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: 977
COL Vincent Stoneking
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980
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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 Edward Egan
Capt Edward Egan
5 d
We choose to join and take the oath. We choose to obey orders. We do not write the orders for deployment. We go if/when sent.
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SFC William Hannon
SFC William Hannon
3 d
Perfect...
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SGT Thomas Bentley
SGT Thomas Bentley
3 d
I agree 100% Even if that person is or was military. But usually they were not.
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SGT George G.
SGT George G.
2 d
Nicely stated Col.
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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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Maj Gail Lofdahl
Maj Gail Lofdahl
4 d
SGT Frank-John Limiero - News flash--when I was commissioned in the Air Force (1978), women were still barred from combat positions. It wasn't a "choice."
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MAJ Mark Steskal
MAJ Mark Steskal
4 d
After my thee years in the Marines, the only decorations I had were for Rifle and Pistol. Not even a National Service Ribbon.
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SGT George G.
SGT George G.
2 d
Couldn't agree more with you Sgt Jones. Thank you for your service
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1LT Mike Schelp
1LT Mike Schelp
1 d
MAJ Mark Steskal - and you are STILL a veteran. Did you raise your hand and swear the oath? Did you go where they told you and do what they asked? Did you do this to the best of your ability? You’re a veteran. We don’t tell the service where to send us. They tell us, and that is what “ the needs of the service” means, and THAT is serving our great country.
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SFC 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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1stSgt Elizabeth Masaniai Lynn
1stSgt Elizabeth Masaniai Lynn
1 mo
SPC Dennis Foley -
On my first assignment overseas, I was stationed at Clark AB, Philippines, towards the end of the Viet Nam War (1974-1975). I worked in telecommunications and we supported Operation Baby Lift as they evacuated all those babies out Viet Nam, with a few weeks lay over at Clark AB. I don’t ever want to take away from those who actually deployed to Viet Nam but I believe many of us were ready, willing and able, had we been called up to deploy.
A female veteran friend of mine did deploy to Viet Nam & belongs to a local VFW here in Northern Calif. I asked her how she got to join the VFW and she said, ‘Well, if you didn’t deploy to Viet Name, then you’re not eligible to join the VFW.’ I’m like, “what the hell? where did that snarky remark come from?” As I enjoy my retired Air Force benefits, I tell myself that there are tons of military personnel who served honorably in support of the Viet Name war.
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CPO Ed Hoover
CPO Ed Hoover
1 mo
Graduated HS in spring'65. Joined the Navy in August '65 (age 17). Deployed to Vietnam in '67 &'68, 2 different aircraft carriers, Gulf of Tonkin. A buddy of mine grad in '66, was drafted into the Army. 2 years, never left the states. Is he any less a veteran than me, or any other service member. Not the way I see it.
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AN William Pratt
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SPC Medical Specialist
SPC (Join to see)
1 mo
1stSgt Elizabeth Masaniai Lynn - I tried to join the Army before the Vietnam War ended around 1973 and they wouldn't let me since I was still in high school, but I was 18 at the time.
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