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Veterans Understand This


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I came upon this and since I live next to Barksdale AFB, I experience this at least weekly. There are folks who never fit in and will never understand. My fellow vets will.

 

"The military experience made us the ethical persons we are and gave us a great sense of understanding of the people around us. Like it or not it gave us an experience we will never forget.

 

Occasionally, I venture back to NAS, Meridian, where I'm greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card, hands it back and says, "Have a good day, Sr. Chief".

 

Every time I go back to any Navy Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, many years ago.

 

The military is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced - a place where everybody is busy, but not too busy to take care of business. Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.

 

Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served and for enlisted, how many years service they have served to date.

 

I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line military formation that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.

 

I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the tarmac, the bark of drill instructors and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

 

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business -- especially in times of war.

I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we criss-crossed with a "by your leave sir".

 

I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds. The same while on carrier duty.

 

I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever know or admit.

 

I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

 

I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.

 

Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.

I wish I could express my thoughts even better about something I loved -- and hated sometimes.

 

Face it guys - we all miss it...Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life."

Author unknown.

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Good one, Derek. My son is learning this as we speak...

 

And... its funny... but we have been close to Ellsworth AFB all summer long... B-1 bombers in the air... small town (Rapid City, SD) with a military base presence... and it sure has felt comfortable. I will miss the fatigues, courtesy, and aircraft when we leave tomorrow.

Jim

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I don't really miss the military service but if a warring nation invades our soil; I would be one of the ones who would voluntarily want to reenlist to help keep the USA safe. Yes; I remeber the Oath i swore to and I nver swore off it. ;) ;) I feel sorry for the young people that can't deal with the discipline it takes to become upstanding citizens and have the respect we military veterans have for our nation!

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I was thinking about this thread today when I went on Base to pick up my prescription refills. I chatted briefly with the SF at the gate enjoyably. The base Perimeter road runs around the North end of the flight line, and then goes right through the middle of the Barksdale Global power museum aircraft on outdoor static display. For those fans of the aircraft, and those from other branches there is an online virtual tour to be taken onsite walking through the outdoor displays. There are more than 21 Aircraft on display an on the online tour you can click on each then click on the picture to see the picture full screen. Press escape to go back to regular screen. You can click on audio and get a nice description of the aircraft and its history. On each page as well, there is a link to a YouTube video for those with lots of bandwidth. http://myoncell.mobi/stops.php?acct_num=13185193083 so every time I go on base from home I drive right through the history of the USAF. On the way in, it is one way a block from the flight line. ON the way back the one way street parallels the flight line and I pass lots of BUFFs (Big Ugly Fat F***ers - B-52s) and age equipment. Barksdale is the HQ of the US Global Strike Command, 8th AF, and the 2nd bomb wing. http://www.barksdale.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4409

Until this thread I didn't realize what I'd been taking for granted just driving to the Commissary and BX, Base Clinic and Pharmacy. If any SKPs are passing through who are retired we have a great FamCamp on base. Anyone passing through I'd be proud to escort my friends from here and sponsor the non retirees and Civvies through the museum displays.

 

I hear ya Rope!

 

Ron,

I would not take back one minute of my 27 years service with the AF. I would not go back for one minute either! ;)

 

Jim,

I am glad for him, and envy him the youth to go through those combined rites of passage leading up to committing to the life of the military professionals, or to a career in the civilian sector, wiser for the maturity some learn with us either way.

 

Late. Nite guys. Huah

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I left when it wasn't fun anymore. We all know when it's time. I avoided civil service and just took off to decompress, RVing fulltime for seven years immediately on retirement at 45. I don't miss being active duty today. But sure was part of the AF family until I just wasn't feeling the desire to do it any longer.

 

I do love watching the takeoffs and landings. And the gung ho spirit we still see.

 

That is created by the NCOIC, the chief, and the commander of each unit in a squadron. There are high morale units surrounded by low morale units everywhere including civilian life. I choose to continue to support my replacements in every way I can.

 

I remember the old "brown shoe" AF guys saying the same thing in 1971 when I first enlisted about us. We did fine anyway.

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I miss it now, but back then, i first enlisted during the tail end of vietnam, got lucky didn't go there. during my enlistment, war ended, an at that point the army was not fun anymore. During the war time, nobody cared if your mustache touched your lips or hair hit ya ears. after that, it was like wonder what day im going to get busted down in rank for having hair touch ears or something stupid. as we all remember Article 15. lol

But did meet some awesome Life long friends, But like one poster said, lots of BS. Hurry Up an Wait. But being a Vet. shaped us for who we became.

Back then being a vet you kept quiet abt it, nowadays, so totally different.

But if i had to do it all over again, you would see me at the AFFEE'S Building standing with rest of us waiting to take the OATH.

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From what I have been told by RECENT military retired folks. We are in DEEP S**T with our new military! You may not know if you are dealing with a male or female or what combination. Whatever they call themselves. Poor training and less prepared to win whatever we get into a police action or perhaps an all out war that the US public has no desire to be involved in today or tomorrow until it is too late. We will face a local homeland war condition that we as a nation have not faced since the civil war.

 

Safe Travels! Always Be On The ALERT!

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From what I have been told by RECENT military retired folks. We are in DEEP S**T with our new military! You may not know if you are dealing with a male or female or what combination. Whatever they call themselves. Poor training and less prepared to win whatever we get into a police action or perhaps an all out war that the US public has no desire to be involved in today or tomorrow until it is too late. We will face a local homeland war condition that we as a nation have not faced since the civil war.

 

Safe Travels! Always Be On The ALERT!

 

I have worn a uniform for this country for many years. More recently, I worked as a civilian for five years with our military in Iraq and Afghanistan and my view is a bit different than your “recently retired friends” and obviously yours.

 

I don’t know how many combat tours you served sir. . . but many of the soldiers I worked with were on their fourth, fifth, and sixth tours. And most were not volunteering for those assignments. Our current military is stretched so thin, multiple combat tours are a requirement. And these men and women “showed up”.

 

These are some of the finest men and women I have ever come across. My work took me mainly to Forward Operating Bases. So the military I worked with were not sitting in the relative safety of the Green Zone or Bagram.

 

 

I really don’t think you meant to offend anyone and judging from your signature, you appear to be a proud veteran. I thank you for your service. I take no offense, but I must stand up and say that I do in fact take offense at your comments on our current military. They deserve better than that from a fellow Airman.

 

You owe them an apology.

 

Jim

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I came upon this and since I live next to Barksdale AFB, I experience this at least weekly. There are folks who never fit in and will never understand. My fellow vets will.

 

"The military experience made us the ethical persons we are and gave us a great sense of understanding of the people around us. Like it or not it gave us an experience we will never forget.

 

Occasionally, I venture back to NAS, Meridian, where I'm greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card, hands it back and says, "Have a good day, Sr. Chief".

 

Every time I go back to any Navy Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, many years ago.

 

The military is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced - a place where everybody is busy, but not too busy to take care of business. Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

 

Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.

 

Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served and for enlisted, how many years service they have served to date.

 

I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line military formation that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.

 

I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the tarmac, the bark of drill instructors and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

 

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business -- especially in times of war.

 

I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we criss-crossed with a "by your leave sir".

 

I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds. The same while on carrier duty.

 

I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever know or admit.

 

I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

 

I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.

 

Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.

 

I wish I could express my thoughts even better about something I loved -- and hated sometimes.

 

Face it guys - we all miss it...Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life."

 

Author unknown.

Its funny Derek, we have disagreed over many things over the years, but I'm completely on board with this.

 

 

Go Navy!!

 

Geo

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From what I have been told by RECENT military retired folks. We are in DEEP S**T with our new military! You may not know if you are dealing with a male or female or what combination. Whatever they call themselves. Poor training and less prepared to win whatever we get into a police action or perhaps an all out war that the US public has no desire to be involved in today or tomorrow until it is too late. We will face a local homeland war condition that we as a nation have not faced since the civil war.

 

Safe Travels! Always Be On The ALERT!

With the greatest respect, its hard to get much worse than either the American or Canadian military in the first half of the 1970s. Just getting out of Vietnam. No money for anything, no respect, no career prospects, no nothing. And the Soviet dragon breathing down our necks. We just stood to and did what we had to in order to get the job done. And we did.

 

Geo

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Yeah, its funny Derek. We never had a formal motto, but the Coasties "You have to go out, but you don't have to come back" always resonated.

 

After my initial time in deep water on the East Coast, I spend a few years in the West Coast Navy when we mostly did SAR missions. I was a lowly EW Tech, but I remember cleaning footprints off the bulkheads when we were rolling nearly 40 degrees going after a foundering fishing vessel.

 

Every time you go out, you hope for the best and plan for the worst. A wonderful lesson for my life later.

 

I've always had a huge respect for those that served in the heavy bombers with SAC and the USN ballistic missile fleet. We owe who we are today as a result of their service.

 

Geo

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I appreciate everyone's comments. No offense was intended. We have had and continue to have many excellent military folks serving our country. But, so many of our true leaders in the military have been purged. You are so right about many long tours overseas. We have worn out many folks.

 

In many ways we have failed our military and our nation. We meaning our citizens have failed to support our military.

 

Safe Travels! Always Be ON ALERT!

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In many ways we have failed our military and our nation. We meaning our citizens have failed to support our military.

 

 

That is because "we" are not at war. The military is at war. Some USAF units have been on a war footing since the first Gulf war. Units that were patrolling the no-fly zones never stopped flying those zones until well after the 2d Gulf war. Now their flying elsewhere in the middle east. Many USA and USMC units have repeatedly deployed to the middle east during the last 14 yrs. Squeezing that turnip continues.

 

IMO, the VAST majority of civilians have not even noticed. Their lives go on as normal.

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No regrets - Regular Army, joined in 66, Vietnam 67-68, out in 69 and back to college. Great training - good friends who you could depend on - good equipment. UH-1 crewchief - graduate with honors - TET 68. There is still nothing to compare with serving and maturing. Have greatest respect for our serving troops today - they have it tougher than we ever did - never finished with serving in war zones. I am so tired of seeing our best come home in boxes and pieces and yet our troops keep going to do the work our government requires. They are all such brave souls.

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If you think that the middle east is a mess you may not want to look at our Military. It is not getting any better. As a Vet it hurts to see so many GOOD folks destroyed and their futures ruined because of political decisions gone BAD

 

Now more than ever before we need to support our active troops and VETS!

 

Safe Travels!

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If you think that the middle east is a mess you may not want to look at our Military. It is not getting any better. As a Vet it hurts to see so many GOOD folks destroyed and their futures ruined because of political decisions gone BAD

 

Now more than ever before we need to support our active troops and VETS!

 

Safe Travels!

I can't agree with your assessment of our current military. The AF troops at DMAFB are sharp and squared away. They are putting in long shifts, constant deployments and answer the call time and time again. They have each others backs and compared the post Vietnam era, They as dedicated and professional as we were.

 

They maintain very old airframes and with the uptempo of missions, inspections demands more inspections and life cycle items can be reached much more rapidly than planned for. These young warriors are professional and I'd be proud to serve with them.

 

I almost posted this when I remembered a conversation with MSgt Bert Bagley at my first duty station. He was chewing our butts one day and lamented that his AF was going to hell with all us young hippies.... Sound familiar?

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I can't agree with your assessment of our current military. The AF troops at DMAFB are sharp and squared away. They are putting in long shifts, constant deployments and answer the call time and time again. They have each others backs and compared the post Vietnam era, They as dedicated and professional as we were.

 

They maintain very old airframes and with the uptempo of missions, inspections demands more inspections and life cycle items can be reached much more rapidly than planned for. These young warriors are professional and I'd be proud to serve with them.

 

I almost posted this when I remembered a conversation with MSgt Bert Bagley at my first duty station. He was chewing our butts one day and lamented that his AF was going to hell with all us young hippies.... Sound familiar?

 

David

 

I've worked with Airman from DM on several occasions and your confidence in them is not misplaced.

 

Jim

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