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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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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PO1 Fire Controlman
PO1 (Join to see)
5 mo
PO1 Douglas Decherd - As a more recent veteran, I've had my reservations about "Thank you for your service". I'm an Uber driver these days, and I have my fair share of other veterans who get in my car, and if they mention that they served, I usually thank them for joining me in the service of our nation. The only Vietnam vet that I know personally is my brother in law, and he was medically discharged due to a shoulder injury right after basic. He didn't claim his service, until he was applying for a job on the base near where he lives, as he always felt that he didn't contribute. He was told by the HR person that claiming his service, regardless of how short, would give him a few points to get the job. As he was older, and companies were reluctant to hire an older trucker, he reluctantly claimed his veteran status. He's "better" about it now, but he's the last person to be standing in line at Applebee's on Veteran's Day, if you catch my drift.
I had an interaction with a WWII veteran at my local American Legion, shortly after I moved to Oregon after I retired. He thanked me for my service, and I was taken aback, that HE would thank ME for my service. This was about 10 years ago. Since then, I've thought about that interaction many times, and I've come to the realization that while we had very different Naval experiences, we didn't choose when we were born. The fact that we both served, regardless of what happened when we served, is the important thing to take away.
"Welcome Home!" Be well, shipmate.
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SFC Howard Holmes
SFC Howard Holmes
4 mo
PO1 Douglas Decherd - PO1 Decherd, My sister was a hippy and had her goofy hippy friends over whenever my mom went out of town. They'd get me insanely drunk when I was 10, just so I would pass out and leave them alone. I also had two uncles in the Army, one in Nam and one in Germany at the same time. As a boy I would ask myself, who do I want to emulate, these scum or my uncles. I was too young to join to go to 'Nam, but always wanted to, just as an EFF You to her and her friends. So I have ALWAYS thanked them. My drill Sgts, my first Platoon Sgt. and Sqd Leaders were in 'Nam. I have always said thank you to Viet Nam Vets. My question to you is, when I do it, especially now days, I do not say anything about myself ever having served, or being a careerist, because I don't want to make it about myself, I want it to be about them. Should I tell them that I served so that they know that I have true respect for what they did? Or should I drive on the way I've done it and not say anything about my service. My heart's in the right place, but again, it's not about me, it's sincerely about them, because I know, respect and appreciate what they did. Thank you PO1, AND anybody else who may want to add to this.
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PO1 Douglas Decherd
PO1 Douglas Decherd
4 mo
SFC Howard Holmes - The Viet Nam war and the civil rights movement tore this country apart. Numerous cities were on fire. The hippie movement was too high on drugs to be anything other than a nescience to the emergency rooms. When I talk to vets I tell them why I say "Welcome Home". The Viet Nam vets are puzzled at first until I remind them that our country never had the intelligence to welcome them hone. We are an all volunteer military force. The draft was abolished before I volunteered. My draft number was high. My Viet Nam vet frat brothers recommended that I did not enlist. I heard their first hand stories of hand to hand combat. Sgt. John Rambo, USMC was hand to hand in Hue during the TET offensive. George Patrick Kelly was a door gunner on a Huey chopper that was shot down. A corpsman saved his life. I enlisted anyways.
Tell all of the vets that you also served. They already know that you volunteered. The military is a small subset of the population of the United States. Any vet needs to know that they did not serve alone. There are others that followed in their footsteps. Where you serve is not your choice. Every position has to be justified. The Marines guarding the gates of the Naval base are the front line of those defending the Navy ships in the harbor. They are every bid as important as the Admirals and the fleet they are guarding.
The military is a brotherhood of men and women that made a choice to sign a contract to defend the constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We all want to know that our fallen comrades did not die in vain. The visible and invisible wounds are a badge of honor. We stood for something worth defending.
The hippies and clueless college students supporting Palestinians in Gaza have never seen the devastation left behind from the terrorists wanting to destroy Israel. They have never seen the devastation of a Russian naval base. Communism is a cancer on the planet. Those incarcerated under its rule want out. Many escaped from the Iron curtain that Stalin imposed after WW2. They were willing to do anything to escape the tyranny of the communists.
You enlisted, you stood your watches. Tell the vets that you were also holding the line against stupidity.

Douglas Decherd, EM1 SS, EWS.
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SFC Howard Holmes
SFC Howard Holmes
4 mo
Yes, the Hippie movement was pushed really hard by the KGB, as was the Peace Movement and the Anti-American movements that have taken foothold in the colleges. Their operations are impressive and the mind numbing affects of the LSD, and other types of ACID really added to that. After I retired, I went to school for my M.A., and after the first semester of the program, the professors really walked a fine line on some of the propaganda, because I would immediately challenge them. I didn't do it by getting angry, or being boisterous, I would formulate reasonable questions based on fact and common sense and would challenge them. Actually, some of them really enjoyed the challenge, thought they typically lost, I would let them win minor skirmishes, but full attack on major issues. I appreciate your candor, your service, and the time you took in your response, I greatly appreciate it. You may want to watch a video on You Tube called, "More Deadly Than War," it is a presentation by a man named G. Edward Griffin, and he did it in 1966, yes, 1966, but there is so much of it going on TODAY. It's how Communists and Marxists planned on their takeover of the U.S. He uses the American Marxist Manifesto that was printed in like 1960, and includes their tactics that needed to be implemented over a lengthy period of time. It is truly jaw-dropping. I hope you enjoy, and again, thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
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Sgt Jay Jones
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Edited 9 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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PO3 James Polichak
PO3 James Polichak
7 mo
You gave those years to our nation and served where the brass wanted/needed you. That's enough. During the Vietnam Era the Navy wanted me in boot camp, so I processed recruit paperwork for 159 to 300 new sailors a day for five days a week. Shore duty!
After the war a few years on an old destroyer (DD-880) at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
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CMDCM Rodney Bell
CMDCM Rodney Bell
7 mo
My brother,
You dropped the mic on that one.
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MSgt Mark Prechtl
MSgt Mark Prechtl
5 mo
No one could say it better Sgt Jones!!
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SFC Howard Holmes
SFC Howard Holmes
4 mo
MSgt Mark Prechtl - Thank you for your service at that dark period Sgt. Jones, I truly appreciate it from my heart. I don't know, having never been a Marine, if I'm allowed to give you a Semper Fi, so Semper Fi, and if you dress me down, I will know better.
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SFC Processing Nco
547
547
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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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SGT John Schmelzkopf
SGT John Schmelzkopf
6 mo
I don't remember well anymore but think it was 6 to 1, First off if you took the Oath, did your best, did your assigned job, You did all that you needed to do, Thank You, they can go to hell. Now, if I remember right in my day it was about 6 to 1, might be higher now, it took about 6 support Soldiers for every Troop in the field. Also Important to have back up Replacements, Reinforcements and Reserves.
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PO1 Fire Controlman
PO1 (Join to see)
5 mo
I remember getting shit because I was and remain a "dirty wog". Even my wife is a shellback.
It's not MY fault that my 5 deployments never took me south of the Equator. I feel that the same principle applies to Combat vs. Non Combat veterans.
As far as those that gamed the system to avoid being deployed? Full agreement there. Had one cook on my second ship that decided to break his leg the morning we were due to leave on deployment. F that dude. He dropped a tool box on his leg at 0300 to self inflict the injury that he knew would remove him from the ship. Let's just say that even his friends dimed him out.
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SFC Howard Holmes
SFC Howard Holmes
4 mo
Maj James Tippins - Sir, if you can go up ad read my story concerning this, it is a HORRIBLE experience. I did a career and didn't go, and I despise that, and I truly feel inadequate, undeserving and unworthy. If you read my comments farther up, you'll see I volunteered to go, but even though there is solid justification in the needs of the service, it does NOT make it any better. I don't even talk to other veterans about being in, especially if they served boots on the ground, and there's nothing anybody can say to make me feel any better about it. I could probably whine to the V.A. and claim depression about it, but that would probably make it even worse if they awarded me some VA rating for it. It's a horrible thing to live with.
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SPC Peter Suedfeld
SPC Peter Suedfeld
2 mo
In the military, you go where you're sent and you do what you're told. 'Nuff said to anybody who yaps at you.
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