All US Military War Veterans Are Not Same-Same

It seems that some veterans want to create an impression that a veteran is a veteran is a veteran. Then there are guys like me who think combat arms veterans, in particular, have paid one hell of a lot more dues than the majority of vets, especially those we call rear echelon mother fuckers (REMF).

Let us take two guys, one is 18 years old and the other one is 23 with a college degree. The 18 year old enlists in the active duty Marines and does 30 years as a grunt, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major before being put out to pasture with a pension that is not worth spit.

The other guy joins the Navy reserve as some sort of computer geek with the intention of milking the tax payers for all he’s worth; but at the same time and throughout his career, he takes every precaution to ensure that the greatest risk he will ever face are paper cuts and swear words.

Then America gets attacked on 9/11 and Congress, in order to retain mid-level officers and enlisted personnel, sweetens the (retention) pot with something called the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The problem now for our Go Navy beat Army REMF is that he has to do 90 days in OIF (Iraq) and/ or OEF (Afghanistan) theatre of operations in order to get this new, improved and quite lovely GI Bill which allows him to pass that 4 year free ride on to his dependents.

Now imagine that his lust to snag that GI Bill and pass it down to his kids is so intense that he breaks that vow to self, and starts shopping around for a cushy yet super-safe ‘in theater’ gig to qualify to claim his prize. A little problem arises for our future war hero/ vet in that there are no 90 day billets available that are completely risk free or our Reserve/ National Guard officer; but he is tenacious in pursuit of his goal and finally lands a 45 day volunteer gig inside fortress America in Kabhul, Herat, Mazar or any place where he his wonderfulness will be protected by grunts and he can buy good quality European wines and such at the German PX 24/7/11.

Iraq was always too dangerous, even inside Baghdad’s green zone the bad guys could always reach out and touch you no matter how cushy your assignment, but Afghanistan was not. Actually anywhere inside the Green Zone in Kabul was safer than your mother’s womb. This fact of course would make OEF/ Afghanistan the only so-called war zone in which our reluctant warrior/ hero/ soon to be VFW/ vet would be at all interested in. Winning that 4-year free ride on the backs of the US taxpayers ‘scholarship’ for his son or daughter would be less dangerous than almost any neighborhood within the continental US. Plus the tax-free because you know, war zone, officers salary combined with danger pay and other perks would be a nice boost in his annual income so once again we find our Reservist/ Nat-Guard vet guy practically ecstatic when he manages to find and ‘volunteer’ for his second pump to Afghanistan and the 90-day golden ring is grabbed.

If you think it could not happen, I will gladly introduce you to an Army Major, also a reservist, who proudly announced that he volunteered for some chickenshit assignment in Djibouti (designated as part of OIF theater of Ops) for 6 months because it got him the Post 9/11 GI Bill which he promptly signed over to one of his sons. There were also tax breaks and, in his case, a higher salary than he was making in his civilian job. For our Army Reservist dude, the war in Iraq was a Win-Win-Win with the taxpayers being the suckers as usual.

Still believe that all ‘combat/ war’ veterans are created equal?

The Pareto Principle is also alive and well within the bowels of your vaunted Department of Defense where fewer than 20% are trigger pullers and the other 80% are stealing both oxygen and tax dollars.

With love,

LtCol Simon MacTemplar


60 thoughts on “All US Military War Veterans Are Not Same-Same

  1. I ran into this, but also ran into Infantry guys that were , to say the least, clueless as to whom the “rear” echelon guys were. When they heard I was in Intel, the scoffs started…except that I was Forward TAC Intel. I went places and did things 11B’s never did, Lots of Prick 77’s, C-Rat/MRE’s, isolation on cold hilltops with nothing but the radio, peepers, and my ruck gear for days. If the 11B was on the FLOT, my ass was 20 clicks forward of them. I spend 60% of my Intel days doing recon research in dusty camel dung towns that needed to stay ignorant of whom I was. I slept slung in hammocks over swamps, had to bang scorpions and snakes out of my LPC’s before putting them on, and ate local food that belonged in a US zoo. I did combat patrols in Somalia, Live fire in Desert Storm, and had to get out of the way of RPG rounds headed down range. So be careful as to what you define as “REMF” simply because their MOS does not start with an 11 or 13.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Army. 96B. I was trained in Horn of African Order of Battle, but, in typical Army fashion, spent most of my career with Armor and Infantry units, and once was attached to the Marines 1st MEU for two years and floated around on the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3). Not too many Army guys that are Shellbacked, and sporting sea ribbons and Navy Commendations. Fun stuff. Also did 90 Days attached to the Soviet 54RG on the Ross Ice Shelf (the Army taught me to speak Russian), and 90 days Doing SMELM work In Odessa (on the Black Sea) with Russian Intel guys. Again. Fun Stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Then it appears to me you are exactly the guy I am talking about who is getting screwed by our ever changing one size fits all military retirement system.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cannot say I have experienced much of that. Basically I only use the medical facilities anymore, and they treat Vets really well here in Tampa. I cannot tell if I am sitting next to a retired 3-star or a single term PFC…they are just all vets and did their time. I do get tired of being asked certain questions that are just Vet generalizations, but for the most part, I feel I have been treated fairly. I do wish the EOM check could be bigger, but I knew what I was getting into.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. If EOM is retirement pay then that is my point. I don’t think the retired Air Force colonel who was a finance officer and never left Stateside should get the same as the guys who were doing the heavy lifting.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Yes EOM is end of month pay and yes, a Desk Jockey should not be rewarded as much as the field trooper, but I reenlisted 7 times knowing the rules, so I am at peace with it. Once ran into a two star that had never had to put on his fatigues. His garden salad looked like a ‘cruits, but he had the right pedigree, so he gets the starts anyway.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. The colorful ribbons that you see on a soldiers uniform that are awarded for various actions, service, valor, bravery….they are referred to as “fruit salad”. The ‘cruits is short for a new raw recruit just out of basic who might have just his basic graduate ribbon since he has not had an opportunity to earn any others. Kind of a “naked” uniform. A two start General with 25 years service should have 9 or ten rows worth (36-40 various ribbons), some for valor, bravery, extraordinary call of duty, wounded in action…..that sort of thing. So when I say a “Two star” whose fruit salad looks like a new recruits, that means he has been nowhere and done nothing to earn anything, including the stars. Means he is a “desk Jockey” his whole career has been in the safety of an office, no combat time, no leadership time, no troop time. Purely political, and the worst kind of officer.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Look up ‘desk jockey’ in the dictionary and you discover the sad face of bdb formally know as Haakon Dahl previously known as Ball Diamond Ball before being banned from L1 for the first time.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. First, it is with a great deal of respect I say this: You completed two of the most difficult programs on the face of the plant: Marine Corps basic and Marine Corps OCS. Second: An officer that was first an NCO is the most respected officer to the NCO Corps. We would let you lead us over a cliff if the mission required you to do so.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Officer Candidate School. It is where an enlisted service member can go to become an officer. VERY difficult to get into, VERY difficult to complete, and once done, one of the most respected officers across all services.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. LOL 🙂 You are right, TES does not yet fully understand how awesome you are 🙂 Has he seen any pictures of you? Does he have any idea how handsome you are? (Just busting, TES, we know you don’t care, Lol, I am just being silly 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Awww, thank you 🙂 I was only joking 🙂 You are so kind, and so merciful, and so understanding. You are also clever and funny 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Of course you are tough! But this is for the benefit of TES, right? And he doesn’t need me to tell him how tough you are. I am trying to focus on aspects of Simon that TES may be unaware of 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. My avatar here is when I was a Lance Corporal and was part of my ECP package. I was promoted one more time before I went to Quantico in January for OCS. That tells you something about the length of the selection process.

        Yes dears, we froze our arses off.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. We used the same school a couple of times in Guatemala where the US Coasties sent their guys and gals to learn Spanish when a jarhead had a particular skill set but little if any Spanish. They knew they had to score a 2/2 or better on the DLPT after that schooling to get the counterdrug riverine gig. They all passed with flying colors.

        I only got to go to BYU for a very short refresher course (2 weeks?) before my first time downrange. Giving credit where due, those Mormons sure could teach foreign languages! I was surrounded by their soon-to-be missionaries.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “So be careful as to what you define as “REMF” simply because their MOS does not start with an 11 or 13.”

    That is why I usually prefer the term ‘trigger pullers’ but that always creates yet a new debate to sidetrack my argument down endless rabbit holes.

    Liked by 1 person

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