ‘only receiving the Korea Defense Service medal’ was warmly welcomed and respectfully corrected as to discounting his own service.

    I think there are generational differences, but not unlike good natured ribbing between different services, or smack talk by grunts, tankers, and cannon cockers who struggle to attain the same sharp wit as Air Defense (but fail miserably). 🙂

  14. john Miska says:

    If you took the “Oath’ honored it did what you were told went where you were told did what you were trained to do….. then thanks
    and Welcome Home

  15. Make_Mine_Moxie says:

    I met an old vet standing next to a B-17 in Hill AFB’s aircraft museum; his name is Corbin Willis and he served as a crew member in WWII and Korea. He volunteers at the museum to give brief tours of the plane, and will relate his experiences in the war to anyone who wants to listen. He talked to my wife and I for about a half-hour, relating being shot down over Germany, bailing out right before the bomber broke up, being a POW for close to a year, only being able to eat rice and water when the camp was liberated, and coming home to find that everyone thought he was dead; his mother had held a funeral service for him in his home town, and his wife had remarried. He sorta winked and smiled and said “I served in Korea, too, but that’s another story.”
    I shook his hand and thanked him for serving and taking the time to tell us about his experiences, but I was dumbfounded when he thanked me for my service. Truly a great American.

  16. melle1228 says:

    Does anyone get a conspiracy vib from some of these articles? I mean MSNBC is firmly liberals and liberals get power by dividing groups. Doesn’t this article seem like they are trying to create division with veterans and each other.

  17. Craig M. says:

    I catch some good natured ribbing from my Older ‘Nam vet buddies (I was a 43 year old medic in OIF 08/09), mostly because of the cell phone and internet access along with Burger Kings on some of the FOB’s. I usually counter with “Oh yeah well you guys had weekend passes to Saigon to have hookers, Carling Black Label and weed. Wanna trade?” That usually ends it right there.

  18. Jumpmaster says:

    Well said, Jonn. I am a retired Army NCO and Persian Gulf vet and I agree, our war was not a bruiser. Still, when we were preparing to engage one of the world’s largest standing armies, full of combat veterans from their Iran conflict, it looked grim. I remember placing my Last Will and Testament, Life insurance info and Power of Attorney in my wife’s hand, wondering if I was going to return upright or in a bag. I remember stepping around dead Iraqis and thinking, that could have been me. I congratulate and salute all of our veterans.

  19. NHSparky says:

    @12 Hondo-Anyone who’s actually disrespectful of another vet’s combat service (vice good-natured ribbing) because “I had it tougher” is only showing themselves to be an abject fool.

    Well said. Even the so-called “peacetime” service was tough by almost any measure. Training accidents, deployments, living conditions, etc., and never knowing if tomorrow would be the day someone would decide to start a shooting war.

    I don’t care if you saw combat (any definition of it) or in what branch one served. If it was honorable service, that’s good enough for me.

  20. BohicaTwentyTwo says:

    And who better than Reickoff to help MSNBC perpetuate the ‘Veterans as victims’ mentality.

  21. 68W58 says:

    NHSparky-” Even the so-called “peacetime” service was tough by almost any measure. Training accidents, deployments, living conditions, etc.”

    I remember seeing military death statistics from the early to mid 1980s where there were something like 2,000+ military deaths per year and almost nobody knows about it. That was when we were fielding a lot of new systems so that probably contributed to the dangers. VFW magazine did a story some time back about Cold War casualties leaving out the shooting war statistics and iirc there were over 20,000 deaths over a 40 year span. Risk management and an emphasis on safety have helped a lot with this, but the brutal truth is that military service carries with it certain dangers regardless of combat.

  22. George says:

    That article is such nonsense. I agree with melle1228 that this assclown is either trying to create a divide or just needed to write some kind of story. Not once. I repeat Not Once has an older vet ever tried to trivialize my service. In fact I’ve received phone numbers from vets spanning from WWII to present with the words “Don’t hold that shit in. It’ll eat you from the inside.”

    That whole put your head down, push through, and don’t talk about it is the reason why my grandfather and great uncle went from the friendliest boys in the neighborhood before they went to Germany to hard drinking,surly, verbally and physically abusive assholes that they were. Hate to talk that way about dead relatives but that’s the truth. The grandfather in that story sounds like my great uncle. Just ate up with PTSD and so angry he can’t even empathize with a family member vet. Sad really.

    I’ll say this, asides friendly rivalry, if I ever see another vet try to trivialize another vets service I’m going to climb so far up that ass they’re going to need an ear, nose, and throat specialist to get me out.

    That’s the facts Jack.

  23. FatCircles says:

    As a Marine infantry vet (2001-2005) my experience was vastly different than the majority who apparently went to “war”. I can’t relate to most veterans precisely because of that. I don’t go around trying to discredit their experiences but there is a widening gap between people fighting wars and those not in our military.

    First thing out of my mouth when I meet a veteran is asking them what their MOS was. There are is a very large percentage of the U.S. military today that isn’t very military and if they get upset with those factual observations to hell with them.

  24. Poetrooper says:

    Just as we can’t trust the media today, we couldn’t during the Vietnam War either. It was due largely to mainstream, liberal media sensationalizing and gross exaggeration that far too many of the WWII vets looked on us as a bunch of whiny, dope-smoking baby killers. Like many Vietnam vets, I was on the receiving end of some of that misplaced contempt from a generation of veterans whom I had always revered. For that reason I avoided the American Legion and the VFW for many years. That bitter lesson also taught me the need for all veterans to be supportive of future generations of young warriors.

    Some food for thought: in researching my father-in-law’s WWII service with the 65th Infantry Division prior to taking him to Washington to see his newly constructed WWII Memorial, I was surprised to learn that his total tour in that war was less than a year, which was not atypical for troops serving in the European Theater. Remember, American ground troops entered Europe on June 6th, 1944 and thereafter; and the fall of Berlin came less than a year later. Many of them spent less time in Europe than a single Vietnam tour.

    As CI mentioned above, many of the ground troops in the Pacific spent far more time in combat, from the summer of 1942 until the summer of 1945. That was also true of our air and naval forces in both theaters of war who were engaged with the enemy longer than our ground forces.

    Jonn is absolutely right that we are all veterans and should accord each other respect, although I confess to gagging at that prospect as regards a self-serving snake like John Kerry.

  25. OWB says:

    Guys like sKerry and Murffa remove themselves from the brotherhood of vets by acting outrageously, usually more than once. While most vets are more than due our collective respect just for showing up, getting the training to fight and standing by even if they are not needed on the front lines of combat, there will always be a few who dishonor themselves and all of us by their actions. But until they do something which crosses that line, I will continue to respect every vet from every conflict and the times in between no matter their involvement.

    All give some and some give all.

  26. Common Sense says:

    Thanks for the post. My dad joined the Army in 1960, before he could be drafted, and served 4 years in Japan. Although he never saw any action, he was still away from home, training every day, living is less than luxurious accommodations (the poorest in today’s US live better than we did). I was born during a typhoon and Mom has several stories about earthquakes. Hokkaido wasn’t some tropical paradise either, it was cold, snowy, and muddy.

    Dad has never considered himself a vet until recently. Just a couple of weeks ago, the American Legion contacted him and asked him to join. I don’t think he cares much about the recognition, but they do have benefits that my parents can use.

    It’s like you said about the posers who actually have military service but claim much more. ALL service is honorable, even if you couldn’t be the SOF hero on the front lines. My kids are experiencing that themselves, since they’re Air National Guard. The full-time guys look down on them constantly, but Guard deploys just like everyone else and for far more than the 2 week summer training.

    I thank all of you for giving of yourselves to protect the rest of us.

  27. AJ says:

    Is the writer of this article a Veteran? If not, maybe he should not write about things he knows nothing about.

  28. Hondo says:

    AJ: it’s unclear if Bill Briggs is a vet. His LinkedIn profile doesn’t mention military service. However, there is a 3 year gap between his finishing college in 1985 and beginning work as a writer for the Denver Post in 1988. He could have served then.

    I’m guessing the answer is no, but it’s possible he did serve. However, if he did serve he’s obviously not proud enough of his service to make the fact that he’s a vet public.

  29. DaveO says:

    Vets are NOT the same as other vets. It is how the vet carries him or herself with dignity, respect for others who’ve earned it, and common courtesy are attributes we’ve come to expect from vets. But don’t dismiss the differences that meant the world to us just to kick a newsie in the balls.

    Because vets are NOT the same as other vets. There are combat vets. There are those who’ve earned Purple Hearts, and others who’ve been recognized with the Medal of Honor. There are non-combat vets with their EIB and MSM with oak-leaf clusters. I don’t wear the MOH, PH, EIB, or master-blaster wings.

    One of the CSM I served with in Afghanistan (see how I separated myself from Jonn and others?) had a Screaming Eagle combat patch. I asked him where he got, assuming he was in Desert Storm, or maybe OIF. Nope – he responded with “A Shau Valley.”

    We are 5 uniformed services, and a USO. We are citizens, and legal immigrants and illegals hoping for a shortcut to citizenship. We’re paratroopers, legs, pilots and groundhogs. Some folks even tool about in ships that sink.

    I will continue to poke fun at the Infantry, those Queens of Battle. And pilots who have it rough developing arthritis in their necks with their ginormous pro-pay paychecks.

    Because vets are NOT the same as other vets. Honor the differences because they were necessary to the defence of our great Nation, just as we honor the commonality of service.

  30. OWB says:

    Well, DaveO, thanks so much for missing the entire point of Jonn’s article, assuming that I got it at all. And thank you so very much for contributing to the problem.

    It’s called maturity, DaveO. Get you some before you start telling the grown-ups around here how we are not the same. Gee, ya think??

    Just so ya know, my service was honorable with a few brief moments here and there of something almost like distinction. None of it was in combat, but my service in theater during Desert Storm et al was pretty important to those forward of me. As were the clowns processing paperwork CONUS so that we all got paid for what we did wherever we were. I knew a bunch of frustrated folks at Dover who were anxious to cross the pond but provided everything from bullets to US mail to everyone in theater. Were they the same? No one ever said that they were, but I would hate to have tried to live for over 6 months in the sand box without what they were sending us.

    But as a base line, every vet is important. Every vet is worthy of respect, until they prove otherwise. Do we especially honor those who went above and beyond? Of course. Why would you act as though any of us would do otherwise, DaveO?

    Tell you what, DaveO, the next time you deploy, how’s about you try carrying everything you will need for a year without resupply from those folks behind you who are not worthy to be called vets, huh? And do it for nothing because there also would not be any payroll clerks around. And you can forget about any air support from those pilots. How’s that work for you?

    Yeah, most of us already knew that we are not the same. Most of us do not require measuring devices to prove it. Doesn’t mean I don’t thank you for your service even as you are (apparently) looking down your nose at mine. I even respect your service, though that may be just a tiny bit tarnished because of your attitude.


  31. SJ says:

    @29DaveO: Thanks for making me feel old. I went into the AuShau in the early days and I can’t imagine hyauling my heavy drop butt around Afghan after all these years and pounds. That CSM is a stud.

  32. NHSparky says:

    There are is a very large percentage of the U.S. military today that isn’t very military and if they get upset with those factual observations to hell with them.

    Thanks for making the point I made in post 1.

    Seems to me we all took the same enlistment/commissioning oath. Is there one special for 11/18 series or 03XX MOS? Or is yours not as valid as, say, a 5326 NEC (that’s a SEAL, in case you weren’t aware.)

    Military is about SERVING, son. Doesn’t matter if you’re carrying beans or bullets, flying a B-1 or diving a bilge. But you keep thinking you’re better than everyone else you served with, son. Maybe someday even you might begin to believe it if you tell yourself that story enough.

  33. Jacobite says:

    “Seems to me we all took the same enlistment/commissioning oath.”

    Yes sir we did, but if I’m being totally honest there are a goodly number of people who mouth the words with no feeling for the soul of the work they are doing or are going to be expected to do.

    And yes, the military is about serving, but if all you do during your enlistment is serve yourself, with nothing but disdain in your heart for the spirit of the service you’re ultimately offering, it’s no kind of service anyone should tip a hat to regardless of how well you performed.

    And just so you understand, I do NOT think that my 20+ years, including my deployment, stacks up to the service of some of our brethren in uniform, I specifically DON’T think I’m better than everyone else when I agree with the statement;

    “There are is a very large percentage of the U.S. military today that isn’t very military and if they get upset with those factual observations to hell with them.”

    My biggest gripe with that statement is the grammar.

    I just chose to face some realities that you apparently aren’t prepared to face.

  34. WOTN says:

    Jonn makes a valid point, and DaveO adds to it. It was a Viet Nam Veteran that welcomed and mentored me into the VFW, where Squids, Zoomies, Jarheads, Grunts, Paratroopers, Tunnelrats, Rangers, Paperpushers, Recruiters, & a man who chased down deserters around the world, welcomed me, and proudly told me stories of their part of the pie. We are different in that aspect, as DaveO points out.

    We are the same as Jonn points out. We are Combat Veterans, or peacetime Veterans, or Veterans during periods of War. Our Experiences are different, but Veterans have experienced the realities of the World, in a way that cannot be understood by decades of reading books.

    And when we went to Desert Storm, we looked to the Viet Nam Veterans still in uniform, while when we went to Iraq and Afghanistan the young Troops looked to us, and when we go to Iran, or NoRK, or China, or whereever the next war is, they will look to the last remaining Veterans of the Current Conflicts.

    But Veterans of today and Veterans of WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, or Desert Storm need not tell or hear a single war story, to feel the brotherhood and camaraderie, and its benefits. Merely sitting at a table in the VFW, and watching Football, NASCAR, or Basketball, with Brothers, is a return home, to a Family that understands, without a word.

  35. MCPO at a Bar Via BB says:

    Jonn. Yes We are. Well said. Beer up!

  36. SJ says:

    There’s a Patton quote that I cannot now find that makes the point, in Patton style, how every single Service member plays a key role, regardless of MOS.

    DaveO: my entry re the CSM was one of awe.

  37. Zedechek says:

    My biggest problem when I got out was I was afraid of what other Vets from my generation and past generations would say about my service:

    “Oh, you served in a Wing support unit? in a paper pushing function? In Al Taqaddum? Way to be a pussy”

    I didn’t consider myself a Vet, and I didn’t think I deserved or earned any of the benefits. Especially not being thanked by civillians for my service. There are other’s out there that had it rougher and sacrificed more. I didn’t consider myself a Vet. I wasn’t ashamed of my service, I just didn’t think I measured up to other Vets…I was afraid.

    Them I went to school in Vermont and met some OIF/OEF Vets my age. They brought me to the VFW in downtown Burlington, hooked me up with the Veteran’s student organization at the college. Through the interaction with young and old Vets, I learned one thing: No one gave a shit what my MOS was or whether or not I saw combat or not. No one excluded another Vet from events or conversations or hangouts because they didn’t take fire or didn’t go outside the wire. Sure, there are some good natured “POG” jokes thrown in there, but it was never anything malicious or meant to let you know your place within the group (or outside the group). What mattered was that you served, put in your time, and served honorably. What matters is you are willing to give a hand, an ear, your time, to your fellow Vets. Those people did not let me forget that. And 99.9% of Vets I’ve met since then have been the same exact way.

    I work at a VA hospital right now. On a daily basis I deal with disabled Vets from all eras. One of the highlights of my week is to be able to hear stories from every generation of Veterans. Guys who served with Patton; stormed Normandy; were in Hue; Chosin; Okinawa; fucked around in Germany during the Cold War; got wet in Baghdad, Majah or Ramadi; or were just stationed stateside during peacetime. All the stories are special to me as they are to the Veteran. After almost every conversation when they find out I was in the Corps and pushed paper, they thank me for my service. “We all had a job to do…”

  38. The Dude says:

    I find it curious that Lilyea would write something like this especially when he spends alot of his time insulting other veterans and their service because he disagrees with them politically..

    I have heard Lilyea insult pogs and many other veterans more than anybody on this board except for maybe NHSparky who is just a Lilyea lacky.. But good job Lilyea you pointed out your hypocrisy better than any of us could.

  39. Matt says:

    I liked this article, it’s well put together and I concur with it. I got the privilege to serve as a ground-pounder in the Army from 02-06 with the 3ID. I remember when I was 1st in and had my 1st time on R&R and I came across this older guy in his 40’s who was bashing those of us who were over in Iraq fighting (in 2003). I don’t know if he was a vet or not but his comments were something like we were a bunch of babies who didn’t know what real war/combat service was like the V.N. vet’s did. I took exception to that and got in his face. I set him right in the end even though he didn’t like it. My point I suppose is that there are a select few out here from the past generations who served in Vietnam, Korea or the Gulf War who disparage the newer crop of OIF/OEF veteran’s since 2001. Frankly, even though I was a Infantryman and I think it’s the toughest job in the Army, I still don’t not respect another veteran regardless if they pushed paper or were an MP or whatever. I have met very few non-vet’s and vet’s who will talk down on us. I think the MSNBC article as others have stated was created to stir divisions amongst us which isn’t going to happen I hope. I do think that the veteran’s that have been serving overseas since 2001 have had the toughest time in the military in along time due to the repeated deployments, lengths of deployment, etc. Sometimes out of a joking spirit I make fun of the newer crop of guys who are serving overseas because the FOB’s have so many goodies on them vs. back when we were over there in 2003-2005. Plus when I was 1st in there wasn’t really much if any social networking. There wasn’t Facebook or Youtube or any of the stuff that guys/gals get to use today to talk to family while overseas. It doesn’t mean much I suppose except that technology has allowed vet’s to keep in touch with friends/family like no other time in our past wars. Thanks to all who have served and God bless them all.

  40. MCPO on The Dude ... says:

    @ The Dude … Your opinion is respected.

    However, if you don’t like the content of the site and the Vets who hang out here, then perhaps you may want to visit a more pleasant blog that appeals to your taste … try this one:

  41. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    All bullshit aside, an honorably discharged veteran IS a VETERAN! War time, peace time, we all served. Anything else said is pure bullshit. President Carter and President Reagan decided going to war in the late ’70s was not a good idea. Does that diminish my service? I was trained, which the Marine Corps is well know for, and ready to go if required. Does that make me less of a veteran? I used the GI Bill to get through college, a veteran’s benefit. I used the GI Bill to buy my house, a veteran’s benefit. I used a program through the VA to get my Masters, another veteran’s benefit. I’m not a veteran?

  42. DaveO says:

    OWB, if that’s really you, you missed a part.

    “…There are non-combat vets with their EIB and MSM with oak-leaf clusters. I don’t wear the MOH, PH, EIB, or master-blaster wings… Because vets are NOT the same as other vets. Honor the differences because they were necessary to the defence of our great Nation, just as we honor the commonality of service.”

    I even understood what Jonn was saying (tis the season of miracles). I just took exception to it. I would never think of going to Parris Island School for Wayward Lads and telling young marines fresh out of the Crucible that really, they are no different than Seamen Recruits at Great Mistakes.

    Given how much money the military spends on selling their differences, then why should we expect newsies, who are conditioned to seek out and promote differences know any better? It’s a tough question. It requires 2 neurons firing in sequence. Things we take for granted like Honor, service for service’s sake, oaths, and safety belts are lost on newsies and ordinary citizens.

    OWB, the services are different because they fulfill a specific role. We could be the same as Canadian Forces with a common Combat Service Support, Administration, and medical services. It even makes sense from a cost perspective.

    Now for an Army History Lesson: It was NORMAL to have had a career going from 1975 to 2005 without ANY combat service. Back then we called those folks “soldiers” and they were discriminated against as a matter of policy. They were given such things as the Expert Infantry Badge to further separate the non-combat soldiers.

    General Carl Vuono, as the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA), set the Order of Precedence for Army Commands as follows:

    1. Combat trumps non-combat, regardless of role or accomplishment in combat.

    2. Line units before HQ units (except as 2d commands – BDE and DIV HQ companies) before service units. So: Batteries A, B, C before HHB/HSB before Service Battery.

    3. Combat Arms before Combat Support before Combat Service Support. Napoleon once remarked, correctly as usual, that amateurs study tactics, but professionals study logistics.

    In the USAF, the Fighter Community is Boss. Not the crews of the Big Ugly Fellows, or the cargo planes.

    SecDef Rumsfeld, being a former Naval Aviator, favored Naval Aviators. A look at the FOGO ranks before and after Rummie shows a vast increase in the percentage of Naval Aviators wearing stars.

    Rummie also favored Special Forces, who by their training, aren’t necessarily the best at large, traditional formations. His call though. Leon Panetta may have changed that policy. That would require a functioning strategy and even a concern for the military, but Leon wasn’t hired to lead our military.

    So how is your ordinary marxist newsie supposed to know there is absolutely zero differences – ‘a vet is a vet’ – when as a matter of law and official policy, there are many differences, even discrimination?

    #36 SJ: the CSM is awesome. He’s retired now. He was one of a number of NCO and officers we had who served in Astan who were over the age of 50. Average age of the teams was 45.

  43. Thunderstixx says:

    Thank you for broaching this subject. It is highly pertinent in my experiences as a Veteran.
    I am a Vietnam Era Vet that went to Alaska and fought the cold war… And I lost it too. It is still cold up there…
    I was in right at the tail end of Vietnam and got all the bennie’s but didn’t have to go. I was in from 74-77 and served as a grunt for my entire enlistment. My last 9 months were as a Skiing and mountaineering instructor at Huckleberry Creek Mountain training camp in Mt. Rainier National Park just outside Greenwater WA.
    That was the worst time in the last century to be in the service. Everybody hated us and I got spit on in airports more than once. I was actually ashamed to be a Veteran for many years. I remember when they came down with the order that we had to wear civilian clothes during commercial travel because too many service people were getting verbally abused and beat up.
    As it stands today, I am proud to be a Veteran and know that it was the men and women that served in Desert Storm 1 that made it possible for many of us to stand proud to be Veteran’s.
    I respect all of us that served no matter what we did. We did our jobs, and I am proud to be a part of that brotherhood.
    It is important to hang together against all assaults against any and all Veteran’s or we will surely hang separately…

  44. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    @42 Dave O, there is NO difference between a Marine who graduates MCRD and a sailor who graduates Great Lakes. BOTH are serving ready to go fight for our country. Dave O, are you a Marine? Is it OK that I say you’re not a vet because you didn’t endure the13 weeks of hell called Marie RecruitTraining in the ’70s? Army, Navy , Air Force or Marines, if you served, you’re a vet. Anything else is stupid.

  45. Ex-PH2 says:

    Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: I didn’t pick up a gun and go hunting for Charlie in the tunnels; I didn’t spend time a An Loc or Quang Tri dodging bullets; I wasn’t offloading stuff from a Herc that took off from Bien Hoa on a run to Khe Sanh; I was in DC at the Naval Photographic Center printing still phots in the B&W print lab; working in the color lab; and cutting film in the CHINFO Liaison MOPIC office. I was up at Great Lakes cranking out 10 slide programs a week for the Service Schools Command. But that doesn’t make me a vet.

    That’s what you’re saying, huh, DaveO?

    I’ll remember that, so that the next time I see you I can tell you where you can stick it and for how long.

  46. NHSparky says:

    Dude…prima facie evidence of why you’ve always been, will always be a shitbag. Again, way to make my point.

  47. Hondo says:

    I do not see that DaveO and Jonn are making mutually exclusive arguments. Rather, they are making two different points entirely.

    Jonn’s point is that veterans are bound together by service to this nation. When, where, or how one served aren’t all that important; there are enough similarities throughout the years. Anyone who tries to pull the “we had it rougher in my day, so you’re not a REAL vet worthy of respect” is talking out of their 4th point of contact. And yes – I’m talking about you, Wittgenfeld.

    DaveO’s point is that the nature of each veteran’s service is different. Each service is trained differently; each experiences different threats; each serves differently. So even within the veteran’s community, there are differences. In the grand scheme of things, I personally put those differences in the “so what” category, but YMMV. DaveO appears to consider those differences much more significant than I do. And, unfortunately, so do tools who engage in cross-generational dong-comparison contests regarding who had the “tougher time”.

    Here’s my take. First: if you served honorably, that’s what counts. Given the inherently risky nature of military service, someone or something was trying to kill damn near everyone who served at one time or another – be it the sea, a sleep-deprived vehicle driver during a field training exercise, a cantankerous aircraft, the weather, an enemy shooting at you, or any one of a thousand other risks faced by those in uniform. You signed on the dotted line, pledging all. Where and when you served, or what you did, was generally not up to you; that was dependent on the needs of your service at the time.

    Second: while those who served personally in combat deserve respect, those who didn’t get shot at also deserve respect. Yes, being on the ground and personally engaging the enemy is the “tip of the spear”, and in the final analysis is what it’s all about. But you don’t fight well, or for very long, without logistical and/or other support. It takes people to provide that necessary support. And when you don’t get sufficient support – or when that support goes bad or gets things wrong – seriously bad things often happen.

  48. streetsweeper says:

    The only thing I ever grew tired of hearing, was the “Greatest generation” chatter of the local WWII vets when my oldest brother and his friends would return home on leave from RVN for whatever amount of precious leave time that lean, mean Mother Green granted them.

    As for me, I don’t care if you painted ship hulls, laid carpet in dayrooms, welded two pieces of flat metal together, mopped floors, hung pictures, cooked chow, applied “Hello Kitty” bandages, mowed the lawn at HQ, wrenched on cars, trucks, tanks or aircraft as long as it was honorable service.

  49. Down Range Joe says:

    I guess I am lucky
    My father and I are vets, Though of the same “Generation” of vets
    He is OIF
    Im OEF

    But in bad days in Afghanstain I always was able to say “Dad did it so can I”

    Then came my recent “Jumpyness” (Docs wanna call it PTSD but I dont feel ive earned that) he told me he does it too, and that it get easier to deal with
    so once again “Dad did it, So Can I”

    Now we talk, exchanging stories, and brought us together in a way that I think only veterans could do. And very soon Ill be back, working with him at the VFW.

    And I couldnt be happier

    Soon Ill be leading the next generation of vets into whatever needs done… it might be a war it might be peace but I glad im going to be able to impart wisdom on the next Generation.

  50. NHSparky says:

    Thank you very much Joe–says it all.

    What we as veterans, regardless of MOS/NEC, service, etc., can do is serve as a good example to those who follow. THAT is what makes us honorable. That is what makes our service “military” in all respects.