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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
First, I think I didn't communicate something as clear as I should have. I don't go around advertising my military service to everyone I see, I'm purely talking about social settings and going out to try and meet new people. Usually at some point when telling someone about where I've been and what I've done my background as a Paratrooper comes up and most the time the conversation goes south after that, it always feels like they are retreating to the DMZ. I generally don't go any more into detail than I was a Paratrooper unless I get to know them, so it isn't like I'm walking down the street with the Colonel Clink hat on and I almost never wear any of my Battalion or Company colors unless I'm around one of the Tylers(I only have two friends I see regularly at this point and they are both named Tyler). I do have a tat on my forearm that's a combat stamp but I wear long sleeve shirts just about all the time. So I do a pretty damn good job ninety percent of the time of keeping it under the radar. I do bring up stories from when I was in, but the ones like nearly burning down an Italian strip club full of Romanians trying to drink a bucket of flaming absinthe, not the gory ones.

Second, I'm fully aware its a volunteer military, and I wouldn't have it any other way. That ensures the people doing the job want to do it while be able to maintain the highest standard, I wouldn't want someone at my 6 who isn't there for their own reason. I know I have a somewhat abrasive personality, and I've shot myself in the ass a few times. The masses are aggravated by the way NATO ISAF military units are being engaged, I don't think anyone really "supports" a war. I must have some fundamentally different way of thinking because I'm drawing a blank on why that would affect veteran perception. I didn't enlist to serve my country, I did it to try and help make a positive impact in a shit part of the world. That hero and savior garbage you brits have is the same here, a bunch of politicians spooning up bullshit to the mass media to make it someone else's problem. I never let anyone shake my hand for being in or acknowledge the "thanks for serving" crowd because I find it meaningless, doesn't get me off in the slightest. Never was looking for handouts, only better info resources; job listings, places to build skills, where to go for grey matter meltdowns, how to apply service values as a civilian, financial planning assistance locations, regulations for re-entry into the military, what to do if you want to claim your GI bill benefits and go to school, that kind of stuff is more useful than the VA could ever hope to be. I just wanted to hit a few points people brought up.

Last, back to the keeping the main thing the main thing. Here at least, it has been established that it isn't fear that drives people off, but a lack of knowledge on how to approach vets, someone said they don't understand what combat arms guys go through so it gets awkward trying to to to them. What about it is awkward? Should I just never mention my service to anyone ever? I'm not doing this for kicks, I want to know how I should go about this so I don't turn people off and I guess "educate" people on how to approach these guys a little easier. Anyone goes to alert when some guy starts acting strange, but I'm not talking about freaks, I'm talking about vets. I hear guys at the local VFW, especially the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan guys talking all the time about feeling alienated and ignored, so it's not just me. I want to try to do something about this even if it's only on a small scale.
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24 / M / United States
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13
It is because regular people don't respect soldiers the way they used to even though it was there "full" support of the war on terrorism that we got into another war. Then they switch sides and blame the president. I got a lot of glares when I didn't support the war and I get glares when I tell people I didn't support the war. Mostly probably because they think I changed my mind like everyone else. Although some people can pick up on the look soldiers have. It is subtle but there is a different appearance they present. It is hard for more than just vets to get a job but Vets have the hardest time because they are pretty much thrown back into society. If you want a reason the war has not ended it is because the economy would drop if all those soldier came back at once. There are no jobs for them...and the politicians don't want people to find that out. Nor do they want to have to do something about it until it is too late.
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30 / M / "Spaaaaace!"
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:
Last, back to the keeping the main thing the main thing. Here at least, it has been established that it isn't fear that drives people off, but a lack of knowledge on how to approach vets, someone said they don't understand what combat arms guys go through so it gets awkward trying to to to them. What about it is awkward? Should I just never mention my service to anyone ever? I'm not doing this for kicks, I want to know how I should go about this so I don't turn people off and I guess "educate" people on how to approach these guys a little easier. Anyone goes to alert when some guy starts acting strange, but I'm not talking about freaks, I'm talking about vets. I hear guys at the local VFW, especially the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan guys talking all the time about feeling alienated and ignored, so it's not just me. I want to try to do something about this even if it's only on a small scale.


There really needs to be a national dialogue about the issues you bring up. People don't want to talk and lets face it, if you bring up your service to a perfect stranger it puts you both in a very awkward position. I talk to vets all the time at the university but i've been around military personnel most of my life. I guess the short of it is that you have a civilian populous who over the years have become firmly against American presence in foreign countries. We have two types of citizens in the states these days civilians and military. The two types of people are so alienated from one another it's difficult for people to reach across that chasm to communicate. One of the reasons why I would personally prefer mandatory service.

I don't know man, i'm ranting. I think it's pretty weak. I'd suggest you get to know people before unloading on them. Not sure what you do when you meet new people.
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M / West Point (USMA)
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13
There's only one vet I'm afraid of and that is my defensive football coach. He was a Marine Sniper in the Vietnam War and he supposedly killed a number of people that hit triple digits, according to the snipers and Green Berets that served with him.

Generally, however, vets tend to be just normal in my life. Some are quiet, some are really awesome, and some are the stereotyped stone-faced vets. Love all of them!

Edit:

Never read your post fully.
I don't think anyone is afraid of you! If you feel any type of distance, I think it's more of people respecting you. If I saw you in real life, I would also respect you as an upcoming soldier myself. I'm sure that I'm going to be feeling some of what you're feeling within the next 8 years or so.
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20 / F / Parallel Mooniverse
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Posted 4/13/13
Sometimes army men can be a little intimidating but I don't think your scary and I don't hate u! Im glad you put down your life for your country.
Oh Im american btw
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30 / M / NE
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

Should I just never mention my service to anyone ever? I'm not doing this for kicks, I want to know how I should go about this so I don't turn people off and I guess "educate" people on how to approach these guys a little easier. Anyone goes to alert when some guy starts acting strange, but I'm not talking about freaks, I'm talking about vets. I hear guys at the local VFW, especially the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan guys talking all the time about feeling alienated and ignored, so it's not just me. I want to try to do something about this even if it's only on a small scale.


I think the news media has added to people's fears about PTSD. It isn't a joking matter, but I think some news items blow things out of proportion and colored some folks perception about vets. I might suggest explaining about it to the public in small groups. Maybe ask if there are any vets willing to speak about PTSD.

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29 / M / Michigan, Metro D...
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Posted 4/13/13
I work with several ex-veterans. The problem can be multiple things, depending on the people you are around.

One of the issues is indeed fear, not because you served or anything of that nature, but because you are a deadly person. To find out someone is trained, and has probably killed people is to find out that they are dangerous, which can cause an instinctive reaction to end talks as soon as possible.

Another issue can be a sort of warped jealousy. You served, you gained strength, you became part of something that not everyone takes part in. Some people may look at you and feel a sense of worthlessness in themselves, which causes them to dislike you. It is also possible that they just immediately think that you look down on them for being civilians and that puts them on guard.

There are people who think that every soldier, everywhere, suffers from PTSD and assumes that you are all going to snap.

Some people simply hate everything related to the government or war, you can't win with these people.

There are a lot of reasons, people are complex and strange creatures.
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24 / M / United States
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Posted 4/13/13
Absolutely not. One of my good friends and co-workers is a veteran from Iraq and my boss is also retired U.S military. I enjoy working alongside them and think they are both great people.
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36 / M
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Posted 4/13/13

darkwulfshade wrote:

Another issue can be a sort of warped jealousy. You served, you gained strength, you became part of something that not everyone takes part in. Some people may look at you and feel a sense of worthlessness in themselves, which causes them to dislike you. It is also possible that they just immediately think that you look down on them for being civilians and that puts them on guard.



I think this is a big part of it. People see the military as a grueling, painful experience... So they see a soldier and think... this person sacrificed his life to protect mine... then you get a mix of reverence, respect, intimidation and resentment... Maybe they feel they owe you something and that puts them on guard...

Another issue is the image of the military... Hollywood may be to blame... When I think of the military, I'm reminded of scenes like from Full-metal jacket, where incompetent soldiers are treated horribly by commanding officers... there's also the issue of rape in the military... I've heard some pretty horrible stories about how gay soldiers are treated if their sexuality is found out.
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27 / M / The Lone Star State
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Posted 4/13/13

spacebat wrote:


ghostwarrior88 wrote:
Last, back to the keeping the main thing the main thing. Here at least, it has been established that it isn't fear that drives people off, but a lack of knowledge on how to approach vets, someone said they don't understand what combat arms guys go through so it gets awkward trying to to to them. What about it is awkward? Should I just never mention my service to anyone ever? I'm not doing this for kicks, I want to know how I should go about this so I don't turn people off and I guess "educate" people on how to approach these guys a little easier. Anyone goes to alert when some guy starts acting strange, but I'm not talking about freaks, I'm talking about vets. I hear guys at the local VFW, especially the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan guys talking all the time about feeling alienated and ignored, so it's not just me. I want to try to do something about this even if it's only on a small scale.


There really needs to be a national dialogue about the issues you bring up. People don't want to talk and lets face it, if you bring up your service to a perfect stranger it puts you both in a very awkward position. I talk to vets all the time at the university but i've been around military personnel most of my life. I guess the short of it is that you have a civilian populous who over the years have become firmly against American presence in foreign countries. We have two types of citizens in the states these days civilians and military. The two types of people are so alienated from one another it's difficult for people to reach across that chasm to communicate. One of the reasons why I would personally prefer mandatory service.

I don't know man, i'm ranting. I think it's pretty weak. I'd suggest you get to know people before unloading on them. Not sure what you do when you meet new people.


I like you're style spacebat, how does a jumper cross that chasm?


Gyava wrote:

There's only one vet I'm afraid of and that is my defensive football coach. He was a Marine Sniper in the Vietnam War and he supposedly killed a number of people that hit triple digits, according to the snipers and Green Berets that served with him.

Generally, however, vets tend to be just normal in my life. Some are quiet, some are really awesome, and some are the stereotyped stone-faced vets. Love all of them!

Edit:

Never read your post fully.
I don't think anyone is afraid of you! If you feel any type of distance, I think it's more of people respecting you. If I saw you in real life, I would also respect you as an upcoming soldier myself. I'm sure that I'm going to be feeling some of what you're feeling within the next 8 years or so.


If you have any questions, concerns, bitches, gripes, let me know. I probably won't put them to rest, I just want to look out for my troopers. Do you want to enter the military or do you not want to do anything else?


volcan_98 wrote:


ghostwarrior88 wrote:

Should I just never mention my service to anyone ever? I'm not doing this for kicks, I want to know how I should go about this so I don't turn people off and I guess "educate" people on how to approach these guys a little easier. Anyone goes to alert when some guy starts acting strange, but I'm not talking about freaks, I'm talking about vets. I hear guys at the local VFW, especially the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan guys talking all the time about feeling alienated and ignored, so it's not just me. I want to try to do something about this even if it's only on a small scale.


I think the news media has added to people's fears about PTSD. It isn't a joking matter, but I think some news items blow things out of proportion and colored some folks perception about vets. I might suggest explaining about it to the public in small groups. Maybe ask if there are any vets willing to speak about PTSD.



When you have guys like the broken brain-terror freak in Milwaukee, it's easy to see why some people do have a fear. Guy thought he was killin' muslams. I'm not trying to start a movement or anything, I just want to make it a "safe" LZ.
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

I like you're style spacebat, how does a jumper cross that chasm?



I don't know man, that's probably up to you and the people you come across. Not all of us civilians are twits though. It's good that you can talk about it.

Anyway, i'm off for the night. Best of luck.
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27 / M / The Lone Star State
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Posted 4/13/13

otakurocklee wrote:


darkwulfshade wrote:

Another issue can be a sort of warped jealousy. You served, you gained strength, you became part of something that not everyone takes part in. Some people may look at you and feel a sense of worthlessness in themselves, which causes them to dislike you. It is also possible that they just immediately think that you look down on them for being civilians and that puts them on guard.



I think this is a big part of it. People see the military as a grueling, painful experience... So they see a soldier and think... this person sacrificed his life to protect mine... then you get a mix of reverence, respect, intimidation and resentment... Maybe they feel they owe you something and that puts them on guard...

Another issue is the image of the military... Hollywood may be to blame... When I think of the military, I'm reminded of scenes like from Full-metal jacket, where incompetent soldiers are treated horribly by commanding officers... there's also the issue of rape in the military... I've heard some pretty horrible stories about how gay soldiers are treated if their sexuality is found out.


First rule of life; Shit ain't fair and no one owes you jack.

Complacency kills, incompetence under me as a team leader was met with a boot. Lives are at stake.

DADT was repealed, you follow ordered doctrine or you are not a soldier, if COC(chain of command) says a homo is covering your 6, a homo is covering your 6. Officer or enlisted, you follow orders and meet the standard, otherwise your a lame piece of shit whose getting wall-to-wall.

Rape is a problem everywhere, put a bunch of trained killers in one place, it's going to intensify.
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Posted 4/13/13 , edited 4/13/13
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M / West Point (USMA)
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 If you have any questions, concerns, bitches, gripes, let me know. I probably won't put them to rest, I just want to look out for my troopers. Do you want to enter the military or do you not want to do anything else?


Just got accepted into West Point, so yep! It's not that I didn't want to do anything else. My heart is set for the military, and it always was. Dunno. I guess I was always the military type somehow and unusually, even if my whole family is not. I'll be going to infantry after, specifically Ranger school (for the insignia of course).
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36 / M
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Posted 4/13/13

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

Complacency kills, incompetence under me as a team leader was met with a boot. Lives are at stake.


Rape is a problem everywhere, put a bunch of trained killers in one place, it's going to intensify.



Well... doesn't this make it clear why some people are afraid of combat vets?
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