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Before my father emigrated to America, he was a translator for the U.S. Army in Germany. As a Holocaust survivor, he never wanted his American-born sons to see the horrors of war. So the idea that I might serve in the U.S. Army was almost as fantastic as the idea that I’d join the Klan.

Note: I came of age during the Vietnam War, which both my parents vehemently opposed. Aiding and abetting the military industrial Congressional complex was simply, doubly not on the cards.

I wish I had served. Not just because I love my country enough to die for it — I mean make the other poor son of a bitch die for his (or his jihadi dreams). Also because I now view such service as an honor, rather than an obligation. And, it must be said, it would have been a way to indulge my infatuation with firearms.

Hands-on real-world proficiency with military arms is something I missed. And miss now.

That said, I know that youth is wasted on the young. I doubt I would have valued that experience as much as I should have, if you know what I mean. Anyway, there it is: a good reason to join the armed forces. Not to seem insensitive to the seriousness of the military arts, but toys! Wonderful, tax-payer-funded toys!


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  1. Whoever it was that rescued your father, no doubt saving his life, was a soldier. Russian, American, English. They saved his life. He should have encouraged you to serve, sort of pay it forward.

    My father never saw war. Never wore a uniform. And at one time 3 of 4 kids were on active duty.

    Everybody owes a service to their country. To be fair, not all all cut out for soldiering. But all can perform a service to the benefit of their country and society in general.

    Military service is a very mixed blessing. But I will say this. Not all men know what their limits are. What they can endure and still function. Not all men will know what they can do when the shit is really hitting the fan. Pull a hitch during an “interesting” phase of history and you will know.

    You might be surprised at how comforting that knowledge can be during your time on this earth.

    The human race is never going to join hands and sing around the campfire. There will always be a genuine need for soldiers.

  2. I served prior to the BIG serge, I almost flew Hughies but decided not to re-enlist, sort of glad I did, no armor, flack jackets only, as in sitting on them.

    • I don’t miss having to pick up all the unfired rounds that fell on our airfield, at Ali Air Base. I guess it was left over from missions and got accidentally kicked out…

    • Shooting a parked car from a HMMWV turret with a .50 is probably one of the most satisfying shooting experiences I’ve ever had.

  3. VeitNamis not a war that you would have wanted to be a part of. It was about killing off part of the lower middle class. They had to get permission to go after a group of NVN and it became a game. Friends that lived through the Tet Offesive have nothing to say, they were held back and we shooting dummies.

    Wish another action on yourself or yours.

      • “Please translate to English.”

        There is no glory in war (unless you happen to be Field Grade or higher, and even then, only maybe).
        Viet Nam was supposed to be a low-level “Police Action.” Thus, troops were kept on a very tight leash.
        Front lines didn’t exist; you never knew who the enemy was. Being in Condition Orange forever takes a lasting toll on any one.
        If you were on patrol, you had to know where you were at any time. What type of fire and munitions you could use if attacked often depended on what the papa-san of t he closest hamlet would say you could use.
        Then the3re were the politicians in DC. They usually had no idea of what a patrol-based war was, yet they wanted to micro-manage everything.
        Tet was a cluster from the word go. It was supposed to be a time of truce, but the Cong used it to attempt to show the North Vietnamese politicians they could handle things themselves; they had everything to gain, nothing to lose, so they went on the all-out offensive, using everything they had. We won the Tet Offensive, the Viet Co0ng were, for all intents and purposes, destroyed, and the NVA took over. It was, to put it mildly, a bloodbath.
        We never lost even a middle range battle, but lost the war, mainly because our news media declared the war over and lost after TET. The people would rather believe the talking heads like Cronkite and ignore the actual news.
        Viet Nam was not a good war. I don’t mean in the sense that any war could possibly be called good, but in the sense that that war killed so many on both sides who never had to die, and so many more lives (again on both sides) were ruined forever by the very nature of the war, and the bumbling of our politicians.
        Hope that helps a little.

  4. We’ve made a little progress since RF was young. Enlistment is now voluntary. But leaving early is not. That and the fact that you may be sent to fight a war you don’t believe in are deal breakers for me.

    Don’t get me wrong: If a real enemy is storming our beaches, I’ll be picking off as many invaders as possible before they kill me. But saying my country, right or wrong, is the same as saying my mother, drunk or sober.

    • ” That and the fact that you may be sent to fight a war you don’t believe in are deal breakers for me”

      What is a war that one can believe in? WW2 wasn’t fought for the noble reasons you might think.

      • WWII was fought because WWI never ended. WWI was fought because a few members of European royalty didn’t want to give up their privilege. No, there is nothing noble about that. But the fact is, the Germans and the Japs needed killing, and WWI didn’t end until enough of them were dead.

    • oh poor mother jumper, you mean you expect your politicians and generals to as perfect AS YOU ARE?

      PHUCK ALL YALL pansies whining about “wrong wars”.

      Jihadi is the enemy of America, has been SINCE OUR FOUNDING.

      • Allow me to clarify.

        I will not fight a war to protect our “interests”. I will fight a war to protect our safety.

        Afghanistan is the latter. Iraq was the former. And yes, I am much smarter than most politicians.

        • Not judging from you posts on this subject. Perhaps a self-righteous snowflake rationalizing a failure to step up.

          When “they” are standing on the pier or airfield it’s too damn late.

    • I would point out that ever since Obama stopped fighting the over there, they came over here. The reality is that we should have glassed the entire region and been done with it.

    • Not to insult you, but that line about if they attack us i’ll die fighting is the last retort of every man who’s never served and is trying to justify it.. like it’s been said before, not everyone is cut out to serve, for whatever the reasons, but don’t think that line holds any water.
      And for the record, if and when they do hit our beaches, most people with this same “reason” for not serving won’t die fighting, they won’t be one of the wolverines from red dawn. They will either you’ll just die right on the outset, as they will not know it’s coming and will probably be ill prepared as they have never had any sort or real military training, or they’ll be one of the sympathisers, as it will much easier than actually fighting for something greater than oneself.

      Think of the least “military, cool, operator” type job you can think of in of in any of the branches,, any one of those guys you may not think of as an operator, will more than likely be better prepared to fight and defend than most armchair commandos, regardless of his stockpile of weapons he may have accumulated.
      Army Vet

    • Flying the Apache may be wonderful, I wouldn’t know. But I can tell you first hand that watching them drop down in pairs and go Winchester on the dudes that have been on the winning side of your TIC is absolutely divine. That’s the smitefull hand of God, right there.

  5. I feel the same way as Robert. At the time my student differemment was more important to me then going to school for schools sake.
    I regret that now for sure.
    It was for me a few years long party.
    But in seeing this video. I know they have to learn a little about live fire.
    It bothers me to see more money being spent in 1 minute on ammo then I can spend in a year.
    That 50cal aint cheap.

    • The Pro Gun Range south of Henderson, NV, has a Ma Deuce your can rent. Ammo goes for $5 per round.

      I’m pretty sure that when you order a million rounds or so at a time, like the government, the price point comes down a bit.

  6. There was a three period in my life when fully automatic weapons were the arms choice of the day, ammo was free and if you broke your helicopter?

    They gave you a brand new one.

    • I wish that was the Army I was in. By 2009 in OEF, if your HMMWV blew up, you scavenged parts from the other one’s that got blown up to Frankenstein one that worked, and went back out for another MCP.

      • In the words of the Yorkshiremen on Monty Python, “Luxury!”

        When I was in Korea in ’80 and ’81. I had a track in my platoon that had no reverse gear, which couldn’t be fixed because there were no parts.

        We had another track in the company which kept breaking torsion bars. A deep dive into the log book showed that it had been to ‘Nam, run over a mine and been repaired. Turns out the hull was warped and every time it’d hit a good bump, it’d break the torsion bar.

        When we moved into concrete barracks from quonset huts, we found in the supply room, bags of a tar-like substance. Turns out it was stuff that pre-dated MOPP suits. You boiled it in a 55gal. drum and dunked your fatigues in it, making them “gas proof”. When my NBC NCO called the Chemical Corps HQ, they practically called him a liar for claiming we had the stuff and wanting to know what to do with it.

        We had infra-red binoculars in the supply room. Nobody had ever seen them. I don’t even remember seeing them in an FM or TM.

        On a live fire exercise each track got FIVE rounds of .50 BMG.

        You missed Carter’s Army. I’m glad I missed Urkel’s.

        • I almost enlisted in ’82. The Marines wanted me, and “guaranteed” OCS based on performance on ASVAB. That would have been no problem, I test very well.
          But honestly – I would not have made a good Marine, or soldier, or sailor. Maybe Air Force. I was selfish and lacked common sense, two things which the passage of years has corrected. In fact, having my first child snapped me out of it.

          Then again – selfish and no common sense? I may have fit in quite well with Carter’s Troops.

  7. One of my fondest memories is an aerial range that I got to do. Flying through the snow, over a Japanese beach and lighting up old rusted trucks with an M240H. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  8. I did 4 in the Navy and 2 in the Army. (Shield and Storm) Full auto firearms and FREE AMMO, what’s no to love? I wish I could have a M-79! Loved that dam thing.

  9. Joining the military isn’t a decision to be taken lightly and it’s not all about playing with cool toys. The whole thing is something to consider carefully before you even walk into a recruiting station.

    There are pros and cons to the decision that you should carefully evaluate before making the choice and there are things you definitely need to know because recruiters, even OSO’s, are not to be trusted.

    I’m not saying that they’re all an unscrupulous bunch of assholes but some of them are and they will tell you anything you need to hear to get you to sign up and show up. So you need to know what questions to ask, how to read the contract and what certain things mean. Some of these guys will tell you straight to your face “Airborne-Ranger-SF-CavScout-Frogman-SEAL-Pararescue-Recon Medical Artillery Man? Of course that’s an MOS! You want to be a 3501! Best MOS ever man, I wish I signed up for that. Sign right here!”. Some will also encourage you to lie at MEPS and beyond, that is, fraudulently join whatever branch you’re joining. They’ll tell you that nobody needs to know things and that waivers aren’t real. You’ve had asthma until you were 16? No one needs to know! We’ll just say you never had a regular doctor!

    My recruiter didn’t give a fuck about anything. In fact, no one in that recruiting station cared what happened to me or anyone else as long as they got their numbers. The only things they cared about at all were that I was breathing and that my tattoos didn’t require a waiver. I was instructed that the answer to any and all health questions at MEPS was “no”. Had a surgery in the past? Oh you did? Well the answer to that question is “no”. Ever used drugs? No. Don’t you understand that the people at MEPS are trying to fuck you out of joining and joining up is the best decision you could EVER make? Marrying a supermodel isn’t even close! These guys didn’t care if you snorted coke the weekend before as long as you pissed clean at MEPS. At MEPS we were given a basic preliminary fitness test and one of the guys who was there with me couldn’t do two pullups. The stated minimum was five. I actually heard the SSgt. call back to the recruiting station and say “Your boy can only do two pullups but I can’t count so call we’ll call it six, he’s good to go.”.

    So yeah, do your research and square yourself away. Think about what is and what is not important and what you can and cannot live with. Can you lie and continue to lie for years on end? Is this the kind of thing you’d get caught for if you get hurt? This isn’t a decision you can just walk away from once you actually get to basic. You need to get the right information before you even consider making this jump because this ain’t something where you can dip your toes in the water. You signed a contract and trust me, Uncle Same will enforce the fuck out of it if he sees fit to do so.

    • You are friggin’ whiner. YOU joined the army. YOU should have found out SOMETHING before you joined.
      Example of you at a car dealer: “How much is it?” Dealer: “Don’t worry about it, sign here”
      You get up and walk away, right? Oh, and there’s this thing called the INTERNET where you can look things up.
      STFU and man up to your decision to join.

      • First off, I suspect you have no friends and the people you think like you actually call you a “ignorant cumgargling dipshit cockbag who should save the world some trouble and eat a bottle of Tylenol because he’s an annoying fucktard who never knows a goddamn thing about what he’s saying” behind your back.

        Secondly, I didn’t join the Army. I joined the United States Marine Corps.

        Third, well I was going to say something useful here, but considering the intelligence level of your comment, you wouldn’t get it. So instead, I’ll simply say that nothing in my comment reflects on my enlistment because I didn’t need to lie, though I was encouraged to do so if need be. My comment is simply what I have observed.

        You can blather about research all you want but the simple fact of the matter is that most people who sign up are young and gung-ho and more than willing to take what a guy with SSgt’s chevrons has to say as gospel.

        Simply said; this is unsafe. The IDF finds ways to allow those with medical issues to serve and we can too. However recruiters encouraging people to lie is a serious safety concern for not just that person but those who serve with them. Not that you’d have any fucking clue about that or even why I say this.

        Now, take the rest of your “car dealer” and other “internet” bullshit and stuff it directly up your ass. In fact, do us all a favor: fuck off and die in a fire. At least that way the rest of us can get a chuckle out of the end of your life.

        • Yeah… I’ve heard some horror stories about recruiters. Some are decent guys who got stuck behind a desk others are douchebags who decided they’d make a career out of it rather than go back to the fleet. I got one of the better ones and had an ASVAB score most recruiters would kill for so I managed to dodge most of the “sign right here right under where it says 03” bullshit.

        • Boohoo snowflake.

          When the force is expanding (as it is Again is going to do) the machine needs bodies. When it runs out of the best/brightest/fully qualified then it lowers the bar and starts bringing in the best qualified to fill the ranks. And the NCO and Officer Corps. The Jarheads get what’s left.

          Last week the Pentagon release report of immediate needs – as I recall from the radio report. the clueless/can’t smell the winds in the AF said need 6000 additional over the next 6years, the Navy said 1/2 of their planes are deadlined, the Marines the 75% of aircraft can’t fly, the Army that they needed 20000 additional troops by Oct.

          Good bet the AF will demand more F35s and to dispose of A10s

      • I can’t see how a 5 pull-up test makes much sense as an entry barrier. I certainly couldn’t do 5 when I joined the Canadian Army, though I was a pretty good runner. By the end of Basic I could do a lot more than 5 and was one of the fastest runners in my platoon.

        • It depends on what you’re joining. The USMC has a minimum 3 pull-up standard for the physical fitness test that you take the week you show up aboard Parris Island. If you can’t do 3 pull-ups on that day you get sent to the Physical Conditioning Platoon until you can. Oh, and it’s NOT easy to do 3 on that day if you can only do 5 well rested at MEPS.

    • If that is true (and I have my doubts), then I weep more for our youth than I did yesterday.
      When I enlisted, no one I knew had to lie to get IN, but many lied to stay out.
      I enlisted, but I was smart enough to know I was going into the service one way or another. Three years as an RA was better than two years as a US. Draftees got what was offered last, enlistees got the better classes.
      If you did well as an RA, good things came to you. As a US, doing well just meant you got a pass sooner.
      When I was in OCS, there were no draftees. Hard work got you there, not just doing as you were told.
      I spent the next two years at Ft. Gordon (if FT.Leonard Wood was the a&&hole of the Army, Ft. Gordon was the armpit). The Army liked the way I spoke so well, they made me an instructor first, then XO of a Training Committee, where I still did some instructing. I trained the guys who went to Viet Nam.
      For the most part, the people in uniform were honest, hard working (like there was much of a choice as a trainee!) men. They certainly didn’t all want to be there, but they were smart enough to understand that they were there for the duration, might as well make the best of it.

      If it’s like you say it is now, we are in serious trouble.

      • Big Bill: I went through Airborne Infantry AIT at Fort Gordon in the fall of ’66, then jump school, then off for the first of two tours in the Nam. when were you at Gordon?

    • strych9 speaks the truth.
      I joined the Army late in life, at the age of 28. I already had a good career, very well paid, a family, house, degree, as well as multiple fractures, significant illnesses, hospital stays, hell, I had even been legally dead for 4 mins 31 seconds before I ever saw my recruiter. Based on his advice, I absolutely lied my way through MEPS, all the way. I had never been injured in any way, picture of perfect heath. Now, I actually did go in with excellent physical health, and I made (and kept over the years) either perfect or near perfect PT scores. So it worked out for me.
      And yet an 18 year old kid died day 2 of my Basic course during a run. Turns out he had sickle cell trait, had an event, and died right there on the track. The drill sergeants didn’t know what they were looking at, so they just screamed for him to get up until he died. Since he looked fit and ran well for the recruiter on a high school track, he omitted it from his packet. The kid was a kid, and didn’t know any better.
      The same action from the recruiter that helped me killed that kid.

    • I walked into the recruiters and said I want four years on tanks and don’t give a flying flip where you send me. The closest he could get me was the ‘Combat Arms Option’ which guarantees (or did) you’d wind up in ‘some’ combat arm. Sure enough at the end of BCT at Ft Knox I was present with orders to Ft Polk for some weirdness know as an ‘indirect fire infantryman’.

      I presented my DEP contract (worth exactly the scrap value of the paper it was written on at the time, superseded by the active duty contract, don’tcha know?) that the recruiter had scrawled 11e10 Armor crewman on.

      The Drill departed and after much hemming and hawing, and I’m sure figuring out it’d be cheaper to keep me at Knox than fly me to Polk, they brought me an amendment and I didimaued down the road to Disney Barracks (the jokes write themselves) home of armor AIT. 40+ years later, I’m much better now.

  10. I am a Vietnam Vet 67, 68 and back for a short stint in 69. My Father served in Korea during WWII (Playing Poker in Seoul). His brothers served in the Pacific. My Mothers brother served inAfrica Italy France and Germany. One of them in the first battalion to cross the Rhine. (to see how hot it was. only 3 of them survived it. M son wanted in the Marine Corp but he had medical conditions that would not pass muster. If you saw Full Metal Jacket, that is how it was during basic training. If you saw Deer Hunter, the Russian Roulette scene, I observed that after a local invited me in to see what all the excitement was about, he stated that the young men had families who owed large amounts of money which they could not repay and that this was their way to save face for the family and pay the debt. When I returned to the post and reported this I was informed that we were there to prosecute a war not to interfere with the local customs. I was ordered to let it be. It is my honest opinion that everyone should serve in the military. We have been led by individuals who have no leadership experience and no military experience. And yet they wish to be Commander in Chief. This is how we have been so badly misled. I believe that Mr. Trump with the help of God and our prayers is going to go a long way toward rectifying these horrendous errors. Young people need something to occupy their time other than drugs and street violence and loose living in general. They need to learn discipline and to see the world and meet their neighbors. We are going to return to world power if we all pull together.. Their is no one else in the world with our capabilities and determination for world leadership. God Bless America.

    • “If you saw Deer Hunter, the Russian Roulette scene, I observed that after a local invited me in to see what all the excitement was about, he stated that the young men had families who owed large amounts of money which they could not repay and that this was their way to save face for the family and pay the debt.” Far out.

      I’ve wondered about the provenance of that type of practice. Was the roulette game set up for gamblers amusement then or what?

  11. If I had the power no one would get any government money unless they served in the military. I did over twenty years for Uncle Sam. Democrats started american involvement in Korea, Vietnam, and the Iraq war they supported. Then It was a democrat president who destroyed the Libyan government, causing an invasion of Europe. Syria war? The democrats started that too.
    Don’t tell me the republicans are worse. The battle is between those who want to give you free stuff and those who insist on holding people responsible. There are republicans who want to give you free stuff. But lots of conservatives are working to stop it. Not so much on the democrat side.
    Donald Trump loves America. I don’t care that he did not serve in the military. I don’t know if the democrat leadership loves america? They don’t seem to.

  12. Meh. Giving up your constitutional rights is a choice you certainly can be allowed to make, and I’m not going to stop you. That doesn’t mean I’m going to join you either. Military can be great, but getting fired is the equivalent of becoming a felon. That’s pretty heavy duty, even if you get to play with giggle switches. Plus, there’s ready reserve, and a whole bunch of other liberty given up, including your privacy, ability to sleep with other people- and hell, the LEGALITY of cheating on your wife. I’ve never been married, but the idea the government would be able to charge me for a crime for having consensual sex really grinds my gears. No thanks.

    • To be fair, none of that is a problem unless you’re a scumbag. It’s REALLY hard to “get fired” from the US military.

      • I guess it depends on the unit. Going through active duty in the Army, I personally saw three Soldiers get kicked out. Two was for drug offenses, one was for discipline problems. And this was from 2004 to 2009, arguable during the height of the Iraq War.

        Hell my squad leader almost got kicked out years prior for steroid abuse. Luckily for him and the Fort Bragg credit union, he wasn’t. I mention the latter, because he admitted to me one time that if he was kicked out, he would have been so devastated, he would have taken his AK and robbed the credit union. He became a born again Christian after coming that close to the edge.

        • Yeah… “discipline problem” discharges are rare unless you do something like punch an NCO or officer. As for drug offenses… Yeah… That IS a felony more or less anywhere.

  13. I hate to say this…but the Army ruined me on guns…for a long time. I spent 2001 to 2005 as a 19D and a 11B in the Regular Army and National Guard, respectively. For years after I separated I wanted nothing to do with them. Not for any philosophical reasons but the daily demands took all fun out of them. I did a tour in Afghanistan as a M240B gunner, after 12 months of cleaning and hauling that damn thing around I was happy to turn it in and get on with my life.

    Like everything else about military, the reality falls far short of the well-produced recruiting video. For every minute on the range an hour is spent either cleaning weapons, marching to-and-from the range, stressing out over a sundry of issues, addressing various aches and pains, catching a few Zs…and so on.

    (Others may disagree with me but) Like drill, PT, KP, CQ, or shining boots (back when soldiers still did!), shooting guns becomes just another part of job.

    I was a good machine gunner, damned good. I was proud of my ability to wield that massive chunk of steel and plastic. I’m even prouder that I never had to fire a shot in anger. I never saw the elephant, either through sheer luck or providence. I came close but thankfully never had to. War isn’t a game. It’s should be thought of as such.

    You don’t need to feel as if you missed out Mr. Farago. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

    • I still feel like that to this day, that is, guns are usually just work. But then I found the flintlock, and it totally renewed my joy in shooting. I still find most pistols and rifles to be work, but occasionally I get something different that is makes it fun.

      • I feel ya. I treat my handguns/shotgun as mere defensive tools (and shoot them as such) and my small collection of rifles as recreational outlets. If my M39 Mosin, SKS or Rossi 92 ever get pressed into defensive service then the world as completely gone to shit.

  14. As a cold war infantryman, I enjoyed time in the field and whatever budget strapped time with the available weaponry I had. I earned my expert badge with the M-16 A-1.

    But if they awarded badges for expertise and time with a Hilde floor buffer, I would have made supernumerary-expert-superman-god’s gift to linoleum, with a dozen oak leaf clusters.

    I was an adequate soldier for the times. I attained the most powerful rank in the Army (Specialist fourth class). And military life is what it is, which is to say, mostly drudgery. I have NOTHING whatsoever to say against those that never took the oath. Unless they are America hating commie bastards. The we’ll talk.

    If you are patriotic and willing to defend your nation at any age, and any cost, don’t worry. There are forces out there doing their best to give you a shot. And the vast majority of us veterans will be there with you, and won’t give a second thought to having you there with us.

  15. I choose the Corps at age 17 in 1970. I did a lot of reading about the Branches before making my choice. I kind of laugh when I hear about how the Recruiters lie to people, because they didn’t do their homework. You could do 2, 3 or 4 year enlistments then. At the end of boot camp, when the DI read everyone’s MOS we had 5 guys who got 0311. Their Recruiter told them if they enlisted for 2 years they would be riflemen and go to Viet Nam. He told them if they enlisted for 4 years, they would go into Aviation. But, they weren’t smart enough to be mechanics. I knew going in, there would be no guaranties and the Marine Corps would put me were it wanted.

  16. I’m a Tanker in the National Guard. In 8 years I’ve served on 3 continents in 5 countries and two State units. I’m married to an Active Army Soldier. I’ve been places and shot stuff that most folks only dream about, to include MG3, G36, M256 120mm main gun. You haven’t lived until you’ve been out the hatch, rolling in a seventy-ton Abrams calling fire commands over the whine of the turbine. The first time the blast envelope blew my goggles off the top of my CVC put a smile on my face. Watching a half-ton breech recoil as fast as you can snap your fingers while a SABOT round screams away at almost a mile per second to hit a target 1.5 miles away…. Suffice to say it’s awe- inspiring. It definitely makes all the other bullshit you have to put up with worth it. STAY ON THE TANK!

  17. The military needs to do a better job of prepping their people for civilian post military life. Especially helpful would be some intensive job interview skills development.

    I try very hard to hire former military at our business. It’s not easy. When there’s 400 applicants for every one of our openings, and the best you can do are canned and robotic answers, you will be lost in the pile.

    • Just limit your choices to veterans only and the problem is solved. There simply is no ” if all other things being equal…choose a vet”. Because all things are not equal. The vet likely has a whole slew of experience and skill sets that simply don’t translate on paper or in a static interview.
      Just take a look at any of the research done by Chase, Disney, BNSF, or Disciplinary issues with veterans are almost non-existent in comparison to non-veteran employees for the same jobs. They promote faster, and stay with a company much longer, and 99% of the small to medium sized business that hired a veteran said they would be looking for another one the next time they had a hire.

  18. My father was in the Air Force. His father was in the army. I didn’t serve, for the same reasons as Robert. I also miss it. Not that I can complain- I turned out ok. I wouldn’t change it. But I think I missed something.

    • …ditto.

      Uncles and dad were Army Air Corp, brother was Air Force. I didn’t serve and still regret it at 64 years young.

  19. Sorry you missed out Robert. I did 21 in the USMC, beginning in Sept ’67. My recruiter didn’t lie to me – he told me I’d be going to Vietnam and probably as a grunt. So it was. When I graduated boot camp and the DI read out everybody’s MOS assignment, those that didn’t get infantry were mostly heartbroken, as I recall. When I got to Vietnam, I was able to play with M-16A1s, M-14s, had an M1 Thompson SMG for a while, and later I acquired both an M3A1 and an M3A2 grease gun. Not to mention being able to call in missions from Marine air, field artillery and naval gunfire. I found that the acquired discipline, comradeship and the various locations of my military service to be invaluable, and my time in the Marines remains the seminal event of my life so far. But then, I haven’t won the lottery.

  20. A huge part of the reason I joined the Army was to play with the toys. Prior to joining, I was a big fan of Ian V. Hogg, and his writing inspired my fascination with small arms mechanics.

    Also, it was just something on my bucket list. I didn’t want to get old and look back on my life knowing that I hadn’t done some of the dirty work. Granted, I was an intelligence analyst, so my work wasn’t exactly “dirty.”

    I can’t say that I’m entirely proud to have spent three years of my life in the chaotic clusterfuck that is Iraq, and that’s the thing about serving in the US military these days: There’s a decent chance you’ll be asked to lay down your life for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Interventionism has become so commonplace that we’ve completely lost sight of the fact that it’s patently wrong, and always has unintended consequences (see Iraq, Libya). But, as long as the media is dangling boogeymen in the public’s face, people will want blood, and say things like, “Turn it all to glass!!!”

    Anyway, I got to shoot lots of fun weapons.

    • “Interventionism has become so commonplace that we’ve completely lost sight of the fact that it’s patently wrong, and always has unintended consequences (see Iraq, Libya).”

      The pictures of Osama Bin Laden training with Company advisors in the 1970s to prep for fighting the Russians in Afghanistan say it all.

      The once-great Republic of citizen soldiers has become a multiracial Empire with a professional Army. Like the British Empire, “America” (what’s left of it) is descending into second-rate squalor.

      “In Search of Enemies” by John Stockwell, decent book about our Company manufactured wars.

      • Not sure I agree with “always patently wrong” but it definitely always has unintended consequences. We are fantastic at fighting, blowing stuff up, and killing shit. Completely dreadful at figuring out when that makes sense. . . .

    • Intervention to protect our national interest is certainly NOT “wrong” and is well established in our history. 1st major “intervention” was by Jefferson “On the Shores of Tripoli” with the Barbary Pirates. The same SOBs Islamists we face today.

      “Nation building” is much more problematic. The last decade has demonstrated to me that our Declaration of Independence and Constitution or ideas individual freedom is NOT applicable to all tribes/groups of humans (or any Moooslems). Only work with enlighted WASP society. I suppose it was a nice theory/try by the Bushes but a nogo and an expensive fail.

      • The problem with protecting national “interests” is that that term can be infinitely misconstrued, and used to justify almost anything. And to say that interventionism is “well established in our history” only serves to mystify it, not justify it. Theft and murder have been around since the dawn time, but that doesn’t make them acceptable.

        I wouldn’t necessarily say that foreign interventionism is inherently wrong, but the brand of if that our country has been engaged in during my lifetime certainly is. The more force we inject into the globe, the more enemies we make. The more enemies we make, the more money and power government must acquire to “protect us” from said enemies. It’s cyclical, and the end result is that our liberties are slowly shaved away in the name of safety.

        • Look at history, Boba. A country our size with our resources had better be projecting force. Or it’s going to be carved up like a thanksgiving turkey.

          Enemies naturally come to a country with our wealth and resources.

        • Jwm,

          We’re not getting carved up because we’re an economic powerhouse and we have more than enough means to defend ourselves. What compels our ruling “elite” to destroy and/or manipulate foreign countries is greed and power lust. These things make us weaker, not stronger. Look at one of the examples I gave previously: Libya; how did our involvement in the destruction of that country, which was quickly becoming a strong, independent nation with flourishing infrastructure (a true anomaly in that continent) benefit us? Can we really say that the deaths of tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people and the destruction of their businesses and homes was necessary to prevent us from being carved up like a thanksgiving turkey?

          On that note, look at France now. How many terror attacks have they sustained in recent years? How many of their people have been killed by Islamic radicals? Might it have something to do with the fact that they led the charge to raze Libya to the ground? I think so. And if one were to make the argument that Gaddafi was poised to create a gold-backed currency, and thus, France had no choice but to destroy him in order to prevent this, that’s also weak. If Gaddafi wanted to make moves to strengthen his nation, and France stood to lose control as a result, then tough titties for France. Libya is still at war to this day, people are still killing each other, and we’ve now created even more radicals. But yeah, it was all necessary. Because turkeys or whatever. Who cares, right?

  21. I am one of those who thinks a two year service to your country should be mandatory, with being an elected anything not counting.
    Obviously, that doesn’t mean everyone should be in the military; it can be (oh, hell, it was…) demeaning, limiting, restrictive, humbling, and a fantastic learning experience if you looked beyond your nose.
    I have a friend who joined the Corps at the same time I went into the Army. He honestly didn’t understand why the DI was constantly screaming at everyone!
    For a lot of the trainees, it was the first time mommy and daddy weren’t looking out for them, and they had to actually compete on their own capabilities.Most had no real problems making the transition, but there were a few who cried themselves to sleep for the first week.
    I learned a lot. The first week (“Zero week”) when we lined up for the first breakfast in the service, there were two lines; one for eggs, one for pancakes. The pancakes line was much longer than the egg line. The DI tried to make the lines more even, so he yelled out that the eggs were real eggs, not powdered (!). The lines immediately became almost even. Did that many people actually believe that at Fort Jackson, SC, the Army would serve powdered eggs? Evidently, yes.
    On to Ft. Gordon for Basic. Company C, 4th Battalion, 2nd Training Brigade. (You had to know my parents to understand the next part.) The freedom was amazing! The UMCJ was very clear on what you could and could not do. The DIs were extremely open: do what you were supposed to do (and as a basic trainee, that consisted of doing what you were told; understanding why you were told to do it was optional, but it helped tremendously). Some of us actually had to explain that the reason for the constant yelling was because you had to learn to operate under pressure. Yelling is easy, being shot at is pressure! You and your buddies had better be able to operate under pressure, or you went home in a bag. Very different from the life we left.

    Up until two years ago, I used to teach cameras (not photography; there’s a difference) and computers to various groups. (Two years ago, cancer took my ability to speak in public.) I much preferred to speak to groups of retired people, because the youth I spoke to simply didn’t understand the discipline needed to actually learn how to use a DSLR; as far as they were concerned, Photoshop was there for a reason: to make anyone a “photographer.”
    And computers? There was a guy at work who would handle his computer needs. These people uinderstood Office just fine, but were totally lost on the concept of backups; if their computer broke, they just hired someone to fix it, and if their stuff was lost in the process, it was the other guy’s fault. (Nowadays, we have “cloud” backup. Wonderful. If my system breaks, even if the “C”: drive fails, I can rebuild it in a day, install the backup, and have everything better than it was, for the cost of the parts. To me, that’s not special, lots of people can do it. Even some “youngsters.” But most wouldn’t know where to start, even though they use computers every day.)
    Service to your country is, to me, something you owe. Your country does a lot for you, whether you think it does or not.

  22. That might have been the US MARINES playing with the M2???

    The truck is an OSHKOSH MTVR, I don’t think the ARMY plays with that variety of vehicle.



    HOOORAH ! ! !

  23. I gained immensely from my military service and am very proud of the men I served with.

    However, frankly what you’re doing with this website Robert has done more to support and defend our constitution than some of our dumber recent military adventures.

  24. I served in the Army, 74 – 78, no combat just Cold War. some of it was good, and some not so good.

    When I went through the enlistment process I was one of two people out of 60 that didn’t need to write down any criminal offenses (this was just before we took our oath). and yes, recruiters do lie, and if you don’t know much about the military it’s kind of hard to ask the right questions or push back.

    I was in Germany for 3 years – this is the only time I saw someone shoot up heroin (big drug problem then), but I also go to go to east Berlin back when it was east Berlin. The Army, which was so controlling all the time, simply let us loose in east Berlin and said be back here to get on the bus at this time. It was pretty amazing to walk through Berlin and go into stores, not much to buy, and get stared at by Berliners, since we all had our class A greens on at the time (minus our name badge so we couldn’t be idenitfied).

    I finished out at Fort Ord in Monterey, and the morale was horrible; almost no one in our company reenlisted. I was happy to get out, but I still look back on this time as a growth period and the ability to have some unique experiences.

  25. In 1962, fresh out of high school, I had only one reason to join the military, I could not get a full time job until I had some kind of military service. I chose to enlist, and the rest, as they say, is history. In the central highlands of Vietnam, my first sgt came thru yelling at me, you ‘gonna reenlist or be an ass-hole?’ I told him, I’m gonna be an ass-hole, give me those papers. My CO was a bit more diplomatic, he told me I would be an E6 in a month after reenlistment plus the bonus. I wound up turning weapon, webbing and ammo in and on my own hitching rides back to Saigon. An adventure in itself. A deal is a deal, and the deal was in for three and out. Today, one good reason to join the military is if you go to elevator school and can’t learn the route.

  26. inna sadomskiy your husband evgeny sadomskiy causing too many problems at brighton beach businesses if we will cacht him near eny russian restaraunts he will go to prison so wach him in the nearest future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. When I turned 18, I couldn’t have passed a physical, so serving wasn’t even an option for me. I still have some wistfulness over that, but it couldn’t be changed, and it’s in the past. To those who did serve, I say thank you.

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