04 June 2010

It's not the dumb questions, it's the lack of seeming to give a .....

From the Soldier side: Since I returned to California from serving in Iraq & Bosnia, I've learned more each day about how to help others who've been to war to cope with life. As I've talked about before, one of the most annoying things civilians do is to ask some pretty dumbass questions. It's not really the dumbass questions that I personally find so annoying, but so many times the person ask the question, but they don’t really seem to want an answer.

I still recall while working at the Police Department I used to work. When I returned from Bosnia, one of the “Desk Jockey Admin Pukes” (DJAP) asked me: “How was Kosovo?”

I responded by looking at him and saying: “I don’t know, I was in Bosnia.” Then he proceeded to tell me how he knew what I had gone through because he did a year of ROTC in college 30 years ago. Wow, no shit? I was impressed. A year of ROTC in college compares to what?

I was pretty sure he was a retard before that…but his comments sealed the proof. When I returned from Iraq, I waited for him to ask me how Afghanistan was.

I’ve learned to answer the common question: “What was in like in Iraq?” with: “It sucked and it was hot and dry.”
Ahh!  The fresh smell of Fallujah in Dec 2004

Most people really don’t want to hear that everything smelled like camel shit and sand got into everything. But to tell you the truth, I really didn’t mind being there….they expect me to whine about it, but I liked it. (not that I’d want to go again.)

But the thing I seem to find the most annoying is when somebody tells me of a relative…usually a nephew or niece, that: “Is in the military and going to…uh…er….I think Iraq.”

I often ask: “What branch of the military?” So often they have no friggen idea. I just look at them and suggest: “Don’t you think you should find out….maybe send them a care package or something?”

For some reason, I can’t figure out how somebody can’t know if a relative is in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. Those things are kind of important to some of us.

I guess what my point is, if you are going to act like you “support the troops”, then figure out at least what branch they’re in and where they’re going. I wouldn’t even expect some to actually think that there are different jobs in the military.

The other funny thing I’ve noticed is; so many folks in the United States have no idea where other countries are. One person I know asked me before I deployed to Bosnia: “Isn’t it hot there?”

I looked at her with a puzzled expression and said: “Well, it’s kind of like Truckee, CA with landmines.”

She said: “I thought it was in Africa.”

Oh, what is the problem with our citizens.
OK, to help with that a little, I’ve included a little link here:




Anonymous said...

I was on post today for a job related purpose. As I drove in the main gate...I noticed a young mom with a couple kids in the car. Nothing unusual...except she was leaving the widow and orphan parking lot. I almost had to pull over...my eyes were too wet to see very well. The thought actually crossed my mind to stop traffic and go give her a hug. Dammit, they aren't just strangers or names on a list...they are our own.

Saker said...

Well... we're the reason they can afford to not care. We're the reason that the average American's life is never affected by the bad guys, even when those bad guys are closer than they know.

And there are so many good people, too. The few times I've had to go through an airport in my ACUs, so many people have said 'thank you' just because I'm wearing the uniform. I end up so embarrassed and humbled that I want to melt into a little puddle on the floor and disappear.

Paxford said...

Is world geography actually taught in your schools over there?


Anonymous said...

1. There's another side to that when you're a dumbass 20 year old kid.
2. People assumed I was an expert on VN, as I'd been there.
3. My typical answer to questions about the topic was: "I don't know."
4. Did some research to avoid being considered a complete dumdum.
5. Learned a lot more by way of becoming a military professional.
6. End result: know a heck of a lot more about the place and what I was doing now than I did back then.
7. None of us were idiots. We were young, fit and pretty good at operating in a very specific set of circumstances.
8. A lot of the skills weren't transferable, once we left the place.
9. With my 20/20 hindsight, see the military engaging the new enemy with tactics from the old conflict every time.
10. The standard, inappropriate question was asked of me hundreds of times by my troops.
11. An honest answer by almost everybody in my unit would have been: "I don't know."
12. You pretty much had to be there to understand that.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

Sorry I couldn't respond sooner, but was busy being a weekend warrior. This weekend was so exciting and stories I'll have to tell soon.

Anonm, Nice story.

Saker, I still can't think of a witty response to "thanks for your service." I'm sure I'll think of something about the time people stop saying it. I am thankful they say it...we're treated much better than Mr West was when he came back from Nam.

I guess our schools stopped teaching most useful stuff.

Mr West, I actually learned more about Bosnia and Iraq after I left those fine places than I knew when I was there! The scary part is when I was there, I was supposed to be some kind of "expert" on the places, but our training was pretty useless before deploying.
When I went through Grunt school at Ft Polk, LA in the mid 70's, they were still training us to fight in Nam...then I was sent to West Berlin.

Later, we trained how to fight in Europe, then went to the desert.
Always training for the last war...

Kristina Divine said...

Be somewhat gentle on the teachers... they are given a wagon full of disrespectful children that have never been held responsible for anything by their parents while being spoiled rotten in American "The Land Of Abundance." They do it all with unrealistic expectations by the state with no money. Magic wands are only handed out to about 1 in every 1,000 teachers.

As far as saying "Thank you for your service" would you rather a few moments of being uncomfortable or being completely ignored? It's got to be kinda nice to know someone actually takes the time to thank you for doing something they aren't willing to do... even if they can't the a country on the map.

CI-Roller Dude said...

KD, If it wasn't for good teachers, I would not be able to rite dis' here blog.
When I think back on my life, the people who've made the biggest impact on me were teachers-- not just in public schools, but in police work and the Army.
It takes a special person to be able to transfer knowledge to others...regardless of the age of the student.
What impresses me the most about school teachers is that they don't give up! They keep going back into battle every year...over and over again.

Teachers, the good ones, are on my hero list. They always have been.
Thanks for YOUR service.

(Now that you're blushing and all and can't think of a response... what do you say?)

I do like it when strangers say: "Thank you for your service"...I just blush and don't know what to say because I just did what I had to do. I didn't do anything special...and actually, it was all kind of cool.

So I should say:"Thanks for letting me go?"

Jay said...

The simple response for "Thank you for your service" would probably be "Thank you for your support" that way everyone gets to be very thankful.

CI-Roller Dude said...

That's the best response, thanks for your support.