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: 467
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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SFC Arthur Morgan
SFC Arthur Morgan
1 mo
SSgt Keith Stanton - Happen to be the only son of one (1) of those 16 Million personnel mentioned in military/serving during WWII. Tech Sergeant of US Army, on his tombstone, (preceded Specialists rank.) My point? All those troops that went to points east and/or west of CONUS entered chosen branch, to be trained/transitioned from civilian into military, regardless chosen branch. That required someone do all those myriad tasks required to make that happen for combat troops. Once these were in fact trained, they had to be moved where needed to get what was needed, done. That required even others to make this possible, whether by air or in most cases, by sea; whether North Africa, Italy, England & more nameless in South Pacific. Others were required insure many as possible arrived, safely as could make possible. Yet still others did other tasks, to facilitate & provide those troops combat 'multipliers'. Commanders has to have all these people to 'field' his forces for battle, but still doesn't end there. Know what happened when M1A1 MBTs (Main Battle Tank) vehicles outran supply trains? (My secondary MOS.) Elements providing Fuel, Ammo and more had to be available. Without 'any' of those...how far could we go? General George S. Patton learned, during drive on Germany. If asked about 'veteran status': tell'em VA hospitals and/or cemeteries, are full of'em!
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SrA Gina Hotard
SrA Gina Hotard
29 d
Did you not sign on dotted line expecting not to deploy? Whoosh. I'm a female combat vet and would gladly go again. What I can't stand are those that forget the females who went out there also and get told stateside we don't deserve vet status
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SGT John Lawrence
SGT John Lawrence
29 d
SrA Gina Hotard - You are correct, I served under and 1Lt in 1975 as a MP and she was together that I would have followed her to Hell and back if she asked.
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1stSgt Michael Shafer
1stSgt Michael Shafer
20 d
SGT James Shumaker No difference, if you look at any DD-214 there's nothing that says that the veteran was/is a "Combat Veteran". A veteran is a veteran period.
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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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SFC Arthur Morgan
SFC Arthur Morgan
1 mo
Easy, Soldier. Easy on. You served and that is all that mattered. That puts you in top 3% of 'your' generation, that nobody can ever deny you. You're a Veteran and STAY proud.
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Pvt SanJuana Méndez
Pvt SanJuana Méndez
26 d
Charles, at least there's no fine line between u & ur status. There's no doubt that u served even one full term--one tour of duty.

I'd spent 28 yrs resigned to having washed out as Marine before I met a woman who told me I wz as much a veteran as she is.

She'd been dishonorably discharged during Vietnam War era after she wz found to be pregnant as result of being raped by cabbie who drove her to Women's Basic. When she learned she could request modification of her discharge, she pled her case & it wz determined she wz as much a victim as any woman who's been raped during her tour of duty & wz granted modification to honorable discharge.

With that ray of hope, I applied for healthcare at my local V.A., & have proudly called myself a veteran for 21 yrs now. I discovered TogetherWeServed.com (TWS) some 3 yrs ago & started my profile. Since then, I've been in a limbo of sorts again, coz their standards dictate that only those who served 180 days peacetime, or 90 days wartime, active duty cn call themselves veterans....no ifs, ands or buts. Tho my veteran status hasn't changed for healthcare, fact I served only 79 wartime days keeps me from adding to or editing my TWS profile coz they don't consider me a veteran....nvr mind that I wz honorably discharged under circumstances beyond my control.

It's a blessing that I wzn't raped on my way to Basic or while I wz training; not physically, anyway. Fact is, coz I'm Native American, firstborn, female, I wz discriminated against when--2 months short of 19th birthday--I became family matron after death of only remaining parent. While any male might have been offered hardship, I wzn't made that offer. After dealing with that trauma, I wz effectively "swept out" without benefit of UCMJ.

Fact remains, I served more than ONE day--all that's required for anyone to have served. Same as "once a Marine, always a Marine," once u've honorably served even one day, u become a veteran when discharged. All those of us, including u, who were sworn in risked possibility that we'd be deployed, so we are veterans when honorably discharged. I wear that distiction proudly, & so should u.
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Pvt SanJuana Méndez
Pvt SanJuana Méndez
26 d
SPC Kara Sport, I like ur attitude. Despite heartache I've suffered as 3x wife, mom, grandmother & great-grandmother, I'm also proud of having been all these. However, I've come to a point in life where being a mom really means nothing.

After my husband of 15 yrs (also veteran) died), I became homeless. To keep me from "camping out" in his van, my daughter provided me with RV on her property to live in. Tho it shelters me somewhat from elements, I'm still virtually homeless coz one creature comfort I don't have is running water, so I use bucket as toilet & must buy trash bags & kitty litter to keep my waste in such way that I cn dispose of it as trash. That, tho, is least if my worries.

I'm more like her child than her mom. While there wz a time when she "hired" me (when her step-dad wz alive) to do yard work, I'm now expected to maintain her yard. Evenso, she laments that, aside from my paying for energy usage (to operate heater/fan, TV &--since Father's Day weekend--minifridge for food storage), I hvn't pd for "shelter." I cn't approach her--NOT coz she's paraoid abt pandemic--coz she cn't tolerate my smelling of tobacco, habit I could have quit already if I hadn't been "walking on eggshells" these past 7 months, trying to gain some kind of respect & satisfaction from her.
Her son, my youngest grandson sees hw she treats me & gives me as much respect as she. I make suggestions & he responds he's doing as his parents do. I ask him to do something or ask him to get something for me & he invariably has reason not to. I complain to my daughter abt his attitude in order to avoid his being punished by his dad & she defends his having ignored my suggestions & requests. Instead, she tells me to do what he didn't do.

I wouldn't wish my situation on my worst enemy! Would u like to trade places?
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Pvt SanJuana Méndez
Pvt SanJuana Méndez
26 d
SPC Justin Berry, not to mention when eating out or buying take-out.
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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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CW4 Rodney Burnett
CW4 Rodney Burnett
7 mo
That's funny shit right there, I don't care who you are
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SSG Samuel Kermon
SSG Samuel Kermon
1 mo
Nice one
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SSG Samuel Kermon
SSG Samuel Kermon
1 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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MSgt Paul Connors
MSgt Paul Connors
1 mo
Dohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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