Posted on Jan 31, 2015
SPC Alexander Ackerman
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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 Armor Officer
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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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SSG Unit Administrative Technician
SSG (Join to see)
>1 y
Haha! I love the above response! Totally agree! It's always easy for someone to say "I could have done that." Those are the ones that never attempted, so they have no right to judge you when you "did" what they "could have done." You signed a contract and served. Many people don't even do that. Whether or not you deploy, isn't completely in your control. You can do everything right, make it to the mob site and be sent home. Don't let the words of someone who hasn't served, bother you.
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SFC Fred Youngs
SFC Fred Youngs
10 mo
Joined in Feb. 1974 they were not sending anymore soldiers to Vietnam. I served 12 Active Duty years Army 6 in Germany, Came home was assigned to 1st COSCOM as Mtr. Sgt. they took most of my Mechanics for Granada the Bn. Cdr. told Me I was Married and Not going. He Picked another E-6 from Bn. Maint. to run my Plt. in Granada. Joined the AR. N.G. Desert Storm came up I Volunteered did not get Picked. Retired in 1998. In 2006 was Ordered back to Active Duty. I said am I going Iraq or Afghanistan he a Major said No you will go to A.P.G., Md. as an Instructor. I became the NCOIC of my Dept. and Bde. Hq. Plt Sgt. so after all that I have 28 years Active, ARNG, Reserve. And never Served a day in a Combat Zone as a Soldier. I did go to Afghanistan as a Contractor Train, Advise, Mentor the Afghan Army. Oh as for the one assignment to CosCom all my other assignments were either Combat Engrs. or Artillery so I was not in FOBIT UNITS.
Enough do not let it bug you not all can go to the Fight.
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LTC Robert Gray
LTC Robert Gray
10 mo
One of the most frustrating things is to see your Soldiers deploy and you stay behind. During Desert Storm I was on a Chemical Brigade staff. We deployed all of our trace units. Our units where trained up and performed their mission as well if not better than their AC counterparts. We had done our jobs and where proud of their performance. Our Mission then changed from Mission preparation to preparing for their return. Assisting their families. Ensuring that unscrupulous Banks did not foreclose and evict SMs families from their homes along with hundreds of other details necessary to support our units.

Hold your head up, be proud and know you did your duty as the Military deemed your service was valuable and honorable.

Know that you, as we say in the Ordnance Corps, "Kept the spear sharp."
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Cpl Dann Purvis
Cpl Dann Purvis
5 mo
Semper Fi
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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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SPC Edward R
SPC Edward R
3 y
You served your country be proud Bro,you don't decide where you go ,or what your assignment is ,the Military chooses ,gives you the order and you follow it,and if the s@it hits the fan,we all would have been ready to deploy and watch each other's back.
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PO3 Security Forces
PO3 (Join to see)
>1 y
I get that all the time when I tell people I'm a reservist and haven't been deployed but even though I haven't been deployed that doesn't mean that I don't serve my country and my community in other ways. I provide honors for veterans as a member of the funeral honor guard. And the people who say those things probably have never served a day in their life! Every service member weather active duty or reserve all play their part and we are always ready to answer the call weather foreign or domestic.
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PO3 Thomas Severinghaus
PO3 Thomas Severinghaus
12 mo
Look. You were in the service. You said the oath of obligation and were/are willing to put yourself in harms way.
As an airdale red shirt from 71-75 aboard the Big "E," I've been told the same thing. My response is: "we were all given a job to do. At any point during our enlistment we could have been shipped to another unit. What was your unit again?"
Then I walk away.
Stand proud of your service, brother. You earned it.
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CDR Michael Goldschmidt
CDR Michael Goldschmidt
12 mo
Only an idiot civilian could have the gall to call an honorably-discharged former servicemember something other than a veteran. Some of the best people I know died in training accidents during the Cold War, which, by the way, is called the Cold WAR because it was one. Indeed, it saddens me when I hear a veteran say that s/he isn't really a veteran, because s/he didn't have a combat experience. PO3 Thomas Severinghaus: thank god for red shirts (and green shirts and brown shirts and grapes...), all folks who keep the flight decks safe and functioning. Thank you!
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SSG Processing Nco
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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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PVT Lee Pennell
PVT Lee Pennell
1 y
Totally understand how you feel?
I never saw combat either. I know this, whenever I hear about the loss of one of our brothers and sisters sacrifice in combat, a training mission or any other way, I feel that loss in a way civilians never will.
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SFC Usarmy Ret./ Usarmy Civil Ret
SFC (Join to see)
1 y
My greatest regret at a 32 year retirement is not deploying. Many things happened in that time I supported all in some way but no deployment. Not only did Civilians step to me, but my own Soldiers did and that feeling was worst for me.
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AA Jim Gillespie
AA Jim Gillespie
7 mo
Tell the LIBRATS to get screwed, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes, some of it even those who were deployed don't know about. HOW DO YOU EXPECT A DAMN CIVILIAN POPULATION TO UNDERSTAND? Think about the S. O. G., delta force, seals, or better yet the UNKNOWNS, there way too many of us out there who are NOT recognized but we risked all,. I have my dd214 dated in 73, but got out in 74.
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SFC James William Bolt   [ 40 Yards ]
SFC James William Bolt [ 40 Yards ]
6 mo
SFC (Join to see) - Remember we have something that reach across time and space and ties us to each other From the fox hole to the states side supply areas .We in those forward areas could not do our job with your support .so look him in the eyes and tell him to take a long walk on a short pier . sign 40 yards
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