Posted on May 6, 2014
1LT(P) Executive Officer
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This one has come up a lot in conversations with my peers and Soldiers: Should you be allowed to claim veterans status if you have never deployed?

Personally, I'm an ROTC graduate who chose to go straight into the ARNG in 2011, knowing full well that my chances to deploy would be next to none with the changing op tempo. Realistically, had I been actively searching out a deployment the whole time, I still may not have gotten one. I'm sure there are Soldiers out there who served honorably in a reserve component without deploying, despite their best efforts. So, for example, should a Soldier who completed basic training, had a clean service record, excelled in their peer group, but ultimately served 10 years as a reservist with no deployment and less than 180 days on non-ADT active service be prevented from calling themselves a veteran?

I have my own thoughts, but I'm more interesting in hearing your opinions. For clarification, I'm speaking more towards the legal definition of veterans status - even if the laws were changed here, there would still be an immense difference between a legal veteran and a legal veteran with several deployments, combat experience, decades on active duty, or a combination of all three.
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Responses: 521
PO1 William "Chip" Nagel
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You signed the Dotted Line, You were eligible to go anywhere, anytime. You trained to serve your country in an emergency, You are a Veteran. Just because there was no call for you to deploy is not your fault. Now if you served during wartime you are eligible for the American Legion, If you deployed to Theater during wartime you can join the VFW. I belong to both.
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MSgt Mayo Sifford
MSgt Mayo Sifford
2 mo
SGT Todd MIller - Your having been disrespected by anyone because your service was not as worthy as that of anyone's opinion should just be ignored as coming from an idiot! Thank you for your service.
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SGT Alfredo Zamora
SGT Alfredo Zamora
2 mo
MSgt Mayo Sifford - Nailed it!!
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MSgt Mayo Sifford
MSgt Mayo Sifford
2 mo
Thanks, Sergeant. As to veteran status lets be clear: If you took the oath, did the training and worked the job - no matter where - and then you went to where you were sent and used in the manner the service chose for you - you are a veteran.
You go where you are sent whether you volunteer or not. And you perform the duty you are given by superiors whether you like it or not. That, my friend, qualifies you to be called Veteran.
If, during your active duty, you are sent to an area where there is armed conflict and you are assigned a job in which you are subject to injury or are actually wounded - then you are a Combat Veteran.
Both of the above categories are "era" veterans but only one is entitled to claim combat status.
Now, having given my opinion of both categories I must say - WHO CARES? We all wore the uniform and obeyed our orders so we are all veterans. I see no reason to take it any further.
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SP5 Wayne Johnson
SP5 Wayne Johnson
2 mo
I agree. I was drafted during Vietnam and figured I'd go anywhere and do whatever my Uncle had planned for me. I spent my time in Korea in G-1 at 8th Army Hqs. For many years I never mention details of my service because I was embarrassed to be compared to those who fought and died. That changed when I happened to be speaking to the head of a veterans' group who told me not to feel that way. "You did your time. You could have been sent to Vietnam just as well as the next guy. It was just the luck of the draw that you went to Korea." After that, I saw myself differently. I'm proud of my service, but never claim to be anything that I wasn't.
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SPC Charles Brown
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I spent 12 years serving my country, and now some one says that because I didn't deploy overseas to a "combat" zone that I am not a veteran. Just exactly where does this crap come from? I am proud of my service and despite what anyone says I am and will remain a veteran. Of all the things that can be taken from me, however, my veterans status isn't one of them.
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PO3 Jeff May
PO3 Jeff May
2 mo
PVT Jeffery Nugent - Same here, served from '81-'85, USS Cole was the only thing that happened the whole 4 years.
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MSgt Gilbert Jones
MSgt Gilbert Jones
2 mo
In 1981, when Ronald Reagan took office he sent out a message telling the VA that retired military would no longer be treated as veterans at the VA because we drew a retirement and could only be treated for those illness that we incurred while in the military. I was sitting in a chair at the VA having my blood pressure taken when the msg was read to me. My blood pressure went up over 300 and the technician told me he wouldn't have told me if he knew what effect it would have. One of the primary reasons I had made the service a career was the medical treatment after retirement. Even when I went through AF Recruiting School in 1975, that was one of the benefits that was stressed. It took me 37 years of fighting with the VA to go from zero percent to 100 percent for most of the problems I had back in 1981. Only thing was what I had back then only worsen as I got older, which the examining doctor told me would happen.
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PO1 Steven Lipe
PO1 Steven Lipe
2 mo
SPC Albert Blosser - I guess you would call me a "grey area" reservist. I never served more than 180 days AD and all AD was for training. Yet I was rated for a 10% hearing loss for service during an ADT during Ocean Venture '93 while serving as Physical Security support of NSW Group 2. We did a lot of firearms training and not all was done back then with the hearing pro now required. I have a DD256 instead of DD214 and that confuses the crap out of folks when they also see my VA SF15. Don't let anyone downplay your service. I would have gone anywhere if called. It was my curse to have peacetime service and have to explain myself everytime.
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SPC Albert Blosser
SPC Albert Blosser
2 mo
PO1 Steven Lipe - Don't consider peacetime service a curse. I was a grunt in Vietnam and I can tell you that while we were humping the bush that every one of us would have traded you for peacetime service. I was just telling you what the VA criteria for veteran services from them are. Travel on, on peaceful trails.
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MAJ Deputy Director, Combat Casualty Care Research Program
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All who served are vets. Just don't ask them to operate on your dog.
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SSG Samuel Kermon
SSG Samuel Kermon
7 mo
Nice one
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SSG Samuel Kermon
SSG Samuel Kermon
7 mo
SSG O Clark sir, this is the same argument that has existed since Vietnam. Every one who served in the military are vets, period. I call myself a veteran, I do not claim to be an Iraqi Veteran, I do not claim to be an Afghanistan Veteran. Just a veteran. That 180 days mess needs to be torpedoed.
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SP5 Leo McCormack
SP5 Leo McCormack
5 mo
Any person that took the the oath of service and spent time on active duty is a veteran in my opinion. US Army reserves 1958 to 1964 Spec 4
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PO1 Robert Ryan
PO1 Robert Ryan
5 mo
Anyone who m wore the uniform is a veteran. You did your duty as you were told to do. Doen"t matter where you served, or what your Jog was. You earned the right to be called a veteran,
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