The 0.45% and America’s Cultural Disdain for Soldiers

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 83 Comments

Below is an essay written by Nick Palmisciano co-owner/ founder of Ranger Up.  A friend (YP) forwarded it to me and it inspired me, caused me to reflect, do a little research and repost it with some of my thoughts.  It has been incorrectly attributed to Gen. David Petraeus, General Norman Schwarzkopf and even “A Marine in Iraq”.  “The0.45%” speaks to the growing gap between America and those that fight for her.

The 0.45%

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.

My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: “Nick, you’re a smart guy. You don’t have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a tome defending West Pont and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years. In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are unbelievable statistics.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand. And you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand. They don’t understand suffering. They don’t understand sacrifice. They don’t understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one – not them. When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the “macro” issues they gathered from books with your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.

But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.

You are the 0.45%.

Nick’s experience isn’t new it in fact is repeated often in American history and mirrors some of my own 1981 experience.  Some of the Jesuit instructors from my high school had strong feelings about my decision.  No surprise, these few were also championing the same Liberation Theology gaining prominence in Latin America at the time.  More disturbing were the routine interactions I had with folks back home in NYC after I donned the uniform in the 80’s asking me, “when you getting out?”  They could not understand a decision to dedicate one’s life to service.  Worst was the treatment from stockbrokers who crossed my path when I ventured to the Twin Towers to meet my then girlfriend circa 1987.  Black Monday proved karma exists. 

My last memorable experience with this disdain came almost a decade later in 1996 where at a black tie “casino night” charity affair at the Waldorf I had the unfortunate experience of meeting a well-heeled troll who commented he thought my dress mess uniform was that of a doorman.   A pretty young lady attempting to defuse the pregnant pause asked what my bronze star was for.   I answered, “Oh that, it’s for what I did the last time some guy confused my uniform with that of a doorman.”  It got a good laugh as my detractor withdrew.

The disdain that Americans have felt towards those that serve it isn’t new or uncommon.   It’s in our culture actually.  The forcible billeting of British redcoats in civilians’ homes was one of the factors that resulted in the Revolution and why the 3rd amendment of the Bill of Rights says, “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”   

Europe traditionally considered soldiers the dregs of society and for many Armies and Navies they were.  That belief was manifested in early American minds as well as deep seated suspicion of an Army because the British Army was a primary symbol of tyranny.  For much of our history at the onset of war and after the hype and glory had dissipated the second group “enlisted” were from the local jail. 

Times of conscription often offered a “buy out” option where draftees could pay outright to be excused from service or pay someone (typically a new lowly immigrant) to take his place.  During peacetime, the military was often a refuge from a jail term.  Most forgotten is widespread and long term prejudice that not only targeted blacks, immigrants and Indians but also featured signs on “fine” establishments in the frontier that said, “No Indians, No Dogs, No Soldiers”.    Being a peacetime soldier during much of the US’s history had the equivalent stature of today’s fast food burger flipper.

This continued into the last century where in 1906, a sailor in Rhode Island bought a ticket to a dance but was denied entry when he returned in uniform.  The incident reached national notoriety after Theodore Roosevelt sent him a $100 to handle legal fees.  Cities near military posts in 1907 Texas placed soldiers under arrest at the slightest provocation or under false charges.  Most states did not allow soldiers posted in their state to obtain residency and vote and in many a town respectable women were not seen in the company of a service member.   

Heck, more than half a century later, I remember in the ‘80’s that dating a soldier even an officer was not popular among the better families of a military town.   After Vietnam, where popular media often depicted vets as crazed, America started to develop a conscience.  The excesses that characterized the treatment of our Vietnam vets may have been a catalyst since previously returning vets from America’s conflicts typically enjoyed a honeymoon period. 

That brings us to today.  The stereotypical crazed PTSD afflicted vet is returning thanks to the same popular media.  There are plenty of articles expressing a view of America’s vets being spoiled brats and it wasn’t very long ago that the current Secretary of State joked to students to study hard or they might find themselves in Iraq.

America as many nations before it, is playing with fire as it depicts those few that have chosen to serve in a negative manner and we are fooling ourselves when we ignore that MANY Americans think military service is a waste for the “promising” individual.  My intent is not to whip up sympathy or portray veterans as victims.  I agree with the Ranger Up t-shirt that says, “I wanted to serve, I volunteered to serve, I knew what I was doing”.  I just believe I must raise the issue and its historical context. 

I tip my hat to those that choose to serve today and hope to remind those that don’t know about the culture of soldier prejudice.  Finally, a nation that forgets those that defend it will itself be soon forgotten.    

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • LauraKinCA

    I always find it disturbing that there is still the impression that military service is only for those that can’t hack it in the civilian world, when so many have educated themselves either before signing up or while in service, or simply had a good MOS that translates to good experience when they leave military service.

  • engelbrad

    Great essay from Nick and great follow up Will.

  • engelbrad

    When the truth is most civilians couldn’t hack it in the Military. Good point L!

  • TeufelshundeUSMC


    Remember it’s the citizens that make up the military. This false dilemma of military vs. civilians is dangerous. You served, once you’re back in the civilian world, either continue public service or make your bones, there’s really no need to lambaste those who didn’t serve, it’s inconsequential, they’ll never know period (if they’re interested talk). 

    I’m a regular at my local VA, they have a great gym facility (no membership dues) and the WWII and ‘Nam vets are a hoot. But I don’t walk around at work thinking, you couldn’t hack it in the military, I have to be an a-hole to think like that. I chose to join, you didn’t, big deal.

    As for all the talk about not joining the military or parents not letting their daughters date military guys, hell I’m the same way, I tell smart kids to go to college, if they still wanna join, become officers–not so smart ones, I advice not to trust their recruiters too much and get promises in writing. 

    Women tend to love men in uniform, and that’s the reason Marines wear their dress blues in big occasions (hell, even just Charlies will do), Marines all know it’s douchie, but it works–other men know this, especially former military, and they advice accordingly. I don’t think it’s an anti-military thing necessarily–you’re just protecting your girl’s virginity.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ” You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. ”

    This is a somewhat grandiose view of self, at least for me, I prefer Heinlein’s more humble sentiment here:
    “Do not confuse ‘duty’ with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
    But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible.” 

    You’re never doing it for “them”.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    * change humble to honest.

  • engelbrad

    TeufelshundeUSMC engelbrad Hey USMC… I agree that civies make up the Military. There is no Military vs. civie IMHO…It’s more civilians not recognizing the value of Service in America.
    I’m not against my daughters dating Military. I’m against them dating anyone. I would have said any “man” but these days…. who the hell knows…
    As far as Military vs college… Both would be great and if that trended over the next 20 years I think our Nation would be much better for it.
    You are Outstanding!

  • TeufelshundeUSMCWhile I respect Heinlein tremendously he was never in combat nor a grunt.  Nick was.
    When it comes to grandiose there is nothing more so than centering on
    yourself (reread your duty quote).  I believe the leader commits himself
    to something greater to himself and sacrifices for that goal.
    As to duty I would refer you to Robert E. Lee’s comments:  ” Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.”  
    A good followup would be MacArthur

  • TeufelshundeUSMC engelbradRest assured what I was referring to was much more than fatherly concern for one’s daughter’s welfare.

    The point of my comments is that a fundamental element of American culture is a level of disdain for those that choose to serve.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    engelbrad TeufelshundeUSMC  

    “It’s more civilians not recognizing the value of Service in America.”
    The maj’s article is spot on, but I don’t think it’s anti-military per se, it’s anti-authority. People in uniform represent the gov’t. And Americans tend to be suspicious of the whole notion of authority. 
    In the ME, a cop or soldier, tells a lowly, w/out status civilian to do something, it’s yes, Siddie and they snap to. Here, homeless folk in cities, rednecks in trailers, folks in the boondocks, clearly w/out status will give you the finger, if you tell ’em what to do. 
    It’s in our DNA–that I think goes straight back to the 1770s.
    Then there’s people who hate the military, because they hate war. Or the politics behind the wars. When wars are wage with gaps in public support, you’ll see these things. WWII, you never saw. Kinda expected.
    Then there’s folks from communities with military bases, sick and tired of the bars, tittie joints, etc.
    Then there’s people who think the military’s like a bigger Boy Scouts of Am. where everything’s all honky-dory, kumbaya fire songs and everything’s like a Norman Rockwell painting–where everyone’s a hero.
    My point is there’s a myriad of reasons out there, in the end you can’t please ’em all. Don’t over-simplify.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMC  “When it comes to grandiose there is nothing more so than centering on yourself”
    That’s actually the sentiment I’m trying to convey here, ie. you are not doing it for “them”, you are doing it for very personal reasons–you, your family, your buddies, etc.

  • YankeePapa

    …U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings had an article about a decade ago by a young Navy officer officer going home on leave.  Fit, tanned… looking something like a recruiting poster for the Wehrmacht… a tad awkward since he was Jewish.
    …His extended family and friends were polite to him, but acted as though he had suddenly decided to spend the rest of his life as a beachcomber… Many kept their thoughts to themselves… but many did not.
    …He was asked why join the military at all?  Make better money in the civilian world.  And if he was going to… why in a combat specialty…?  There was no hostility toward the military… any more than there would have been towards the roofing industry… just no idea why he wanted to be part of that scene.

    …The lad was starting to feel a touch alienated when his great uncle approached him.  He had served as an infantryman in WWII from Normandy to Germany.  He told the young man that he was proud of him…

  • TeufelshundeUSMC engelbrad  
    It’s not anti-authority because you don’t see the disdain I referred to directed at  police except by criminals.  Even a life dedicated to pursuing political office is not seen as a wasted life.  The attitude is different when it comes to a young person’s choice to don the uniform.  

    It’s impossible to understand American civil-military culture as a whole only looking back a couple of decades or at other countries that aren’t America let alone all their cultural baggage. That’s not the American tradition or culture and clouds the issue if not outright gets it wrong. 
    Read Huntington’s “The Soldier and the State” or Byler’s “Civil-military
    Relations on the Frontier and Beyond, 1865-1917”.  (These are deep heady books that discuss America and its military traditions in depth and are part of many curricula.) 

    There’s no doubt America was highly suspicious of standing Armies.  There are political groups today that take issue with the military and military spending but I’m looking at this issue across our history to include when a soldier was paid $13/mo on the frontier (or not paid at all during our earliest days) when we had less than 40k men in uniform.  I’ve cited several examples of the mistreatment of soldiers by America.  This goes far beyond our individualistic streak.

    As an aside, I don’t see Americans as anti-authority.  Only the most libertarian think we’re a nation of anarchists.  Let’s not go there.

  • YankeePapa

    engelbrad TeufelshundeUSMC,
    …By the time that my enlistment in the Marine Corps was up in June of 1970, I had gone from looking 12 years old at the start… to 14 at the end.  The one time that I wore my dress blues to a civilian restaurant with friends (after return from RVN) the waitress asked me if I was attending a military school…
    …About a month after I returned to the U.S., I was at a party.  Young gal in her first year of college gave me a ride back to base.  We stopped at her parents house (she still lived there) and she introduced me to her parents.  
    …Her mother was a delightful person… but her father looked at me as if I had just dumped the contents of a spittoon at his feet.  He had a few words with her in private before we drove off.  Essentially told her that I was not welcome and she would do well to remember that if she wanted to live at home.
    …She was in near shock.  On the mantel in the living room was a picture of her older brother.  He was a soldier, serving in Germany.   

  • YankeePapa I personally had a similar experience…

    Home on leave as a promotable LT I had a sister in law that used to ask me “When you getting out?”  It wasn’t the first time she asked but it did prove to be the last.  I told her I wasn’t and she pressed, “Why?  You have a college degree.  Don’t you want to make money?”
    Now even my own mother and father had this discussion with me a couple of times especially concerned when I chose the Infantry.  They really wanted me to become a lawyer.  We had the heart to heart that I wanted to do what I was doing and considered it my life’s calling.  They respected my decision and never questioned it after commissioning.  I didn’t have the same level of patience with my sister in law.

    My first statement was money was money didn’t motivate me and then I asked her,  “What life accomplishments are you working towards?”
    “How many lives are you
    changing? How many people are you protecting? What are you risking to
    serve yourself? What are you risking to serve others?”
    As the family gathered and my mom tugged at my sleeve hoping to avoid a free for all. Her stuttering response was she wanted to have kids and a family.
    “Great!  You’re only allowed one in China. Guess who protects your right to push out puppies here?” 
    My brother interceded as that time before she turned into a pillar of salt and explained the military was much more than just a job for me or a steppingstone on the road to success as much of America looked upon the service.
    The moral of that story is that someone could look at my life decisions and judge that they were a waste and be largely accepted by the populace while her decision (and many others) do not suffer the knee jerk disdain that many have for the military.
    Decades later after Desert Storm and 911 her opinion changed quite a bit but she’d never let her sons pursue that kind of career.  
    The mindset runs deep…

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMCengelbrad 
    Criminals aren’t the only ones who disdain cops, maj. I guess it all depends on where you work, but big cities especially ones with large gentrified areas, cops are treated as nuisance to disdain, more so than the military or firefighters.

    The whole you’re smart you should go to college bit I totally understand, because that’s my advice to family wanting to join. I’m not dissuading them because I disdain the military. I just think college’s a better option, or being an officer would be better than going enlisted.

    As for the whole civil-military disdain…

    I’m more of a low-reg hair cut sporting kinda guy, so I’m not one to ID myself unnecessarily. I stayed away from the e-club scene or the tittie joints outside of base, instead looked for frat or college parties (a bunch of us did this), we had a better time playing college kids on libbo.

    The only time I had to wear my uniform (Chariles, it was summer) was when I was at A-school, during the first couple of months. So me and my buddies had to walk around town in our piss cutters looking like dorks.

    That was the only time I would’ve caught whiff of this anti-military feeling…and nothing. Also during balls, but we’d had been too drunk to care and the only fights I remember was civilians bothering our dates, who would’ve been mostly AF chicks (at school) and then coeds (in the fleet)–no weird fatherly vibes like YP’s.  

    So my experience is somewhat benign here when it comes to this whole military-civil culture.

    I’ll check out those book recs, thanks.

    As for pay, it’s not like we join because the military paid so well. The military’s an after thought in the whole scheme of things you kinda accept that going in.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod YankeePapa
    The moral of that story is that someone could look at my life decisions and judge that they were a waste and be largely accepted by the populace while her decision (and many others) do not suffer the knee jerk disdain that many have for the military.

     Yeah, but maj. you would’ve gotten the same talk had you told them you were moving to CA to surf or be a rock star/actor or grow pot and get high all day. Yet, those 3 things are actually valid callings as well. So I don’t see the whole civil-mil disdain, just your regular career talk from family concerned.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrodYankeePapa
    I would agree if I came from a family where a future sister in law can question a family members personal decisions, repeatedly.  This was not the case.

    “grow pot and get high all day.”  A calling?
    Maybe I don’t get your sense of humor or maybe I just don’t like you making light of a damn serious subject…

    You’re reminding me of someone on another blog or maybe you’re confused about this blog…

  • YankeePapa

    majrod YankeePapa,
    …My mother was aware that the 3rd Infantry Division in Europe in WWII (my father with them North Africa to Germany) went through its strength 3 times during the war… Actually worse than that since most of those numbers not from the support branches…  Combat branch casualties in Korea heavy as well.  Had sweated my father out in both.

    …In any event, she was reluctantly accepting the fact that I was going into the Marine Corps (June 1968) without going to college first.  The fact that the enlistment was only for two years was of some comfort to her… (only one 13 month tour of duty in RVN) but she was dreading the fact that I was going to be infantry.  Explained to her that the Marine Corps not going to give anybody a fancy MOS who was only signed up for 24 months.  
    …When my sister was born in 1943 she had a twin brother who died when he was a month old.  And now I was going to give a large number of people… none of whom I knew… their chance to shoot my fool head off.  Wasn’t as if I were being drafted… I was permanently draft exempt.
    …Last thing that she said to me when she dropped me off to be sworn in on active duty (was already sworn in… in the delay program as a reservist) was that she was worried… but that I should know that she was very proud of me.  


  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod Re pot growing, in light of CO and WA and the lax laws in CA, it is not only a calling and now very lucrative.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrodYes, so is making porn.  

    You are treading on thin ice.  The water is cold and deep.
    This is a serious subject.

  • YankeePapa

    TeufelshundeUSMC majrod,
    …I wouldn’t call that a “calling…” It’s a job… though it does have more respectability than being a TV preacher…

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMC

    I’m just not seeing the civ-mil disdain you’re addressing. My vantage is somewhat limited, since I wasn’t a gung-ho type, wearing uniforms or USMC shirts everywhere, but even when I re-entered civilian world, I did not see the disdain.
    I did see the anti-military sentiments due to the politics behind the wars, but not disdain for individual military men and women. I did not see that.
    Demonstrate the civ-mil disdain in WWII, and I’d be a little convince. Popular wars vs. not so popular wars, you’ll see differences in the mil-civ culture. But from my experience it just wasn’t/isn’t so. That’s all I’m saying.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    YankeePapa majrod 
    My buddies from the South got the don’t embarrass your name, don’t let us down & one even got the Spartan shield speech. Different culture down South.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Historically perhaps save for the immediate post civil war years and the post WWII years the above has always been true. Being a grunt, even if college educated you almost almost get some snarky comment along “couldnt find a job?”  or the “dead-ender” looks. Almost as if its woven into the fabric of the Nation from birth. Its only gotten worse with the media  and entertainment industry perpetuating that image.

  • Jake75

    One time a teen told me that going into the military was a “waste of you’re life, you’re was just going to die.” I don’t think anyone but veterans understand why you join/want to. And a lot of people think people just go in because they can’t get any other job. So many people don’t know anything about the military. When asked about your future tell them you want to enlist and you’ll most likely be asked “okay what do you want to do after that?” As if it just some camp you go to for awhile…

  • Jake75

    majrod  I think TeufelshundeUSMC was just saying that no matter what you said you were going to do with your life people are always going to tell you to do what they think you should. I.e. live their dream.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    Granted most people don’t say, Marine? You must’ve aced your SAT’s. Among all the branches, we kinda own the whole dumb notion. Having been in then out, I can appreciate the stereotype, 1). because it’s not true and 2). because it affords plenty of opportunity to rise above. But these stereotypes aren’t military specific, you see a guy with dirty work boots you think one thing, you see a guy in crisp suit you think another. A guy that says he went to Harvard, will garner different opinions than a guy who went to a community college.

    I disagree with the entertainment industry portraying the military in bad light, I would argue Hollywood makes super-heroes out of military folks (which is counter-productive in the long run, since regular feats or just the mundane isn’t enough). Post WWII there were tons, Waynes Green Berets, even the really cheesy ones like Top Gun and Officer and a Gentleman. The Marines have such a brand recognition that portrayals in good and bad light are almost of no consequence.

    The media however especially MSNBC is anti-military as a whole, ie. money into the defense is better spent in schools kinda thinking. But not agreeing or taking an opposing stand when it comes to military matters, isn’t the same as having disdain for individuals–are there nutcases that would spit on your face, yeah, but I’ve never heard of such incidents during the post 9/11 wars. But the public isn’t the media, I’ve seen apathy, ignorance to doe-eyed, the military folks are angels responses, but the disdain documented in the Vietnam war, I just don’t see today.

    I see more people buying drinks for random vets, I see more people participating in these 5Ks for charity, hell it took other veterans to critically review Lone Survivor, because most civs. were so respectful. My confusion to this whole civ-mil disdain is sincere, because I’m seeing the opposite.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    Jake75 majrodTeufelshundeUSMC 
    Thanks, man. Yeah, my taking the opposing view isn’t disrespect, I hope no one takes it as such.

    I respect GruntsandCo precisely because it isn’t a business, it’s a blog owned by a guy whose views I respect, and that goes for everyone here.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    The ignorance of the military is understandable, Jake. I got similar responses. People just don’t know. I was lucky my cross country coach not only was a Marine, he had a great working relationship with the area recruiter (the whole notion that recruiters are like car salesmen I got from him), so he made sure all his guys got contracts and knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, and how to translate that if getting out and then options if staying in. Our HS college/career counselor was worth crap.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    TeufelshundeUSMC Jake75 
    In my MCRD SD, while in boot camp you get to visit the base museum, WWII Marines were docents, and the whole God, Country, Corps I got from a WWII vet there, 

    1). God, whether you’re into an anthromorphic God, just an abstract one, but that’s your gut feeling of right and wrong, listen to it, pray, meditate, inspire from it, etc. 

    2). Country, it’s a big country with a glorious history, but you have to be able to personalize it, whittle it down to people you can see, feel, after bootcamp it’ll be your buddies, your brothers. 

    3). Corps, your branch, co. platoon, squad, fireteam, the country can represent mission accomplishment, but the Corps is troop welfare.

    It was a lot more articulate I assure you, but that was the gist. The idea was more on service to God, your Country then Corps, with no debt owed by the public for your service. I think I understand now why the WWII guy said to whittle down the concept of country, because if you have an idealized notion, and then return to it, you’ll be disappointed, whereas you whittle it down to something recognizable, there’s no disappointment-you know who you did it for.

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC ArcticWarrior Like Rod stated, the SoS made a joke about study hard or you will end up in Iraq…that shit is not funny and it shows a complete misunderstanding of the modern soldier.

    Remember the public feeds the media, by clicking on stories and reports like Rod included of crazed PTSD maniacs ( Dorner coverage on all networks…that was a perfect example) or of a culture of “entitlement” by vets stereotype. Read comments the general public leaves on any type of negative portrayal of a veteran…lots of people do buy into what Nick and Rod are pointing out.

    Its extremely dangerous for any democratic nation or society to have large swaths of disdain or worse- apathy- for its own military.

    Do we become like Rome in the waning sunset of the Imperial era and have to rely on foreigners and paid mercs to form the backbone of our Military because so few of our own citizens chose not to? That dance didn’t end well.

    Veteran unemployment is a big problem as is the dysfunctional VA system. We aren’t victims but nor should we be afraid to tell it like it is. The disconnect is growing, one just needs to look at how our own Congress acts. Sorry but wearing a flag lapel pin doesn’t make you patriotic.

    Im not big on using Hollywood to apply a Military experience. Very few can get the emotion right, the technical stuff I could care less if its accurate or not. I did chuckle watching Jack Reacher with this line though – There are four types of people who join the military. For some, it’s family trade. Others are patriots, eager to serve. Next you have those who just need a job. Than there’s the kind who want the legal means of killing other people.

    A lot of people are thankful for the service of others, a larger group are completely disconnected and some are down right turds. Asking someone “When are you getting out?” …. which is commonly heard….that’s something you ask a prisoner not a professional.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Jake75Jake don’t sweat those kinds of people. They are the same types who would say the same thing if you endeavored to sail around the world or climb a mountain solo.

  • ArcticWarrior  Very well said.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrod
    You are looking at this from a perspective of good/bad wars.  The disdain goes beyond that as the numerous personal and historical anecdotes shared in the article and the posts demonstrate.
    The fact you aren’t convinced doesn’t demonstrate a lack of evidence on my part so much as a limited perspective or  rigidity of thought on yours.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrodengelbrad
    I grew up in a NYC ghetto with the highest arson rate in the city.  I saw my first firefight from my parents bedroom window.  I’m quite familiar with the love/hate relationship people have with police, criminal and law abiding citizen.
    My comments on pay weren’t for its retention value.  Reread the paragraph, I was highlighting the minor cost even at the time of maintaining a military and explaining that that isn’t the source of the disdain I’m addressing in the essay. 
    You keep comparing your one tour in the
    military against decades of service by various individuals as well as
    the historical perspective.  Expand your left and right limits.  Just
    because you didn’t see in your six years what I, Nick and others saw as
    well as what has happened in our 237 year history it doesn’t mean it
    doesn’t exist.
    BTW as I said, I grew up in a ghetto, I’m a minority, I’ve driven very nice sports cars and never been pulled over because of racial profiling.  It’d be ridiculous for me to say it doesn’t exist.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod ArcticWarrior 
    Last things first…

    C’mon, man, you can’t be offended by that question, when people in the military are notorious for keeping count down calendars (5 and wake-up, etc.). Most conversations are of what we plan to do once out, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna that, etc. I remember we gave people who wanted to stay a hard time as well, lifers. So, when are you getting out or what are you gonna do when you get out, is a question we ask ourselves? Not everyone who joins, plans for it as a career, hence the validity of the question. 

    Jack Reacher, that’s a good line, I’ve met the family trade types (I think most of these types are officers tho’), plenty of patriots, many coming from the BSA or hs sports, people who needed a job (it was either McD’s or Wal-Mart or prison), legal means of killing each other, there were socio-paths, but think the bulk of these guys were more adventurers, people that just wanted a challenge. I was the 2nd. But I think it’s what happens in that mix that’s more important, how the McD’s types end up reading books, lifers and short-timers, etc.

    Vet unemployment is a big problem, but so is unemployment as a whole. VA, it’s area specific, but most hospitals and clinics actualyl deliver, it’s one of those knowing how to work the system deal. I agree with you re Congress, all this military pay issue can be alleviated if certain military projects were just outright cancelled. But it’s more big gov’t, bureaucracies, politics issue, than disdain.

    As for using mercs and foreign military, maybe the maj. can explain all the ins/outs of the personnel issue here. Because more people are actually turned away by recruiters these days. There’s people who want to stay in the military as careerists but are getting the boot. So the issue isn’t that less people wanna join, it’s downsizing–it happened in the 1990s, caught up with us for GWOT, now we’re back to 90s thinking again. The whole issue with Blackwater, etc. is more on the ease of drawing down manpower than anything. This actually would have been a better article–military draw downs.

    I agree with you APATHY is a lot worse than disdain.

    The public feeding the media is the ideal, but these days the media generates hysteria, misinformation, ignorance, false dilemmas, and the public responds. Everyone should just get paper subscriptions of the Economist and FT, turn everything off. I agree with you that people buy into these false dilemmas, civilian vs. military being one of them, but in the day to day interactions there’s more apathy than disdain. 

    As for Kerry’s joke, yeah I agree w/ you, but I lump that as what wealthy people say to each other, Bush and Clinton (and their progenies) finding creative ways to not be in the thick of it. Romney’s five sons not one joined the military, the list goes on. I just don’t think that regular people feel disdain for the military, if anything it’s APATHY.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMC

    I could provide a list of anecdotes of strangers buying vets in uniform beers, or girl scouts welcoming troops back, local homes inviting military for Christmas or Thanksgiving, strangers giving vets rides from the Greyhound station, etc.From there conclude that Americans love their military, but wouldn’t be a complete picture.
    Then there’s also a list of anecdotes that show the military in very bad light, through out the centuries.And we could say our military is so vicious that Americans hate them.But that wound’t be a complete picture either, as these sentiments tend to waver.
    If anything it’s APATHY.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMCengelbrad 
    I met those liberal professors too, as with anything, there has to be common grounds before you begin a constructive dialogue, give and take. The flipside to that are vets who come back thinking theirs is the only perspective in these wars–you weren’t there, shut up. 

    Two opposing views that want to remain opposed, you’ll never get anything done, and sadly the prof. runs the class. But it’s not the prof. that is important it’s the students who end up interacting with you, pro or con.

    As for history, comparing the caliber of military say in the Indian Wars or Philippine-Am. War, the Banana Wars are worlds apart. Most who joined the military then were illiterate, ill mannered types, maybe your officers were indeed gentlemen, but most rank and file were not the noblest of people, YP mentioned the black regiments being better soldiers, because they had something to prove. The public then may have had good reasons not to trust its soldiers.

    To say that the disdain towards the military men then is the same now, would be absurd. 

    I think there was tremendous disdain for the Vietnam vets, but that’s just not how America is now or was. That was a very specific time in history, outside the war, there were other things going on. Where is the disdain today? Actual disdain exhibited by Americans as a whole.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMC 
    The Dorner case I think was more an anti-police issue than an anti-military one, ie. he was the Robin Hood that everyone was secretly (some not so secretly) rooting for. He wasn’t really painted as a guy with PTSD, but a guy seeking justice. The LAPD was the bad guy in that narrative.

  • LawyerHandle

    This question is more related to issues addressed in this comment section….
    In your opinion (and anyone else who attended one of the academies or was instructor there), looking at it from purely and educational/academic perspective, how so the academies rate when compared to major state universities, in both academics and preparing one for a career outside the military?

  • ArcticWarrior

    @TeufelshundeUSMC @majrod@ArcticWarrior I had Bush the Elder, Clinton and Dub (1st term) as my CIC’s. I saw the high, the lean and the good and bad times. I remember in the 90s just doing minimum jumps for status because of the fuel costs of doing them. Promotions were slow, lots of good guys bailed at 14, 17 years etc. The economy was rough then too. It comes and goes. But we entered OEF with the Clinton military, proving that the all volunteer force could still do what it needed to do even.

    I saw my share of trucks but I also saw a larger share of very articulate and intelligent 11Bs that defied the stereotype.

    I always thought the question, matched with a certain tonal inflection, of “So what are you going to do when you get out” was a question that showed intellectual disability. Maybe it was just my pride in the blue cord, I chose that path, I wasn’t sentenced.

    Agree with you on apathy, and boy is it everywhere.

    I give Johnny Mac credit, his kids serve(d)

    I differentiate between PMCs and mercs as far as history is concerned. At one time the Pinkertons had more firearms then the US Army.

    I agree about the VA, but the navigation is something you learn the hardway. No appt??? Show up first thing and usually you can score a walk in, try for 1030 and everything is booked months out. I did volunteer work in a VA outreach group. Lots of good people trying to help and are sincere. But like any large entity a lot of bullshit, red tape and dog and pony shows. If Congress really cared they would put a boot in the ass and fix it. Although we all signed on the line fully knowing I feel Uncle Sam broke some of these people, they owe them an obligation, to fix them and if not, support them. And don’t get me started on the BS of wrangling benefits for the guys that did retire now looking at the prospect of losing what was in the contract they signed.

    I am reminded of the saying “Trust the Govt??? Ask a Native American.

    The non serving public doesn’t owe anyone jack shit, we are an all volunteer professional military. However the population at large should be furious at the treatment of vets. We are slowly drifting back towards that post Vietnam era of apathy, or worse. @Jake75  has been telling us what he has experienced in school. Something we need to reflect on.

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC ArcticWarrior Agree with a lot of that but remember he was being painted early on as some crazed SOF Ramboesque sniper who finally broke and went off the rez. Every bad stereotype, talking heads blaming it on PTSD from his naval service.

    From Michael Yon’s FB page: PTSD Stigma — (As if Dorner was in combat…)
    The US in general is clueless about PTSD. Applicants who are asked questions about PTSD should start refusing to answer, while filing lawsuits that the questions are on the table.
    Check out this nonsense:
    “Southern California police agencies could change the way they deal with veterans returning home from military service and paying more attention to post traumatic stress disorder.
    Some Southland law enforcement agencies have already begun to disqualify candidates who have been treated for PTSD during their military service.
    “”Once it’s been reported that you have been treated in the military for PTSD, in many cases you are screened out as an applicant,” said Valvincent Reyes, military liaison at the Del Amo Military and Veterans Programs in Torrance.
    “The number of questions about PTSD and what to do with returning veterans seeking law enforcement careers has risen, as deadly rampages by veterans Christopher Dorner.”
    Look at the coverage of the Marine SS’s leaking on the carcasses of dead Tal. It was like a napalm sticks to baby’s orgy. The media plastered the photos and the false outrage for what seemed like a week straight. Nobody explained that, hey, killing is down and dirty biz, the same thing has been going on for 5 thousand years. Instead they applied a selective Victorian “code” of chivalrous rules. Or the coverage of Chris Kyle’s murder. Or the coverage of any number of things any vet does – Navy yard shooter, John Allen Muhammad etc. But the same people still refuse to label that scumbag Hasan what he was, a terrorist.

  • ArcticWarrior

    TeufelshundeUSMC majrod Remember when the head of DHS, Napolitano, referred to vets as potential terrorist threats? didn’t buy her phony apology, was insulted and was crystal clear on her disdain- the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect; contempt. That was an official DHS paper. I wonder if she knew or cared how many of her own employees felt about that.

  • Sir Drinksalot

    Coming from India, a country that had a very strong warrior cultural background, with CASTES like they had in Japan, I must say we are having the same problem here.

    Due to the “progressives”, educated youth generally looks at the military in a somewhat bad light. Only people who have been drilled into it by parents who served, or who want to make a livelihood join the military. I would blame this on the progressive “soldiers are evil killers” campaign that they have going in the mass and mainstream media.

  • Sir Drinksalot

    Among all my family and friends, whenever I told anyone about joining the military, all I got from them was, ” are you crazy ? Do you wanna get yourself killed ?”


  • LawyerHandleI’d rate the academics as above state universities.  You can google a ton of info on the average SAT scores, Rhodes Scholars etc.  Keep in mind you are talking a student body of about 4000 mostly type A personalities where class size almost never exceeds 20 so there’s plenty of personal attention (there are almost zero lecture hall type classes). Most cadets are separated if they fail a class twice or fall below a 2.0 grade.  Cadets must also complete their course of instruction in four years.  There are only a handful that are allowed an extra semester to graduate and being turned back a year for academics isn’t heard of.

    The course load is heavier as there are typically more core courses (all of which must be successfully completed) and cadets have additional demands on their time that most civilian educations e.g. even non varsity cadets are required to participate on company teams and then there’s drill and such.  The summers are also pretty busy.  Cadets usually only get about two weeks to themselves in the summer.

    The course of instruction is not targeted at preparing cadets for careers outside of the military.  Some fields intersect, some don’t.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrodArcticWarrior  I think you were talking to AW not me but my point and the 0.45% essay isn’t about how the military sees itself or its service.  
    It’s about the public’s perception of the military and the choice to serve. 
    You keep talking about how the siblings see themselves when the issue is how the cousins see the siblings.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrod
    You REALLY need to look up the word apathy.  Apathy doesn’t explain an active effort to separate oneself from service members or recommend against serving.

    I can present plenty of positive incidents also.  It’s the cool thing to do right now. Are yours from 20, 40, 60 or a 100+ years ago?  Peacetime and wartime?  
    I’m trying to communicate the existence of a deep thread in American culture that not only I and a few others here recognize but nationally recognized scholars. 

    Are you so limited in your experience that you can only see our history in the light of the last three decades or in the light of current events?  Just because rap is the thing now should we say that it defines our musical tradition?
    I don’t think what I’m saying is a surprise or soul crushing.  Most don’t serve to be loved or get credit.  I don’t disagree with many of your points.  They just don’t apply to what I’m trying to convey or are immediate reactions to current events. 
    My intent is to expose American culture despite the current popularity of today’s service members so more people are aware of it.

    It might make a difference 5-10 years down the road.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrodengelbrad
    You do realize that during those periods of time MOST Americans were not educated?
    Reread my comment about the professors.  I explained their political beliefs/motivations which made their actions understandable and used them as a foil to compare the real issue I was trying to get at (the disdain of stickbrokeres).  It’s amazing how you repeatedly miss the point.

     You might need to look up the word disdain.  You seem hung up on it.  
    As for current examples, again reread my Kerry point and Nick is a young veteran.  Need more?

    That took me a 30 second google search.

    As for absurdity see my comment about racial profiling.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    “You keep talking about how the siblings see themselves when the issue is how the cousins see the siblings.”
    That’s my point, the cousins have apathy more than disdain, and I just don’t buy this sibling vs. cousins dichotomy, if we’re guilty of this “disdain” ourselves, can we fault others for it? Kinda like the word nigga, blacks can use it, but when others say it, it’s off limits. As for siblings, WWII vets had disdain for Vietnam vets–they thought they were crazy. 
    If there is disdain it’s from people like Kerry, Romneys, Bush, Cheneys, etc. than it is from the general public. But again, that’s something recent, in the 1800s vanguard families were expected to serve. The ebbs and flows are connected to each conflicts popularity.

    “Apathy doesn’t explain an active effort to separate oneself from service members or recommend against serving.”
    Separating yourself from military types or recommend against serving isn’t necessarily disdain is my point. Like I said my initial response to hs kids who want to join is usually go to college, or go into the reserves and go to college. It’s not because I have disdain, I’m just being practical. I know WWII and Vietnam vets that don’t belong to any veteran organizations.

    “Are you so limited in your experience that you can only see our history in the light of the last three decades or in the light of current events?” 
    I’m just not easily convince with the history part. Our military today is not the military of the 1770s, a lot happened in between that produced the professional military of today. So to say that this disdain is rooted in our culture, the military had to be a consistent entity and it just wasn’t.

    “You might need to look up the word disdain.  You seem hung up on it. ”
    No I get the word, ie. most people have disdain for illegal immigrants especially ones who lack skills. I think our current vanguard families have this disdain, but not the general public. 
    MSNBC’s Chris Hayes would have this disdain, the guy’s a douche, Berkeley? that’s a given, Recruiters in HS (my cross country coach used to get a lot of flack from the other teachers),  Petraeus getting heckled, these are specific cases that in context is understandable, Chris Hayes, Berkeley, anti-war student groups, it’s what they do. The recruiters in HS and the parent/teach push back is an issue I support, not everyone had the luxury I had, recruiters just can’t be trusted.
    Certain segments of academia, the media, politicians, the population will have this disdain, I’m sure, I’m just saying this sentiment wavers than it is an intrinsic part of who we are. Anti-gov’t would probably be a more recognizable cultural trait. 
    For the most part, the way this country deals with individuals, has always been one of equal footing.

    Change the word veteran or soldier to Afro-American, or LGBT, and you get one of those articles. That’s my issue here, because then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarrior TeufelshundeUSMC
    ” Some Southland law enforcement agencies have already begun to disqualify candidates who have been treated for PTSD during their military service. ”  
    The idea that most people who go thru trauma actually rise and become stronger needs to be put out there. Then you got physical trauma, ie head, that cause behaviour problems. Those two need to be differentiated.

    There’s a bunch of people getting psych disabilities right now, and a bunch of nurses, administrators, social workers are slanging this program to perfectly healthy individuals. I have no idea why, do they need to deplete this fund w/in a certain amount of time?

    Gaming the VA for disability is a bad idea for people who eventually want to move on to LE, FD, fed type work.

    “I am reminded of the saying “Trust the Govt??? Ask a Native American.”

    Exactly, man. I prefer Col. Ludlow’s “SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEW the Government!!!”

  • LawyerHandle

    Thanks for the reply… What are some of the more popular majors offered? And how many go on to attend one of the graduate programs?

  • LawyerHandle I’d have to research to give you latest stats.  International Affairs/National Security was my concentration.  Strategic studies is a relatively new one that is making a big splash but I suspect it’s the same thing with a different name with more focus on terror (my study was focused on cold war threats and Latin america).  
    There’s a pretty good smattering of engineer majors, math, sciences, computers, history, languages, psychology just like I would expect you’d see at a civilian school.
    The Academies do not offer grad school programs.  All the grads I knew that reached Major had graduate degrees from other institutions but that is expected in the Army anyway.  I would expect the overwhelming majority of grads pursue higher education.  I don’t know any classmates that didn’t.

  • LawyerHandle

    OK, that makes sense. After reading your reply I came across this packet that discusses grad school option in detail. What percentage of officers reaching Major and beyond attend grad school?
    With respect to the topic of the general civilian view of soldiers, do you think the Army does a good job of explaining/promoting the educational opportunities available to recruits and/or the educational background and achievements of active duty personnel?

  • LawyerHandle Past Major it’s just about an unofficial requirement to have a masters.  I don’t think I’ve heard of one without one.
    There are not that many educational opportunities for enlisted besides making money to pay for college.  Yes, there are opportunities to go to school while serving but at least in the Army it’s incredibly difficult with mission requirements, family responsibilities etc.  Possible but VERY hard.

    As for officers I think it’s advertised enough.  My personal opinion is you become an officer to serve not to get advanced degrees.  One of the problems I have with the new Army is a lot of “me” instead of “we”.

  • YankeePapa

    majrod LawyerHandle ,
    …Speaking of officers thinking of others… Chuck Yeager hit with nuisance suit from homeowners association… Probably slam dunk for his atty.
    …Yeager said he has seen more interesting cases, like the time he
    presided over a court-martial of Air Force Col. Jack Broughton, who was
    charged along with two of his pilots who strafed a Soviet ship during
    the Vietnam War of violating their rules of engagement.

    “…He was saying, ‘Hey, you shoot at me, I’ll shoot back,'” Yeager
    recalled. “It really got out of hand, and they wanted to court-martial
    old Jack, and so they put me on as the head of the board and I said,
    ‘This is stupid,’ so we excused him.”

    “Everybody was ducking for cover,” Yeager’s wife, Victoria, said.
    “Somebody had to save his (rear end),” Yeager said, “and we did.”


  • Rosie O’Donnell’s comments about her som choosing a military college, the Citadel.

  • ArcticWarrior

    majrod  “Why, honey? Why do you want to do –‘ He said, only in America, mom, could somebody like you who came from a horrible childhood, grow up and adopt kids like me who needed a family and I owe something to this country.” And I said, “No, my son. You owe something to me.”Kind of sums it all up doesn’t?
    Don’t forget that POS who threw the vet and his service dog out of a Starbucks

  • TeufelshundeUSMC majrod  
    “But again, that’s something recent, in the 1800s vanguard families were
    expected to serve.”
    No they were generally not.  You have an incorrect understanding of the historical standards/mores of our country.  The only times service was expected was during times of conflict.  Those that served during peacetime were the exception and not generally looked upon positively.

    to say that this disdain is rooted in our culture, the military had to
    be a consistent entity and it just wasn’t.” and your comments ref what “some” service members say about the service as justification for those that haven’t served to have similar opinions.
    You continue to miss the point about the essay and the debate.  It’s not about the military.  It’s about those who don’t wear the uniform.  America…

    “Like I said my initial response to hs kids who want to join is usually
    go to college, or go into the reserves and go to college. It’s not
    because I have disdain, I’m just being practical.”
    This isn’t about you (for the second or third time).  It’s about America’s culture.  Having served you aren’t part of the 99% that haven’t served during GWOT or the 92% of Americans that have NEVER served.  You continue to look at this issue from a very limited personal perspective. 

    “Petraeus getting heckled, these are specific cases that in context is
    “The recruiters in HS and the parent/teach push back is an
    issue I support”
    “recruiters just
    can’t be trusted.”
    These are just excerpts from your last post but they occur through many of your comments.  You’ve communicated your position.  You’ve asked for examples and explanation which I have supplied copiously but nothing I’m going to say is going to even cause you to question your position.  This is a repeated phenomena in your posts here.  You have succeeded in wasting my time.  There’s nothing left to discuss.

  • YankeePapa

    …In one thing I wish her well.  I hope that she never hears any bad news about her adopted son.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrod TeufelshundeUSMC  ” It’s about America’s culture.  Having served you aren’t part of the 99% that haven’t served during GWOT or the 92% of Americans that have NEVER served.  You continue to look at this issue from a very limited personal perspective. ”

    I guess that’s my point, why the double standards? For those who’ve served and tell people go to college (I’m not the only one, plenty of former service members advice going to college instead) it’s not disdain, but if you’ve never served and advice similar, it is?

    ” You continue to miss the point about the essay and the debate.  It’s not about the military.  It’s about those who don’t wear the uniform.  America… ”
    I get ur point. I’m just saying there’s somewhat of a double standard being applied, which undermines (a little or a lot, it depends here to the reader) the entire premise.

  • roxie22

    Glad to have discovered this site. I first read Major Rod’s articles and comments over on SOFREP and the Major has opened my eyes on a few topics over the last year. I usually don’t post because I don’t feel I have anything to add to the discussion as I am here to learn but I did want to post this for those who might be interested.
    Please keep elevating these kinds of concerns and topics that are important because even when you feel like you have elevated it as much as you can, over and over again- you never know when it will resonate with someone new!
    For instance after reading this article I looked up a young man that I knew when he was only 16-18 years old when he was working for my husband on the farm and helping us build our house. He was small for his age and very very shy and though I knew he wanted to be a Marine, I was terrified that he would get “eaten up”by military service. This young guy only ever wanted to join the Marines which he did immediately after high school, he trained for a full year before he went in and was in excellent shape when he left for boot camp. When he came back from his first year of service he wasnt shy anymore and he was strong as ever! I turned out to be very wrong about the whole experience!
    My point is that I had to look him up, now 6 years later because at the time I only ever tried to talk him out of joining the USMC. I was very proud of him but wanted him to “stay safe” and in a way I wanted him to stay frozen in time, not grow up and stay my” little Zachary”, as I viewed him as a little brother. Still I realize now how unsupportive and disheartening I was for him at a time when I should have told him I was proud of him and respected whatever decision he made. So I sent him a note to tell him that now – it is too late but hopefully in some small way it makes a difference to him to know that I understand better now what I didn’t then.
    I’m very interested in finding ways for the disdain to not be perpetuated and want to be part of the solution. While I have never felt disdain in my heart I can see where my words conveyed the opposite and have to be mindful of that too.
    Live and learn. Thanks for the article!

  • ArcticWarrior

    Its never to late … I still tell guys from Korea and RVN how priviledged I was to follow in their footsteps and how hard it was to live up to the standards they set being they set the bar that high.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    This was an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. I’m not an expert with Army culture, but I do know that there are different boot camps for different specialties. In the Marines, you have Parris Island and San Diego, and there’s consistency. So much so that Marines after doing their time will talk about this shared experience, as a means of bonding, networking & vetting–it’s the common ground. Most colleagues from other branches, I noticed, don’t really talk about boot camp as much. We’re the only ones that talk about it with a certain level of nostalgia and laughter.

    I like your last sentence about conveying the opposite, as I think the bulk of this article is highly interpretive– that’s been my point all along. 

    For example, the vet drama with his service dog in Starbucks, I would’ve reacted the same, being from CA I’m sick and tired of dogs going into restaurants or other establishments, by extension of poop everywhere. If I don’t see an actual handicap, I’m gonna assume they’re doing the service dog trick (like the handicap parking placard trick). Is that necessarily “disdain”, nope I just think dogs belong outside and all these toy dogs should all be shot, at least here in CA.

    As for Rosie O’Donell saying her son owes her, 

    I don’t know what she herself meant, but I’ve heard these similar sentiments conveyed in other families, ie. blood runs thicker than water. I don’t agree with that opinion, but I can see how it’s valid and not necessarily “disdain”, it may be anti-military, or anti-gov’t (ie. why risk your life for the adventures of old men?) or more dangerous un-patriotic. 

    But I’ve seen this risk mitigation thru guilt of family duty used before, in which the compromise was, Why don’t you serve your country thru the Peace Corps or Teach America, etc.? That’s not “disdain”.

    Again this word in the context here is highly interpretive, disdain to some, may not necessarily be disdain to others.

  • YankeePapa

    …Quite often,  the smallest recruit in his platoon at boot camp is made the “house mouse” for the D.I.s.  He would keep up the duty hut where, after hours the D.I. on overnight duty would sleep.  This in no way interfered with that recruit’s duty and would earn him no slack on the drill field.  On the other hand, if that recruit showed up with a black eye and a bloody nose from a bully in the platoon… the sun would catch fire… 

  • roxie22 Thanks for your very kind comments.  Check out the called Grunts and let me know your thoughts (there are threads for each section).

    My essay isn’t about your resistance to Zachary’s service which sounds more focused on his well being than that type of service being below him.  It’s very human to not want someone you know to not be hurt or not wanting kids to grow up quickly (or at all).
    My comments and the original 0.45% essay address the phenomena where Americans look down on military service.  It’s not as obvious right now because of the current fad to be thankful of our vets but it exists and will grow stronger as our 237 year history demonstrates.

  • roxie22

    majrod roxie22 Yes I understand that the article is about the American public looking down on military service. And I kind of took off in two different directions with my response (I tend to do that when my mind takes off ahead of my fingers!)   🙂

    First the issue of looking down on military service is one that from my perspective, seems to be a very real one not only for the person just joining, or active military but also for those coming home or “getting out.”  And I could probably write another small essay on the many ways that I see that as an issue but chief among them is the perception that there is a HUGE gap between military and non military and worse yet… the perception that nothing can close whatever gap may exist.

    An example of how I see that happening even right now – to give an idea about the area where I  live –  midwest not near a military base so unless a person chooses to tell you about his or her service you might never know.  We never walk into pubic places and see men and women in uniform.  So when I decided that it was important for me to learn about the military and our veterans and take real action to support them, I was met with resistance from almost everyone in my life with the exception of my husband and mother.  All of my friends responded with “why?” and “what would you talk to a veteran/ active duty service member about – you’ll have nothing in common!?”

    By the way if I polled my friends and asked them “do you support the military?” They would all say yes.  But to ask them to reach out in any way to a active duty service member – apparently very intimidating.  (Fortunately for me I was too naive to be intimidated!  I just assumed it would not be difficult at all – and you know what?  it wasn’t! & it wasn’t for lack of mistakes and blunders and foot in mouth moments from me!)

    Military seems to be a mystery around here – and probably speaks to the portion of the population that ArticWarrior referenced – which don’t know anything about the military. 

    For that population I think it is up to both sides to make the effort.  Military folks have to be willing to share with those who want to learn and want to be educated about the issues that exist (just as many of you do right here on forums like this!).  And the civilian folks have to take a doggone interest!  There are ways of learning – I am proof.  I am still learning –  but I know its possible and I feel it is absolutely necessary for our nation’s future for both military and non military to have a sense of cohesion and not division.

    The other thing that I was thinking with my original post, and trying to convey – is that my comments to Zach probably felt like I was giving my disapproval rather than supporting his choice.  

    While I and many other, well meaning folks can think that by saying, “oh can’t you pick another career?”  might seem like concern to us  – to the young man or woman who has painstakingly made that decision to join the military – it might feel like disdain or at a minimum – lack of support for a very honorable choice.  And there is probably a better choice of words and a better way to verbally express concern for safety while respecting and honoring the decision to serve.

    To take that a step further – what happens for the guy who feels like his decision to join the military was met with only resistance ( no matter how well meaning it may be), that no one except those also in the military understand his choice, then serves his country and feels that no one at home understands what he has lived through, then gets out of the military and begins the journey to re-join the civilian world and feels that he is again not understood or worse yet looked down upon because of other people’s lack of understanding about the entire military?   Maybe that plays it out to an extreme but it was something that ran through my mind when I read the .45% essay.

    Hopefully some of that makes sense? 🙂 and MajorRod – I will read the sections you’ve asked me to next

  • roxie22

    ArcticWarrior  You must be right AW! – maybe it’s never too late!  Zach messaged me back and thanked me for getting in touch with him and said it meant a lot for me to tell him what I should have said before!

  • ArcticWarrior

    roxie22 majrod

  • ArcticWarrior roxie22majrod 
    Yes, I can identify.  Happens on line ALL the time also.
    Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, Nick (the vet’s inner monologue) is the fella that originally wrote the 0.45%.

  • ArcticWarrior

    majrod ArcticWarriorroxie22 Nick has a lot of good stuff. If anybody out there hasn’t, check out all the RU videos and op-ed pieces.

  • roxie22

    ArcticWarrior majrodroxie22 That video IS hilarious!  Thanks for sharing – it looks like all of the Ranger Up stuff is equally as funny….and scary at the same time! 

    I can’t believe that stuff is actually said on a regular basis – and it must be or those videos wouldn’t have been made!  I just can’t imagine asking someone any of those questions?! geez…

  • YankeePapa

    …As of now, some States have silly rules that make it hard for some vets, who are in fact State residents to claim residency for tuition purposes… because of time that they spent away.  Legislation underway at this time to deal with the problem..
    “…Oh that, it’s for what I did the last time some guy confused my uniform with that of a doorman…”   
    …When I returned from RVN at the end of 1969 I looked about 15.  Home on leave… only time that I ever wore my dress blues out in civilian world… Buddy and his wife and my girlfriend and I went to a very nice restaurant on the water.  
    …Waitress came up, looked at me, my blues, and my ribbons and said, “Oh, are you in a military school…?”  Day before I had picked up uniform from neighborhood cleaners.  They did a good job, but didn’t get a lot of military business.  Woman in late middle ages said, “Here’s yer soljer suit…”

  • MartyStewart

    Interesting Article and comments.  Enlisting in the Army in 1964, I had the experience of going through Basic Training at Fort Knox KY.  Many of my fellow trainees were indeed Juvenile Delinquents who were given the choice of serving some time in Prison or going into the Army.  Most adapted quite well and many went on to serve in Vietnam.  I volunteered to serve in Vietnam and returned in December 1966.  A great deal of animosity was displayed towards returning Service Men and Women, but mostly from those of a similar age, my Sister among them.  Some 47 years since my return from Vietnam, I still have very little to say to my Sister.

  • MartyStewart I imagine it’s a very deep wound.

    Thanks for visiting the blog.

  • MartyStewart

    Will, Thanks for your kind response.  I will make it  point to visit your Blog frequently….Stew

  • YankeePapa

    MartyStewart ,
    …I became a Marine infantryman in 1968.  Sister six years older than me.  Sent me a letter while I was in RVN from her saying that if I got killed it would be my own fault for getting involved in such an “unjust cause…”  I might have had my feelings hurt, except we never got along in the first place… 

  • MartyStewart

    YankeePapa – Not sure I like this posting format.  I have had my comments deleted twice after hitting the Enter key.  Anyway, as I was trying to say, my Sister’s reactions to me were not as drastic as yours.  She just would not acknowledge my presence if I was in Uniform. Her contempt of the Military was very vocal and all.  I spent most of my Military Career at Overseas Posts, so I never had to suffer her ignorance very often.  Stew

  • YankeePapa

    MartyStewart ,
    …Only time that I have had problem entering was when carrier went off-line.  For really long-winded postings I would save before entering, just in case… Yesterday carrier (Cable One) down for more than an hour…
    …My sister an actual communist… not just a parlor pink.  From six years in the mountains of South America to being a college professor.  At least she has been out there.  

  • MartyStewart Sorry about your issues.  I like a lot of the functionality (e-mail alerts, bio, a cache of posts w/links to the story)  and it has been selected by some other sites I visit regularly.  It’s generally been reliable.

  • TrueBlue85

    I have personally dealt with public animosity toward veterans.
    I myself come from a long line of grunts. I grew up with a great uncle who was a rifleman in the 1st ID that stormed Omaha beach and another great uncle that was a marine that fought in the chosin resivore. I trace my lineage back to the civil war as far as being an Infantryman is concerned. So obviously, the only people in the world that I held a high regard for was the Grunt. My only hero’s have only been Grunt’s. So when I was 17 I fought hard with my mother about how important it was to be an Infantryman, it took a lot of bickering and explaining until my mother finally decided to sign the release for me to join. When I finally arrived at Fort Benning I wanted to cry, it was thus far the pinnacle of my life and I was overcome with emotion that I was stepping onto Holy ground, sacred ground where America’s most daring and brave have once stepped. I loved every second there and hoped that I could prove myself in battle just as my forefathers have. When I graduated and got my cross rifles, I was finally a man, according to my uncles standards. I was assigned to 2nd battalion 2nd Infantry regiment 1st ID. I was shocked and thrilled to be apart of my uncle’s Alumni. Finally when 2004 rolled around they sent us to Iraq, our most notorious battle was in Fallujah(nov2004) code named Operation Phantom Fury, for which we received the Pres.Unit.Citation. The battle itself was a military success but we drew a lot of unwanted attention from the public.
    A lot of the public condemned us for something they knew nothing about. I was torn that our own people cared more for monsters and thugs and persecuted us purging a  4000 strong insurgent force. Nonetheless the lengthy combat tour had left me almost crippled and upset that our own sided against us. I still had the fortitude to get my EIB and help cherry grunt’s become battle ready. When I got out I found myself in college (birthplace of Marxist idealism)
    and became the target for quasi political debates (as if I care what brown nosing politicians think). I couldn’t believe how many people resented me.(secretly I thought of them as scummy over privileged brats). I found myself in a depressing place, I just wanted to move on and be successful. I played scenario’s over and over in my head trying to figure out what I did wrong and to this day I still would have served. There is a very terrible stigma being ingrained into American society through schools and media. I feel terrible that I can’t immediately debunk them, but I do what I can to let people know we aren’t fearless robots, we get scared but we face our fears for eachother. We’re not mindless killer’s we have a soft spot for the weak and the underdog, we liberate people not destroy them. Sorry my post is so long and emotional, I just fear our men and women still serving will be degraded and discredited for such an amazing feat in their life. All service men and women past-present-future deserve respect for doing the extraordinary. We as the Infantry community have an obligation to help keep the espirit-de-corps ripe for our younger serving generation. Thank you Grunt’s for all you have done.

  • RickASanders

    TrueBlue85 ty