Posted on Jan 31, 2015
SPC It Technician/Consultant
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So I have dealt with my fair share of civilians asking me questions like if I went to Afghanistan or Iraq. I never deployed in my 3 years of service, but just over a week ago when someone asked me that and I said "No, I never deployed." He replied with, "How are you even a veteran then? You didn't even serve your country." I just stood there like a deer in headlights because I had no idea how to respond to that. The worst part was that I had this feeling that he was right, and it's been eating me up since.

The last thing I want to do is sound like some kind of princess who can't get up and brush himself off but my question is how do you deal with something like that, how do you respond and more importantly, how can I stop this feeling nagging at me?

Note: Image added by RP staff

Thanks in advance.
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Responses: 1242
COL Vincent Stoneking
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So, this may not be terribly politically correct, but....
1. Look deeply into the eyes of this civilian who never volunteered to serve.
2. Ponder deeply all the sacrifices that you were willing to make, which he/she was not.
3. Hold your last f%ck in your cupped palm, remembering that he/she has the ability to be all judge-y because you took your turn standing on the line.
4. Open your hand and let that last f%ck fly away into the sky.
5. Carry on.
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Capt Christian D. Orr
Capt Christian D. Orr
2 mo
Well-said, Colonel! ‘Eff ‘em!

FWIW, I myself never deployed in 7 years of active-duty service either. But to make up for lost time & adventure, I worked three contracts in Iraq; one apiece during OIF, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Inherent Resolve.
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MAJ Steve Warnerski
MAJ Steve Warnerski
3 d
COL; MUCH too polite. An alternative response, and much faster, would be a quick "Fu$k You." If feeling especially Shakespearian, expand it to "Fu$k yer mama, your sister, and last, Fu$k You." Or words to that effect... If they wanna be ignorant and rude, go to their level to get your feelings off of your chest.
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SPC(P) Herman Rinkel
SPC(P) Herman Rinkel
3 d
I really like seeing this responses from the upper echelon! WTG. I served, and I served proudly, knowing I was available to make the difference that never came. It wasn't in my cards, but I was there! And I took it very seriously and prepared as though... Definitely understand your sentiment, but you are no less a soldier or a veteran. Weren't you once called SOLDIER. Nuff said!
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
17 h
MAJ Steve Warnerski - Yes, at the time of my post, I was still a Reservist. My response now, as a Veteran, would be much more succinct. Though, in honesty, I mostly wouldn't bother to reply to such people unless I honestly felt they could be educated. Which I generally don't.
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Sgt Jay Jones
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Edited >1 y ago
SPC Alexander Ackerman, don't drink the civilian Kool-Aid. Whatever idiot told you that you were not a veteran has never been in the military. ANYONE who is honorably serves in the U.S. Military is a veteran in my eyes. You have a DD-214, that says Honorably Discharged you are just as brave and committed as Marine Sgt Dakota Meyers. You have very little control over your duty station or whether or not you will see combat. I did a tour in the Republic of Vietnam from 1970-1971. I was not actively involved in combat and did not earn a Combat Action Ribbon. Basically, all I have are the "I was there ribbons". That does not make me any less of a Marine than my peers who received Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. It just mean circumstances did not present themselves. Just as in your case, circumstances did not present themselves. However, you do have something to hang your hat on. Unlike your "civilian" friend claims you are not a veteran, YOU went through basic training. YOU took an oath to protect and defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. YOU RAISED YOU HAND AND SAID "SO HELP ME GOD" at the end of your swearing in. YOU ARE A VETERAN!!!
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SGT Richard Hanson  SSP/CGS
SGT Richard Hanson SSP/CGS
3 mo
A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney - Every time I run across this I have to laugh, thanks for brightening more than one of my dreary days ;)
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A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
3 mo
SGT Richard Hanson SSP/CGS - ......
I Make It My Responsibility To Mask As Many People Laugh As I Possibly Can.
Nothing Beats a Good Laugh To Reduce The Days Problems And Stress,
The gods Know I Love The Responsibility..!!!
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A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
3 mo
A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney - ...... OOPS... TYPO,,,,,
...To "MAKE" As Many People Laugh....
DUH On My Part...
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SrA Allan Yates
SrA Allan Yates
2 mo
If you have a DD-124 with your name on it and you were honorably discharged or medically retired, you are a veteran. Period. End of story.

Next time some scumsucker who never had the b@ll$ to raise their hand, take the oath and put on a uniform says some $h@t like that to you, tell them to go f@ck themselves and then say "how about you make yourself useful for once in your pathetic life - go make me a sandwich, bitch!" (I wouldn't recommend eating that sandwich, though. Maybe make THEM eat it to be sure it's safe)...
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SFC Processing Nco
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454
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You're not a combat veteran. Oh well. You volunteered. If you purposely avoided deployment then yes, you should feel bad. If your unit just didn't go in that time then it's not on you. Look at the other branch's deployments; Kuwait, turkey, manas. You did more than the general public. Even the combat guys deal with this when civilians ask us if we've ever killed anyone. Not everyone kills. Sometimes you're the guy pulling rear security. Civilians don't get it, hence why I don't talk about the military to them.
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SSgt Carroll Straus
SSgt Carroll Straus
2 mo
There’s a lot more to waging war than shooting. Was Radar O’Reilly not e veteran? Do cooks serve their country? Do aircraft mechanics? Of course. Ignore them.
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SPC Frank Rizzo
SPC Frank Rizzo
2 mo
As an old W-4 huey pilot told me in Phu Bai in 1972! "Those who sit and wait also serve" The pilot was on his 4th tour and was a STONE COLD PRO and just a natural born leader and pilot. I wanted to be like him when I grew up. Unfortunately we were both on a Huey that was shot down in April 1972 outside Phu Bai. Everyone was hurt with both frangmants and rounds. We all were MEDVAC home, unfortunately the pilot was the injured most. I assume he lived, never saw him again.
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PO2 Christopher Thompson
PO2 Christopher Thompson
2 mo
I was in at the time of the cold war. We still had people die, we just were not to talk about the details. My wife and I did the best we could to stand strong when we were called to do funeral duty on Okinawa (she raised her hand also). I had to muster every ounce of energy I had to dump bodies and ashes overboard on the Blue Ridge and Henry B Wilson. Taps still brings me to my knees. Some we buried because they requested to be buried overseas, some we buried to shield the Families from excruciating pain. Some were wreaths thrown into the water to mark the last place that someone was seen alive. If you picked your hand up and said that you commit to standing firm at the line then you are a veteran. Some veterans just shed more tears every year than others.
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Sgt Diane Edwards
Sgt Diane Edwards
2 mo
PO3 Dalene Witczek -cold war veteran here as well
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