(This is a re-hash from Dec 2007 blog of mine...updated a bit.)
From the Soldier side: When asked: "Ci-Roller Dude...What is a “VET”. There are legal definitions and there are definitions that Vets themselves may give. I’ll go with my opinion, since anyone can go look up the legal version.
I’ll break it into a few “groups” because that’s the way my mind works:
1. Combat/war vet. This person has actually been in a war zone. In past wars, only a few were actually involved in true combat. In more recent wars, like Iraq, the combat seems to land almost anywhere in the form of a random mortar or rifle round. What goes up, must come down.
Sometimes they random rounds land on some camp or FOB and scare the fobbits. I have friends who were in many gun battles, I on the other hand was just a live target for some Hajji Insurgent and never got to return fire...which really pissed me off.
2. Non-war vet. This person had enlisted into the service to defend and protect his/her country but just happened to be in when there was no war going on…or, their job didn’t require them to go off to a real war. This was me for my first enlistment in the regular Army... I spent 2 years in West Berlin, German. (Great party place!)
There are some who do things that require more guts than I have, like USCG rescue units. I’d rather walk into Baghdad in my PT uniform than jump into the ocean to save someone. Those who didn't go to war may not be able to join the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) but they can join the American Legion.)
3. Reserve/ Active duty? In this day and age, the fact that someone is in a reserve or national guard unit doesn’t seem to matter...Uncle Sam is calling up all hands. The MOS (job) they hold doesn’t seem to matter…anyone can go to a war zone and become a full fledged combat vet. We had cooks and others who had an MOS that was not needed, so they turned them into our security teams. We had these “non-combat” solders driving into hell daily. They were performing infantry duties, and some were even woman. All the ones I worked with, did a hell of a great job.
4. A VETERAN Whether on active duty, retired, national guard or reserve, is someone who,at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America, " for an amount of "up to and including my life." That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
As I've mentioned in past postings, there are also those "fake vets" out there. The ones who have never gone to war, but make some outlandish claims. There are some who have gone to war, but make up things to make themselves sound more important. Like the cook who deployed to Iraq with us... who was not even cooking, we're not sure what he did. But when he returned to his home National Guard unit, he made claims for all kinds of awards. He claimed he was in several battles, got wounded etc. He never ever left Camp Victory in Baghdad. What a puke.
Now, there’s a group I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll talk about again. This is the “worm” group. They hold an MOS where they are in desperate need in places like Iraq, Kosovo, Afganastan, etc, but they have wormed their way out of deployments. They still get promoted, but never deploy. They are not a Vet in any sense of the word and are worms in my opinion. There are many people who hold my MOS who’ve never deployed. I’ve gone twice and they may want me to go again.
Today's photo is some lads in the USMC firing a "warning shot" at some suspected insurgents. A waring shot with a mortar...I thought that was clever. I was in the "TOC" (Tactical Operation Center) when the OP (Observation Post) called in: "We have movement of vehicles and hajjis...they're out of range of our rifles."
The CO called his mortar platoon leader, showed the location on the map and asked: "can you put a warning shot a few hundred meters from these assholes?"
The mortar platoon leader said: "sure" and a short time later you heard the rounds going out.
That was a great day. Firing a warning shot with mortars...