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Are Americans afraid of their combat veterans?
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27 / M / The Lone Star State
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Posted 4/13/13
I was a paratrooper for a month short of five years, been in more TIC's(Troops in Contact) than I can count with with a mathematician. I'm curious if civilians in this country are afraid of me or hate me, it really wouldn't bother me if I'm hated but I want to know if the reason it's so tough for infantry guys is because people are scared of being around them.
These guys are coming back from wars regularly now for over ten years a good chunk of em' multiple times, some mentally destroyed and some physically, sometimes not alive.

I think the last stats I saw said around 30% of combat vets that exit service end up in poverty or homeless, I was homeless for a few months at first living out of a boxcar and an issued duffel bag full of gear at the railyard I worked in(by the way it was from early December to the end of February in Northern Wisconsin), my family wanted nothing to do with me for two years after I got out and my grandpa who was a Ranger in The Korean War died while I was in Africa. THAT SUCKED HARD. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about pounding a Budweiser tall boy and standing in front of a train.

Things are different me now and I'm not looking for sympathy, I have more even more horrifying stories that I'll save for later. I'm just trying to figure out if this is just something to do with me or if the average American simply turns a blind eye out of fear or possibly if it's a hate for the things grunts gotta do.







mipegg 
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22 / M / England
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Posted 4/13/13
Im a UK resident so it probably just doesnt translate but honestly theres a huge feeling of apathy towards combatants, we get told all the time that they are 'our saviors' and 'heroes' etc but at the end of the day there are huge swathes of people who dont support the wars we are currently engaged in and anyone who became a combatant in todays world did it knowing what they were getting themselves into. Its the general opinion among most of the people I know at any rate
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27 / M / Atlanta, GA, USA
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Posted 4/13/13
Unless you're trying to stand out, you're gonna look like any other young man to the average American. Your service is nothing more than an interesting conversational piece to a normal person.
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23 / M / Hughesville, Penn...
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Posted 4/13/13
I am not afraid of anybody.
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24 / M
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Posted 4/13/13
I have no problems around vets, though if I'm aware that they're vets I'm a little more careful with what I say. Not cause I'm afraid of them, but because I don't want to bring up memories they'd rather forget.

Perhaps America should make it mandatory for all citizens to serve in the military like they do in Israel. Of course we can't do that for several reasons, but maybe in a few decades it could work.
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21 / M / Ohio
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Posted 4/13/13
im not afriad of them and i find it to be so stupid how some are treated after they are done serving i know alt have terrible time finding work
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13
It probably doesn't translate to the US but I can give you my experience in the UK.
Here as mipegg says most of us tend to not support our current engagements however everybody that I know feels that every serviceman has done a duty to his country and for risking himself for his country that he is brave. Generally a serviceman will be met with a "I'm just glad you're back in one piece" during civvie life.
I don't think it's a good idea to go around saying "Oh yeah im a vet" all the time to everybody, then people will definitely think you're a bit a d-bag
Source: My brother was a royal engineer.
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26 / F / irst
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Posted 4/13/13
Only Vietnam vets who still have PTSD issues, and yell at every Asian they meet like they're a bad guy.

But are you sure your treatment is simply because you are a vet? Having been in combat by itself wouldn't (shouldn't) give anyone a reason to treat someone poorly.
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25 / M / Long Island
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Posted 4/13/13
My father is a Vietnam veteran and he's always telling me how awful they were treated when they got back. It seems our soldiers have always not been treated as well as they should be. They're doing an extremely dangerous job, the least we can do is ensure they have homes to come back to. I wrote a paper on homelessness in my Soc. class so I know that there's shelters built especially for soldiers but more needs to be done. I've heard from some the vets in my classes that the VA doesn't help them, if so that's a big part of the problem. In any case I don't think this issue receives enough attention in the news, then again most important issues don't.
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18 / M / Stoke, England
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Posted 4/13/13
Vets end up homeless because they get no support whatsoever once they're done, it's pretty shitty. So now we got charities like the Salvation Army.
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F / Urban South
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:
I'm curious if civilians in this country are afraid of me or hate me, it really wouldn't bother me if I'm hated but I want to know if the reason it's so tough for infantry guys is because people are scared of being around them.

People are only afraid of combat veterans when they act aggressive and weird. I think that the military needs to provide better exit support for returning veterans, and better psychological support for those who currently serve. The trauma experienced during combat is not something to take lightly, and the fact that we lose more soldiers to suicide than injuries says a lot about how the armed forces care for our people.

Personally, I respect our troops and am grateful for their service. You may be surprised at this, but the LGBT community adores our outserving members. They are our heros and our idols, and we donate a lot of money to advocate for them legally and socially. At every Pride parade I've been to it's always the armed forces that get the most applause. It's funny, because we are probably the only group of people in the world that consider guys in leather elephant thongs commonplace, but guys in Army tees rare and fascinating creatures.
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30 / M / "Spaaaaace!"
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

I was a paratrooper for a month short of five years, been in more TIC's(Troops in Contact) than I can count with with a mathematician. I'm curious if civilians in this country are afraid of me or hate me, it really wouldn't bother me if I'm hated but I want to know if the reason it's so tough for infantry guys is because people are scared of being around them.
These guys are coming back from wars regularly now for over ten years a good chunk of em' multiple times, some mentally destroyed and some physically, sometimes not alive.

I think the last stats I saw said around 30% of combat vets that exit service end up in poverty or homeless, I was homeless for a few months at first living out of a boxcar and an issued duffel bag full of gear at the railyard I worked in(by the way it was from early December to the end of February in Northern Wisconsin), my family wanted nothing to do with me for two years after I got out and my grandpa who was a Ranger in The Korean War died while I was in Africa. THAT SUCKED HARD. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about pounding a Budweiser tall boy and standing in front of a train.

Things are different me now and I'm not looking for sympathy, I have more even more horrifying stories that I'll save for later. I'm just trying to figure out if this is just something to do with me or if the average American simply turns a blind eye out of fear or possibly if it's a hate for the things grunts gotta do.


Welcome back to civilian life. it's good to have you back!

I wouldn't say most civilians are afraid of veteran's, they just don't know how to react or say to those in the service. Keep in mind that we ALL went to war under the false pretenses of "weapon's of mass destruction." Unfortunately by the time our government decided to pull you guys out of there we were embroiled in two wars. It's awkward more than anything else. I'm just happy you guys are back home and out of harms way.

It's difficult to see friends and family suffering from PTSD after they come back and are not able to get the help and support they deserve because our military has an archaic filing system. Wish the best for ya man. I can promise you, most civilians don't hate you (maybe the dumb and ignorant ones) they just aren't sure how to approach or sympathize with you as they have never experienced and never will have to experience what you have and we have you to thank for that.
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M / Michigan
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

I was a paratrooper for a month short of five years, been in more TIC's(Troops in Contact) than I can count with with a mathematician. I'm curious if civilians in this country are afraid of me or hate me, it really wouldn't bother me if I'm hated but I want to know if the reason it's so tough for infantry guys is because people are scared of being around them.
These guys are coming back from wars regularly now for over ten years a good chunk of em' multiple times, some mentally destroyed and some physically, sometimes not alive.

I think the last stats I saw said around 30% of combat vets that exit service end up in poverty or homeless, I was homeless for a few months at first living out of a boxcar and an issued duffel bag full of gear at the railyard I worked in(by the way it was from early December to the end of February in Northern Wisconsin), my family wanted nothing to do with me for two years after I got out and my grandpa who was a Ranger in The Korean War died while I was in Africa. THAT SUCKED HARD. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about pounding a Budweiser tall boy and standing in front of a train.

Things are different me now and I'm not looking for sympathy, I have more even more horrifying stories that I'll save for later. I'm just trying to figure out if this is just something to do with me or if the average American simply turns a blind eye out of fear or possibly if it's a hate for the things grunts gotta do.









Nobody is afraid of Veterans. You listed the reasons they have problems yourself. The average person isn't going to care if you are a vet, you're just another person to most. So like everyone else you're not going to be handed a nice job and a house. You will need the qualifications/money to get them.

Hope that doesn't come off as rude. I have respect for what you've gone through. But I'm not going to sugar coat my answer either.
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29 / M / Bellingham WA, USA
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Posted 4/13/13
I'm not afraid of veterans, but I am afraid of homeless people living in boxcars.
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74 / M / Here and Now
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Posted 4/13/13
Glad you made it back.

Generally speaking, people are NOT afraid of Vets. If however that vet is suffering from PTSD AND acting strange around others, people will be afraid not because he is a vet but because he is acting strange. Jobs are scarce regardless of your military background, most military personnel do jobs in the military but do not transition to those types of jobs once they leave the service for various reasons. I was one of Uncle Sams Misguided Children, I left just prior to Desert Storm. I did have a younger coworker who joined the army after 9-11 did 2 tours and came back to the job he left. (military leave).

I live in the North East (New England) and Vets are treated with honor and respect....there is always some IDIOT who does not understand the sacrifices made and has something negative to say........just smile....say your welcome....and walk away......That person will never understand why he/she enjoys that freedom.
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